Gogol Bordello | 03.01.08 | Philly

Word by: Martin Halo | Images by: Rod Snyder

Gogol Bordello :: 03.01.08 :: The Electric Factory :: Philadelphia, PA

Gogol Bordello :: 03.01.08
As the rest of Philadelphia appeared peaceful, the punks gathered. All green spiked Mohawks, tattered jeans and leather jackets, the toxic droves converged on the Electric Factory. They were there to feast their eyes on the jaw dropping musical spectacle of Gogol Bordello. The first time I saw them perform my jaw was stapled to the floor. I didn't know what was more captivating, the pure lunacy of the whole thing or the general bizarreness to a point of bald fascination.

Inside, Yiddish folk music with a steroid injected tempo blared through the house PA. It was ominous. As the lights fell, a monstrous surge from the general admission floor literally re-positioned the barricades, which were weighed down by football player sized security guards riding them like training dummies. The audience was holding the kinetic energy; but it was the band that provided the bolt.

Frontman Eugene Hutz emerged over the audience. He looked like a giant with stringy hair, dangling earrings and florescent pants. It was almost like a cult ceremony. What made it sinister and embodied the essence of punk rock was the overgrown mustache protruding from his upper lip.

Gogol Bordello :: 03.01.08
In constant motion to his right was fiddler Sergey Ryabtsev, who sported all black, accented by his long white hair. Ryabtsev served as the lead burst and his tone penetrated the rest of the fold. The fiddle further solidified the gypsy attitude, as he rode it like a sorority girl straddling a mechanical bull. Finishing out the original membership, dating back to their 1999 beginnings in the barrooms of Manhattan's Lower East Side, is accordion player Yuri Lemeshev. With a staggering step, hunched back and flat brimmed hat, Lemeshev tickled the vertical keys in a lighting manner. The whole scene was just bizarre. There were Gypsy punks from the Ukraine onstage, accompanied by an audience going ape shit, sparked by an initial surge of adrenaline that lasted deep into the set.

The Philadelphia performance was the opening night of a tour in support of 2007's Super Taranta that will last until June. Taking the stage at 10 p.m., their main set lasted about an hour with a four-song encore. Hutz performed the majority of the evening shirtless as he transitioned between his acoustic guitars and taunted the crowd with his microphone.

"Shut the fuck up and dance," he exclaimed in an Eastern European grunt before leaping off the stage. As the audience raged, Hutz climbed on the shoulders of the nearest security guard as their Eastern European strut commenced. The Electric Factory was on fire and the gypsies reigned. The sound rose to the rafters.

"Start wearing purple, wearing purple," sang Hutz on a classic off the band's 2005 release, Gypsy Punk Underdog World Strike. But, as the Bordello benchmarks rolled off their musical tongue the night was focused on supporting the new record.

"This is our home territory," said Hurtz. "We start and end all of our tours here." He then proceeded to toast the road before he treated the Philly audience to Bordello obscurities.

Gogol Bordello isn't about the musicianship it isn't about the jams, it's all about having the best possible time at a show, and when we are talking about this band that's not too hard to manifest.

Eugene Hutz riding security :: Gogol Bordello :: 03.01.08

Gogol Bordello :: 03.01.08

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[Published on: 3/17/08]

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1radioheader starstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 10:23AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


THis band rocs. . . .but (excuse my ignorance) how exactly does a fiddler ride his instrument like a sorority girl rides a mechanical bull???? do you mean he came in his pants and went flying across the room leaving his fiddle still twitching and humping????. . . .just curious

1048 starstarstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 11:26AM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



phaslam starstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 12:12PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Saw these guys at the Warfield in SF. Great Fucking Show! If you haven't seen these guys, booze up and get ready for a fun night of gypsy punk b/c there ain't much out there like 'em.

AskGreatQuestions starstarstarstarstar Mon 3/17/2008 03:38PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i was at this show and it was fuckin AWESOME! as soon as i got home i downloaded all of their music except the 2 cds i baught at the show. I highly suggest going to see them to anyone who has the option.

Hagermeister starstarstarstar Tue 3/18/2008 09:26AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great pics.

Lakai starstarstar Tue 3/18/2008 10:28AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I dont get these guys

RedHeaven starstarstarstar Tue 3/18/2008 08:42PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great pics and article. I dig this band a bunch. I like others in their genre a little more though....the gimmick of the Golgo sound only goes so far for me....kinda like Claypool....but still, I think theyre great and this article really makes me want to see them. I do love this kind of music, but Ive heard it being done with more emotion.

Larry Narachi starstar Wed 3/19/2008 11:25AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Larry Narachi

I saw these guys at the Warfield in SF, but after countless songs in 4/4 where we all yell "HEY HEY HEY" it didn't do much for me. The energy is incredible and so is the pogo nature of the crowd's dancing, but musicianship and dynamics are really missing. I won't go see them again - I prefer paying money to see professional musicians - compare this to George Porter Jr.