Gogol Bordello @ Billboard The Venue, Melbourne (30/03/2010)
If you haven’t heard of the band Gogol Bordello, you can be forgiven. Hailing from New York, the band is made up of members from all over the world; Armenia, Russia, Ecuador, USA, Israel and Ethiopia. They also look as if they’re trying to cover a wide range of stereotypes; Singer Eugene Hutz looks like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Borat, Violinist Sergey Ryabtsev looks like a Che Guevara revolutionist, Bassist Thomas Gobena looks like he just stepped out of a mid 70’s blaxplotation film and Drummer Oliver Charles is a Scottish punk with yellow kilt and fluro pink mohawk. An eclectic cast of characters indeed. And they play Gypsy Punk music – A strange and bizarre style of punk that has world music feel to it. But God if it isn’t anything but fun!
Playing to a sold out crowd at Billboard, Gogol Bordello arrived at the early time of 9:30, though made up for it by playing for almost 2 hours. They were incredible and obviously enjoying every second of the time they were on stage. Not allowing themselves a moment of rest, the band jumped, danced, ran, crowd surfed and lived up to the hype that surrounds their live shows.
One of the best, most eccentric and watchable front men around, Hutz obviously was not content to simply stand and sing. Even with a guitar, he was constantly moving, jumping, dancing and entertaining the crowd and his fellow band mates with his antics; highlights included spraying the front few rows of the mosh with red wine during Start Wearing Purple and his ability to crazily jump and still continue to play his guitar brilliantly.
Not to say the other band members did nothing. Ryabtsev was constantly hyping the audience up and gesturing for people to get more involved (which the audience was more than happy to oblige) as well as playing some amazing violin. Pedro Erazo, the percussionist, loved getting his limelight at the front of the stage and often would run forward to “rap” and yell at the audience, even doing so wearing a Mexican wrestling mask at one stage and towards the end of the set, coming forward with a marching drum to smash out beats. And dancer/percussionist Pamela Jintana Racine provided much amusement with her dancing, especially when creating her own version of the running man.
Musically, the band were amazing, with catchy, European sounding songs with crazed lyrics. Everyone in the band seemed to have their place, knew what it was and didn’t try to show each other up. They worked extremely well to create an insane, theatrical circus on stage. Songs such as Think Locally, Fuck Globally, Not A Crime and Wanderlust King got the crowd chanting along, whilst the afore mentioned Start Wearing Purple (the crowd favourite of the night), had the sold out audience with hands reaching for the sky, bathed in light moshing like the end of the world was upon us. And if it was, what a way to go out! Not disappointing in the slightest, the band played a massive set featuring songs from all their albums, with new songs from upcomer ‘Trans-Continental Hustle’ sounding awesome.
There’s really not a lot more to say other than, if you’ve never heard of these guys, get into them. If you’ve heard of these guys and never seen them, make sure you don’t miss them, they truly are a band not to miss!