Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike Track Listing
11/18/15 Edmonton, AB Shaw Conference
11/19/15 Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall Ballroom
11/21/15 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
11/22/15 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
11/23/15 Portland, OR McMenamins Crystal
11/25/15 San Francisco, CA Warfield Theatre
11/27/15 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
11/28/15 Las Vegas, NV Brooklyn Bowl
12/30/15 New York, NY Terminal 5
12/31/15 New York, NY Terminal 5
01/01/16 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
01/02/16 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
Absolutely no words.
Gypsy punk- it's a thing. It's an amazing thing.
Gogol Bordello is my favorite gypsy punk band out there (yes, there are many of them). Gypsy punk takes traditional Romani music and adds a little, you guessed it, punk. Gogol Bordello takes it a step further and adds a captivating live show. Last Saturday was my first time experiencing them live and I can already feel an obsession brewing in me.
I never wanted last night to end. They played for two hours and it wasn't enough. Their set was so full of energy and not just from Eugene Hutz, frontman, the energy was radiating from each of the musicians and the two dancers. There was never a moment where there wasn't something to watch.
The members of Gogol Bordello come from all over the world and that really adds to the music. There are members from Ukraine, Russia, China, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Belarus, and even the United States. Each member seems to bring a little something to the music. Once in a while, you feel like you're at a straight up punk show. The next song, you feel like you're in Ecuador at some sort of rap metal show. Within seconds, you're transported to Russia.
Majority of the music had a Eastern European sound to it just due to Eugene's thick accent. This sound, much like the sounds at The Contortionist show made me feel at home. My dad, on top of being an avid jazz fan, is the front man/ accordionist in a Klezmer band back in Des Moines, Iowa called the Java Jews. There were a lot of similarities between Gogol Bordello and the Java Jews and the smile that had crept across my face within the first few notes never left. With the holidays right around the corner, my homesickness is growing but shows like last night, that remind me of home, make that all go away.
The show was part of the ten year anniversary tour for Gogol's album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike. They played the album in its entirety and then came back on stage for a couple of stragglers. Each song was just as good as the rest. The crowd didn't care what song was being played, they were all just looking for a good time, and a good time was had by all.
The sold out crowd was a sweaty mess. Before the first song even started, there were people pushing and shoving. That only escalated as the set went on and by the end of it, everyone was covered in sweat and spilled wine and beer. The mish-mash of people in the crowd all had one thing in common, other than the people limping from the pit towards the open space behind me, everyone had a huge smile on their face.
I'm not typically one for pageantry at shows. I usually think of it as a way for the bands to distract the crowd from the music and talent, or lack thereof. Last night was an exception to this. Yes, there was pageantry. The two dancers had cymbals and a marching bass drum during a few songs and washboards during another. Was this distracting? Yes, but no. Even though they really did steal the spotlight when on stage, the band still held their own.
It was impossible to stop watching Eugene as he sprayed wine all over the crowd. I was captivated by violinist Sergey Ryabtsev who reminded me of all of my uncles on my dad's side of the family. Of course, the dancers caught my eye with the flashiness of the cymbals and the marching bass drum. Accordionist Pasha Newmer made the accordion look like one of the coolest instruments on the planet. MC Pedro Erazo had an amazing way of commanding the crowd every time he stepped towards the front of the stage. Hell, all of the members caught my eye at one point or another.
Last Saturday night was definitely in my top ten favorite live shows of all time. I say this a lot and I mean it every time but I'm telling you, point blank, go see Gogol Bordello. I don't care if you hate punk music. I don't care if you have no clue what traditional gypsy music sounds like. You will have an amazing time and an unforgettable night.
Gogol Bordello at First Avenue, Minneapolis (14 Nov 2015)