Hello everyone! Wanted to use this space to give updates and a little run-down of The Van Goat Summer 2019 European Tour.
First, we must start with an introduction. Our Captain Ahab, Kurt - owner of Rootstown Booking, tour manager, driver, snappy dresser. He has helmed the van through narrow, serpentine European streets with tact, and remains our professional yet warm guide.
The band convened in Brussels, Belgium Wednesday evening. Ben, Lindsay and Derek have been in Europe for a week or so, Taylor and Aidan arrived the day before our tour. Spirits were high and Jupilers (a crisp local Pilsner) were drunk.
Our first show was in Herselt, a town of 13,000 or so people. Cafe Pallieter, which is just off the main drag, is run by a magnanimous Belgian called Hans, who was kind enough to let crash in some pretty luscious digs upstairs. Taylor is planning on moving in after tour (sorry Liz). The crowd was very attentive and responsive during our set, and afterwards we were chatted up with stories of Belgian history, off-color turns of phrase, beer recommendations (Hapkin, Karmeleit, and Rodenbach), and an endless game of bumper pool.
Next we had a short drive to Westerlo, which has perhaps the most beautiful town hall in all of Europe - our hostel was just down the street from it. Brick buildings line the streets, and the venue Jake’s Place has sort of a subterranean surf club vibe. We played outside, which was a welcome change because of the summer heat and humidity. The owner, Lorenz, showed us amazing hospitality and outrageously tasty fries. He and many other Belgians we’ve met are CERTAIN that fries are a Belgian creation, not French. He even showed us a shortcut on our rural and dark walk home, making sure we didn’t fall into a concrete ditch obscured by trees.
The third show of the tour was a classic car festival called “Old Cars Rocking People,” which definitely has been the highlight so far. It was sort of a cross between a slick psychobilly ball, Burger Boogaloo, and Bob’s Big Boy on a Saturday night. The cars were awesome - the staff was too. We played with Stray Kitten and the Alleycats, The Courettes, who brought ridiculous energy to the stage, as well as two of Kurt’s other bands - The Jetsons, Everyone is Guilty. Check them all out!
It has been foreign yet surprisingly familiar here. People have been unwaveringly kind to us and seem to match our excitement and curiosity. After many Duvels, Jupilers, pizza slices and good ol’ fashion swing dances, day three went down in the history books.
More soon! ♡ VG