First week of the Lau Springtime tour saw us heading off to the continent. We loaded up the van in Edinburgh and caught the Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry. Plenty to do on this boat with casino, restaurants, live band and a pop quiz. The lively sea made for some good dance floor antics but we contented ourselves with food and drink and watching from the sidelines.
Day 1 - Brussels
Our first concert was in Brussels so once we arrived in Holland we headed across the country and arrived at the given address. The venue was nowhere to be seen! We joined the triple parked throng and set off on foot to find that the theatre was in the middle of an old shopping arcade. A willing team of helpers gave us a hand with our huge pile of stuff. I think they were expecting just a fiddle, an accordion and a guitar.
Once loaded, our hosts assured us that we could leave our van parked in a “forbidden” place in the middle of the pavement overnight as long as we put a flyer for the concert on our dashboard. They promised us that if it wasn’t there in the morning they would get it back for us. Hmmm…
The venue is an old theatre which also houses a music college and record label. And some pretty strong beer as the guys found out later on. The Belgians are very hospitable with their beer.
Day 2 – Utrecht
Across to the Netherlands and a beautiful city laced with canals and tiny backstreets. Tricky to get the van to the venue’s door and then we held up traffic for 10 minutes while we unloaded. Surely an everyday occurrence here and nobody seemed to care too much.
After the show we repaired to a bar round the corner which was invaded by singing drunken law students who took control of the playlist and even served us some pretty poorly poured beers.
Day 3 – Turnhout
Back in Belgium again. Yet another beautiful venue. The man who served us our tea wouldn’t take no for an answer and insisted we drink his guest beer. Belgian people are quite forceful with their beery hospitality it seems, and rightly proud of their produce!
Day 4 – Roeselare
Today we went off-road. Well, cross-country anyway. Everywhere traffic was at a standstill so with the help of some expert navigation from Aidan we set off across small country roads. What should have been a 2 hour drive took us 4 ½ but we saw some bits of country that we never would have otherwise and the centre of some bonny towns and villages.
When we arrived we were greeted by Pieter the house lighting engineer who not only provided spectacular lighting but also took these photos during soundcheck:
Day 5 – Rotterdam
We were treated like kings with our own cook whose CV included cooking for Herbie Hancock. The way to Lau’s hearts are definitely through their stomachs and for a band on the road, mealtime is a real highlight of the day!
Day 6 – Bremen
Another country! We headed across to Bremen for a gig/live radio show. The venue is built inside an old slaughterhouse in the centre of town and we performed to a capacity crowd as well as for the listeners of radio Bremen.
The audience went wild!
Day 7 – Groningen
Back to the Netherlands and a beautiful place to end the tour. Not that we really saw it but the inside of the venue was very nice.
Once again we were very well looked after. One of the striking things about European venues is the way that musicians, technicians and staff members are all fed together. I think it makes for a great feeling of solidarity as if we are all working together to make an event happen. Which we are. And we did. Lighting tonight was I think the most spectacular of the tour. That’ll be the chocolate mousse.
And that was it. Up at 5 in the morning and off to the airport so Lau could fly to Manchester for a BBC appearance. I had a day off in Amsterdam before catching the boat.