machina concert 88 298.
(photo credit: Viva Sarah Press)
There were no surprises in Gogol Bordello’s no-holds-barred first gig – of three
this week – at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv on Monday evening, and absolutely no
The place was packed to the rafters, which did not
prevent the mostly twenty-something audience from jumping, grooving and swaying
with great athleticism and unbridled fervor. This was not a show for the
fainthearted, and no one there – on the stage or in the crowd – was asking or
giving any quarter.
The gypsy punk outfit’s frontman, Ukraine-born
singer-guitarist Eugene Hütz, kept the raucous vocals coming thick and fast,
strumming furiously on his acoustic guitar and taking every opportunity to arch
his lean torso over the edge of the stage, above heads of the
The roar as the band hit the stage was deafening for what was a
long-awaited return for the eight-piece New York-based troupe after a triumphant
concert at the same venue 18 months ago.
Gogol Bordello is always as much
a feast for the eyes as for the ears, and all the members of the band kept their
individual and collective energy levels sky high.
Old favorites like
“Start Wearing Purple” had everyone jumping with blissful abandon as did new
material, such as “Break the Spell” off the band’s latest CD Trans-Continental
Hustle. For the latter, all the members of the audience raised their left arm
and mirrored Hütz’s frenetic gesticulations.
While Hütz is the life and
soul of the group, and the primary vocalist – other vocal efforts by Spanish
MC-percussionist Pedro Erazo and Scottish-Chinese dancer-singer Elizabeth Sun
did not add much to the mix – there were plenty of crowd-enthusing exploits by
other members of the band, including Erazo, Sun and particularly grey-bearded
violinist-vocalist Sergey Ryabtsev. Accordionist Yuri Lemeshev cut a curious and
seemingly incongruent figure who, with his granddad specs and Chairman Mao cap,
seemed better suited to entertaining kibbutzniks of old sitting around a kumsitz
Looks notwithstanding, he reeled off some pretty smooth licks on
Tonight’s show is the last of the band’s three gigs here
on this tour. If you’re looking for nonstop action and volume levels patently
designed to keep the rest of Tel Aviv awake, Barby is the place to be.