Photos from Wild Rooser Fest taken by Cliff De Booy (that’s our buddy Fa from Liège playing the harmonica)
After Wild Rooster Fest in Den Haag, we headed to the south of Belgium for one last festival gig.
Belgian Classic Trophy in Gedinne is an international motorcycle race and festival featuring classic bikes, sidecars and DIY crews. We were the live music entertainment Saturday evening after a full day of racing and the awards ceremony. The singer/songwriter opening act had to cancel - so Ben (as Neeto) played a few songs, and Lindsay finished off with a full set of her own Lindsay Alexis music before Van Goat took the stage.
Photos from Belgian Classic Trophy
This was definitely one of the rowdiest evenings of the tour; the Chimay Blues were poured heavy, 500+ people danced late into the evening. Belgian motorcycle folks sure know how to have a good time! This event was a stark contrast to our darling lodgings for the night. We stayed at a French-Belgian bed and breakfast. Lindsay got to take a bath while Aidan, Derek, and Taylor got spaghetti from the local pub. Ben soaked in the surrounding rolling hills, chicken coops, grazing cows, and sunshine.
The next day, we took another drive up to Hoorn in the north of The Netherlands. Hoorn is a hundreds-year-old harbor town not too far from Amsterdam. The show was a mellow afternoon one, which meant we had the evening to pal around town. Cobblestone winding streets, renaissance facades and oddly angled brick buildings struck us during our adventures around the town. Lindsay’s brother Chris had flown in from Norway, and we all went swimming at dusk in Schellinkhouterdijk in Julianapark, which was incredibly revitalizing. This park, Hoorn and Amsterdam all exist behind the massive Dutch Delta Works Seawall sometimes referred to as one of the ‘modern wonders’ of the world. Despite being in a bay connected to the North Sea, the water was brackish and warm!
The final show of the tour was in Dordrecht, Netherlands, and we went out with a bang. It was at a place called De Melkbus (it means milk jug in Dutch, since the venue was the room that used to hold the cows when it was originally a farmhouse). It was a birthday party for Marc, the promoter and homeowner. To celebrate, his girlfriend Koko was doing tattoos of melkbuses to fundraise for improvements on the venue - specifically an A/C unit and new floor. Lindsay and Derek each got tattoos (it was Derek’s first one ever!). This was a perfect way to end our first European tour. We stayed up well into the night talking, laughing and reveling with new friends.
Photos from the last show of the tour in Dordrecht
Marc records every show at his place - he’s an excellent engineer. It’s an amazing community that Marc has cultivated with these shows, and we were so grateful to be a part of it. Perhaps there’s a “Live from the Melkbus” record in Van Goat’s future?
Derek, Lindsay and Ben has an early flight the next morning - Taylor and Aidan spent one last night in Brussels before heading home.
Now that we are back and relatively rested, we have had an opportunity to reflect a bit on tour life. Nineteen shows in nineteen days was supremely fun and equally exhausting. It’s not an easy thing to be in a new place every night! What made our time not only bearable but constantly invigorating was the ubiquitous kindness and excitement we encountered everywhere we went. We met new friends every day and discovered that Europeans have a love of live music and art that runs very deep. We feel deeply grateful to Kurt at Rootstown Booking for taking a big chance on a ‘California Jazzy-Punk’ group from the West Coast. We daresay that Van Goat had a successful first trip abroad and there may be more in our future.
Thanks for reading and we hope to catch you at a show back in the states sometime soon! From all of us at Van Goat HQ, we say goodbye in the six languages we heard spoken on this trip: “vaarwel / auf wiedersehen / au revoir / farvel / ciao.” Oh and English too - “Goodbye.”
Love, Ben, Taylor, Aidan, Derek, and Lindsay
P.S. In case you missed it, we released our final single and music video from our full length ‘Follow Me Under.’ It’s called Dry Me Out - watch & listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e20O-PgqwNM