Gogol Bordello @ KoKo 06/07/06

Five minutes before Gogol Bordello take to the stage and I’m indulging in some idle banter with a friendly security guy down the front:

“Have you seen Gogol Bordello before then?”

Security: “No…you?”

“No, been meaning to for ages, but I’ve heard its an amazing show”

Security: “Oh you think it might be a bit lively then?”

“I think you might have a bit of a busy evening”

Spin forward twenty minutes and several leg flailing crowd surfers later, and lead singer Eugene Hutz leaps unannounced onto his shoulders. Staggering around with Hutz’s legs wrapped around his neck he’s a picture of bafflement, but the grin on his face is unmistakable. If Gogol Bordello have a calling card this is it. In the street afterwards you can pick out the people who were there by their smiles (due to the inferno like temperature you can also pick them out from the huge sweatmarks..but we’ll gloss over that.)

Gogol Bordello

Hutz has the energy and stage presence of a young Iggy Pop, careering about the stage or repeatedly diving into the audience mid song. In all my visits to KoKo or Camden Palais I’ve never seen it buzzing like this. Traditionally London audiences just don’t dance until the last few numbers, but with crowd favourite “Start Wearing Purple” thrown in fairly early the place was bouncing from the off. I lasted five songs in the chaos down the front, but when I realised it wasn’t just me that was dripping with sweat but my camera too I scrambled for safety.

The idea of Ukrainian gypsy music fused with the punk of Sonic Youth may not be something that most people would think appealing, but live it makes perfect sense. Hutz is joined in this burlesque show by an accordion player, a Billy Connely look-alike on fiddle, and two crazed but very sexy female dancers who spend their time grappling with Hutz, bashing a huge drum, scrapping some-kind of percussive wash board on their back, and dancing as if their lives depended on it.

Gogol BordelloStand still long enough and Hutz will scale you and begin singing from atop your head. Over the course of the evening he overturned the monitor stands to balance on top, walked on top of the crowd, security, and almost on my head.

Towards the end of the show a masked man emerged, stripped and began dancing center stage… Hutz of course simply climbed on his shoulders and continued singing. During an epic finale he was carried across the audience on an enormous bass drum.

If you get the chance to see Gogol Bordello, run dont walk. Gogol Bordello

Set list:

Im My Punk
Sally Never
Young Not A Crime
East Infection
60 Revs
Trouble Friends
Fuck Globally
Underdog World Strike
Punk Rock
Santa Marinella

My pics: Gogol Bordello @ Koko 06/07/06 flickr photoset

Littlepants also took pics of the night (plus lots of other Gogol)


Youtube videos of the gig from LondonYank here

Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple” (Mov)


Gogol Bordello – “Start Wearing Purple” (MP3)

30 minute documentary from Radio 1 on Gogol Bordello