Live Music + Gig Reviews

Gogol Bordello @ Academy, Newcastle

28 March 2008

After an hour-long reggae DJ set, the gypsy punk phenomenon that is Gogol Bordello finally ascends the stage, bursting with energy.

The eager crowd lunge forward as first frontman Eugene Hütz runs on stage and straight into the audience to begin his dramatic performance.

The other band members follow on to complete the line-up and, from the moment the lights come up, everything whirls at a tremendous speed.

Watching Gogol Bordello feels more like being at a circus than at a gig. Each unique member is dressed to his own individual attire, but Hütz steals the biscuit with his tight red and black, slightly too revealing trousers, and infamous moustache. He accessorises further with a pair of red stiletto heels and a flowing blonde wig.

Hütz works his way through two bottles of red wine during the show, but this does not hinder the performance at all; rather it enhances it. When fiddler Sergey Ryabstev and accordionist Yuri Lemeshev try to steal the limelight they are pushed away by Hütz, who is never less than the audience’s centre of attention. There are two girls in the band whose main role seems to be dancing and winding up the other band members, but they add a touch of visual beauty to the show and aid Hütz with his bucket-tapping solo.

Can Hütz actually hold a tune, or is it simply his stage presence and overdramatic personality that makes him so popular? Tonight the fans are impressed with his antics but it’s the music that Gogol Bordello should be credited for. Fast-paced acoustic guitar is complimented by a heavy drumbeat, but completely contrasted by the accordion and fiddle. This blend of instruments is topped by Hütz’s voice – an instrument in itself that’s simultaneously terrifying and thrilling.

Songs from current album Super Taranta! are played with the same high energy and passion afforded their early material; Start Wearing Purple goes down a treat with the crowd but new songs Alcohol and American Wedding are equally celebrated.

Hütz tells his audience that, after attending the show, they are now part of the Gogol Bordello family. It’s a feeling that seems to reflect in the faces of the audience. Being present at a Gogol Bordello gig is like entering a different world, where the music is new and different and each stage antic is more shocking than the last. Gogol Bordello is not an act to be missed.

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More on Gogol Bordello
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Gogol Bordello – Trans-Continental Hustle
Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hütz: “I get my lyrics from my email, they are sent directly to me from almighty Lord” – Interview
Gogol Bordello @ Academy, Newcastle