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Gogol Bordello
With State Radio
McCarren Park Pool
June 21, 2008

Written by Josh Williams
Photographed by Amy Davidson

Opposite Photo: Eugene Hütz

Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello

Not too long ago I saw Gogol Bordello perform at Coachella. At the time, my review stated that everyone should go to a GB show whenever the opportunity presented itself. And well, I am here to reaffirm that notion. I had the pleasure of seeing them again at McCarren Park Pool on June 21st, and I have come to the conclusion that a Gogol Bordello performance is not just a music show; it is in itself an event. Or perhaps it’s more of a happening. A thing. A big freaking party. Very rarely does a band give me the desire to buy their music. I downloaded some songs after the first time I saw them (legally even!), and after the other day, I am sure I will round out my collection.

State Radio

Supporting Gogol Bordello was State Radio, a three piece hailing from Massachusetts. These guys were an odd, but not altogether unpleasant mix. I was taken with the bass player’s talent and the groove of the rhythm section in particular. A lot of reggae and dub, I guess, mixed with some punk and rock riffs, and then a little spacey stoner rock. And they managed to have it all come together pretty nicely. I was reminded of Camper Van Beethoven a little, most likely due to the reggae and ska beats the band was putting out. I should point out that I like these guys better than Camper. I was slightly amused to see a mosh pit. For one, it didn’t really seem like music for moshing, but who am I to say what is and what isn’t. Does irony still live in the ‘Burg? If so, maybe it was just the kids making fun of their parents. In any event, it was a good crowd pleasing set

Then along came the caravan of craven crazed gypsy punk that is Gogol Bordello. Frontman Eugene Hütz oozes charisma, violinist Sergey Ryabtsev looks like a mad Russian biker whom the devil taught to play fiddle and the band comes together with a great kinetic energy. Within the first few measures, they had the crowd dancing, including a woman who I believe was trying to induce labor and deliver her overdue baby. I think being born at a GB show would definitely be one of the coolest things ever. Two of my favorites were played: “Not a Crime”, and “Think Locally, F@@k Globally”. By the time “Start Wearing Purple” came up in the set, the band had indeed earned their keep.

Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello

The Gogol in Gogol Bordello apparently refers to Nikolai Gogol, who is an influence because he "smuggled" Ukrainian culture into Russian society. Gogol Bordello plans to do the same with their music in the English speaking world. That plan seems to be coming to fruition. There is nothing more to say. Go to a show and be entertained. You’ll get your money’s worth.

Sergey Ryabtsev of Gogol Bordello

One-and-a-Half Gogol Bordello Fans

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