On July 4th, Gypsy punk rabble, Gogol Bordello burst on stage at Bristol’s O2 academy. Hailing from New York and originally formed in 1999, they’re renowned for their energetic live shows and they certainly did not disappoint.
The nine piece played an infectiously frenzied, sweat soaked set that ricocheted between old classics from their back catalogue and songs from their 10th and newest album ‘Seekers and Finders’ coming out on August the 25th.
They join us from their year-long Seekers and Finders tour encompassing most of Europe and the U.S.A. Gogol Bordello explain the concept behind their new album “Time to set score with the pseudo-spiritual times we live in…/Nope buddy, ‘Not all seekers will be finders…/ but If you can transmute all-pervading negativity into personal power and resilience then a great sail is still ahead of you… a sail very well worth sailing.”
Moustached frontman Eugene Hutz swaggered on stage wearing his trade mark striped trousers with a bottle of red wine in tow. He was joined by original member Sergey Ryabtsev on violin and backing vocals. Many of the other members have joined in the recent years but their legendary touring resume makes it feel like they’ve been there from the start.
By their second song, Saboteur Blues from the new album, beer and cider was flying left right and centre dousing the rowdy crowd who didn’t seem to care one bit. The O2 was packed tight with hundreds of sweaty bodies crammed in like sardines. Not a Crime and Start Wearing Purple from the Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike album of 2005 were received with chaotic enthusiasm and many bruises were received in good will in the ever-present mosh pit.
The band matched the energy levels of the crowd perfectly, making leaping around with accordions, huge drums and violins look as easy as breathing. Fans roared in appreciation when they heard the hit Wanderlust King and sang along gleefully to old favourite Alcohol from the ‘Super Taranta’ album, released in 2007.
We also heard My Companjera and Immigraniada from the ‘Trans Continental Hustle’ album of 2010. The crowd, spurred on by the lyrics “To hell with your double standards, We’re coming rougher every time” were dancing with increased vigour with every “rougher every time”.
It’s hard to pin point Gogol Bordello’s unique sound with influences ranging from gypsy, punk, rock and folk, to name a few. Shouting out to the band’s multi-national heritage, Hutz listed their different nationalities from Ecuador, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Russia and Ukraine.
The gig reached its peak with frontman, Eugene Hütz crowd surfing on a suitcase while the crowd chanted more old classics. Then the band brought us into the home straight with Think Locally Fuck Globally and Indestructible.
Gogol Bordello describe their task: “to provoke audience out of post-modern aesthetic swamp onto a neo optimistic communal movement towards new sources of authentic energy”. We’re not quite sure what that means, but the energy from the band was certainly authentic. Despite recent shuffles in the line-up, it’s clear the band love playing live and their vigorous stage show left us all wanting one more song as the set drew to a frenetic finish.
Gogol.Bordello // Words by Charise Clarke