The Old Man’s Boat: Goose’s European Tour Docks In Bristol

The band’s European tour continued with a one-set show performed on an old cargo ship docked in a canal.

By Ryan Storm Nov 19, 2023 9:05 am PST

Last night, Goose packed themselves onto a boat in Bristol, England for a memorable one-set affair as they head into the home stretch of their first Europe tour.

Yes, last night’s venue Thekla was a literal boat, floating in one of Bristol’s canals – a defunct cargo ship that has been a concert venue for decades now. It was easily the tightest-packed show of the tour, and the band themselves even had to use smaller rigs to fit on the stage. The venue had a tiny balcony suspended almost on top of the stage, while the floor below was crammed with people in every available inch of space.

The band took the stage promptly a few minutes after 7 p.m. and slid into an appropriate “The Whales” opener. The Peter Anspach song was a great warm-up to the show and led directly into an absolutely incendiary “Butter Rum.” With most of the crowd singing along to the catchy hooks (though sadly there was not enough space for a conga line), guitarist Rick Mitarotonda tore through a heated minor-key jam with ferocity, enjoying the powerful tone emanating from his custom DeLuis guitar.

Goose’s huge arena-level sound filled every corner of the tiny boat through the second Anspach song of the night in “Butterflies.” The crunchy off-time guitar lines and blasts of delay from Mitarotonda were really cool in such a small setting and teed up the following “Rockdale” perfectly.

Another perfect singalong moment that had band members grinning ear-to-ear, this Vasudo classic had a little bit of “extra mustard” on it last night, hitting on a nice blissy progression that was atypical for your run-of-the-mill “Rockdale.”

The meat of the set last night came in the form of an exemplary 30 minutes of “Wysteria Lane” and “All I Need.” The former boasted a rare occurrence of Anspach sticking to guitar throughout an entire jam, rather than pivoting to keyboards as he has been wont to do the last year and a half or so.

The “Wysteria” improv hit some excellent churning themes early on, hearkening back to the incredible dual-guitar jams of winter 2022. Drummer Ben Atkind pounded away heavily as both Anspach and Mitarotonda played chunky rhythmic chords. An excellent transition to a major-key space saw Anspach take the lead with a catchy and repeating melody while Mitarotonda shifted to rhythmic work akin to the ending of “Dripfield.” The rhythm section continued to charge ahead with a steady beat as they hit some seriously danceable spaces in the last few minutes.

The peak gradually wound down and dissipated smoothly before the band took a much-needed water break and ripped into “All I Need.” While this version is only 14 minutes in length, it went to some absolutely crazy places over the course of a rollercoaster motif seen in the highly touted June 19, 2021 “Madhuvan.” Diving back and forth between spacey major tapping and dark, minor shredding repeatedly, Goose demonstrated their tightness and ability to switch jamming styles on a dime.

“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” offered a breather after the intense jamming – and a perfect opportunity for more small-club singalongs to the classic tune. The show wrapped up with “Into The Myst,” which eschewed its jam in favor of a segue into the appropriate “The Old Man’s Boat.” Quickly coming up on curfew, Goose shoehorned a blazing hot “White Lights” instead of the vibey “Boat” jam – the only part of last night’s concert where I was disappointed in the setlist.

Europe tour moves on to London tonight with the first of two shows at the 1,500 capacity Electric Ballroom. A livestream is available for free to subscribers.

Watch the opener from Bristol below:

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Setlist (via El Gö

Set: The Whales, Butter Rum, Butterflies, Rockdale, Wysteria Lane, All I Need [1], Escape (The Piña Colada Song), Into The Myst [2] -> Can’t Get You Out Of My Head -> The Old Man’s Boat [2], White Lights


  • [1] Slow, melodic version.
  • [2] Unfinished.
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