The Gypsy Revolution!


Gogol Bordello at Webster Hall 12/29/08 Gogol Bordello is one of the most exciting bands currently catching the consciousness of the music world, and their most recent series of shows at Webster Hall solidified that status as these gypsy punks shouted their energetic message evoking the muses of song, theater, and humor. Rock has always welcomed instruments of all kinds to join in the fray, but with the understanding that the guitars will take the lead. Bordello breaks with this tradition, choosing violin and accordion for its generals while guitars support from the rear. This makes for a foreign sound, fitting with Eugene Hütz's vocals, and yet there is the prevailing feeling of a balls-out punk band. The experience is very new and exciting, like a mysterious march passing down your street enticing you to join its ranks with a waking wanderlust for a world that could be. In a parody of the old country, Hütz plays with broken English and a thick accent, creating a wild character inclined towards a good time and pushing the borders of convention. Energy and intensity took the place of the sweet note, with a raw voice fueled by inhibition and wisdom. Hütz's lyrics are filled with deceptively simple, human observations of deep philosophical implication on issues ranging from the absurdities of religion and nationalism to encroachments on personal freedom and the dying sense of community. The import of the commentary is coated with a dose of comedy, making it easier to digest, and at the very core is a welcomed call to abandon your larger affiliations, trading them instead for a smaller family of those whose company you actually love and enjoy. Sergey Ryabtzev fiddled with a ferocity that wakes the dead and demands that the living should live. He beams with a well-earned pride in his musical abilities and plays on joy as well as sorrow, erupting with emotion in the performance's peaks. Yuri Lemeshev splashed the evening with the color of his accordion, providing a beautiful base for the wilder accents of Ryabtzev's fiddle. The rhythms ranged from racing wild runs to jaunty bounces and drunken swaying with an unceasing momentum that carried from one song to the next. All the instruments and performances were joyous, celebrating their communion toward a singular musical goal. The liveliness of this stage performance would be hard to match, and it is a miracle that Gogol is able to engage an audience so intensely night after night. With as many as nine members taking the stage, it was only the knowledge of one another's steps that prevented collision between theses beaming beings. Hütz was a force to be reckoned with, testing the durability of the house equipment and keeping the stage hands busy for the duration of the show as they made repairs in the wake of this festive whirlwind. The band followed the lead of their fearless front man, charging the apron of the stage, dressed to party and giving the crowd more than they could ever ask for. The overall feeling of Gogol Bordello is one of celebration. The instruments, vocals, lyrics, actions, and tone worked together to sustain this sensation, often driving at relentless speeds with an energy that permeated the club, lifting the audience off their feet and throwing them into a wild dance that threatened to cave in the floor at Webster Hall. This is more than a band; this is a family offering for you to be family. Denying this invitation would be a regrettable mistake.