yr sanity & wits, they will all vanish
It's been weeks & weeks since the carnival sideshow that is NYC-based Gogol Bordello made a triumphant return to Mpls, and now at last here is the recap I promised y'all to the show that I previewed way back in July.
I've never gotten the very few bands like this: neither black nor green Negresses Vertes, strident pub politicos Black 47, squeezeboxing omnivore Kepa Junkera. Even before it jelled, however, I got this. Balkan immigrants flee some combination of thieving bureaucrats, bootstrapping hustlers, Yugoslavian genocide, and anomie. The underworld no-accounts of old Montmartre pursuing Eurotrash chic, they valorize their half-imposed marginalization by reaching out to fellow jetsam from other international backwaters where Islam is an everyday thing. Bootstrapping hustler Eugene Hutz formed a band in this subculture, which for all I know he invented first—rock, yes, but with its segmented groove and village dance rhythms very un-American (and un-African). This album is that band's statement of principle, cri de coeur, and ring grab—Hutz hectoring his way through a bacchanalian rant that's broken into songs that want to be slogans. Sixty revolutions per minute, this is my regular speed. You are the only life there is for yourself my friend. It is all connected through the Gypsy part of town. A
So says the Village Voice's Robert Christgau on the new Gogol Bordello record, Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike. Last week, sometimes-loathed (though not so much by me) indie "tastemaker" Pitchfork finally got around to reviewing the proper follow-up to 2002's Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony (we're still waiting, Stylus / Popmatters / CMG / Marv). 'Fork writer Jess Harvell scored it a 7.8, which I only hope can help to create some increased chatter (and album sales) for the band - whatever it takes to get people to their live shows, where you can't help but be converted to the growing legion of demented, gypsy punk burlesque-obsessed Gogol Bordello fans.
Oh yeah, about that show...
The weekend preceding the "gypsy punk caberet" blowout was a bit of a headache, beginning with a grueling closing shift at the jobby-job Friday nite, followed by a Saturday/Sunday turnaround (close Sat/open Sun) that threatened to kick my ass long before doors opened at the Fine Line Sunday evening. Adding insult to injury, my sister Dana was visiting from NYC for the weekend, as was family from the west coast. Damn right I was irked.
Thankfully the weekend didn't end up being as exhausting as I thought it might be, and I managed to make it over to my aunt Dobie's house in St. Louis Park after work to see my cousins (as well as my sibs, who also dropped by) for at least a little while before heading back downtown for the show. My cousin Molly, back home after finishing up school this spring, expressed interest in seeing Gogol Bordello a couple weeks prior, and I was thrilled to have somebody to take to the show. We grabbed dinner at Pizza Lucé (missed the Lucé block party that same afternoon, btw) & headed over to the venue a little early, not knowing that there was an opening act.
BTW: Molly has since snagged a gig at NPR & headed it out to DC. Congrats!
On to the show. Local rockers Revolver Modele were a pretty dull bunch IMO (I didn't bother w/pix), though cousin Molly & I had a good laugh over the goofy antics of their booty-shakin', trying-way-too-hard lead singer. After RM left the stage, we killed time trying to assemble some paper hats out of this tour's Gogol Bordello newspaper" (there was a pattern & instructions - we weren't that industrious) but were unsuccessful, though others were able to pull it off nicely. As the setbreak wore on, cousin Molly & I planted ourselves up front, as I wanted to be close to the action (and avoid the drawbacks of being short of stature). I informed her that Eugene Hütz would demonstrate how a real frontman does his/her thing. True to form, Hütz was last to take the stage, as the rest of the band built up the tension with an extended opening to Gypsy Punks opener "Sally" leading up to his entrance. The band lead off with the first three tracks off their new cd, and wasted no time whipping the audience into a frenzy. Unlike the chaotic dancefest that was last year's show at the Entry, this Fine Line gig was populated with many people who preferred to simply push & shove (a weak form of moshing I suppose), the result of which unfortunately edged cousin Molly & I out from our staring place at the front of the stage, though we still were fairly up close (I wonder if the same thing went on at the much-ballyhooed April gig that I managed to miss out on). Nevertheless, the show was a sweaty, debaucherous good time & I think/hope cousin Molly was impressed (I did my best to keep her from being clobbered by the previously mentioned "moshers"). I suppose could go into more detail, but IMO the following photos do a far better job than I ever could with mere words:
In completely unrelated news, the Gilmore Girls are finally back tonite - HUZZAH! I admit it, I'm hooked. Popmatters has a spoilerific preview.