Gig Review - Gogol Bordello

Tuesday 1st April 2008 @ Academy

There are few bands in the world which bombard the senses quite like these boys do, to say they are one of a kind would seem vacuous if slightly ridiculous, so let’s suffice to say they effortlessly seem to create and fill a niche of their own. Gogol Bordello are so striking and supremely unique I refuse to believe that any band exists which competes in the diversity or originality steaks, having band members from the Ukraine, Russia, Great Britain, Israel, Ethiopia, Thailand, and the U.S. fusing punk with ethnic fervour!

I am informed, by a die hard, scruffy little ginger dude we met the wrong side of the ‘mosh pit’ that the band would like to call their music style Gypsy Punk. Maybe he’s right, I, however see more violent violin and phat bass beats. Kosak romping folk music mixed up with destructive guitar riffs and the odd stylings of a loopy accordion player, Gogol Bordello’s music is breathtaking and after 2 hours slightly exhausting. 

Gypsy Punks in my opinion is one of the finest albums ever made; it shows maturity and supreme insight. Prior to this experience and the very first time I heard Gogol Bordello play live it is hard to imagine that the band could do their music any more justice in the live performance than the specially recorded, studio perfected counterpart. I was about to be proved wrong.

The number of people on stage (8!) seem to double in excitement and exuberance, this is a stage show and a half, it’s big and theatrical, camp and sublime, effortlessly making the scissor sisters look like Boyzone. Eight people hop up and down on stage, like they have just jumped out of the fancy dress cupboard with everything they could find. It would be easy for me to dismiss the band as gimmicky, if their lyrics were not so insightful.

The ethnic diversity of Gogol Bordello and the immigrant nature of the band sing through their lyrics, normally based in Brooklyn, Hutz and his gang fuse gypsy statelessness and rock-bohemian wanderlust. If you’re not an immigrant, they hint, you’re lucky, but you also don’t know what it is to be alive. Gogol Bordello tell you whilst entertaining you, what they achieve is remarkable, they are a modern fusion of sound which gives 150% to everything they do.

Gogol Bordello give a high octane, energetic romp through the Baltic’s, stopping off in Israel, The States and Africa, a two carriage train full of musicians, instruments, chickens squawking, desperately hanging off the roof, carriages full flowers and burlesque girls, theatre performance, card tricks, dancing monkeys, tightrope balancing, lute playing, ball jugging, lunatics gagging for you to give up your wardrobe and hand yourself over to the power of purple.

Faye Westrop

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