Gogol Bordello @ House of Blues (Dallas)
The last time I saw Gogol Bordello was at ACL in 2008. I remember the enormous energy they exuded to ignite such a massive crowd, and at the time I couldn’t really imagine what the experience would be like if all that energy and force was contained indoors. Well now I know. On Monday night at House of Blues in Dallas Gogol Bordello graced the stage once again and the evening was everything I had expected. Read on for the rest of the review.
From the instant they entered the stage the eight-piece gypsy-punk band performed at lightning speed and never stopped moving. Front-man guitarist Eugene Hutz, violinist Sergey Ryabstev, and MC Pedro Erazo, among others, were fueling the fire that was the insatiable human pit in front of the stage, and stoking them throughout the night for more energy. The crowd was jumping, slamming, clapping, fist-pumping and crowd surfing all in the name of musical pleasure. The band’s eclectic mix of folk, punk, and reggae and political messages about immigration reform and revolution resonated through the crowd and produced an inimitable show and experience that is true to Gogol Bordello’s form.
The set started with two songs off their album Super Taranta!, “Tribal Connection” and “Ultimate.” These two songs were a great representation of their more traditional gypsy influences, with a heavy presence of violin and accordion. But, on “Tribal Connection” Pedro Erazo came from behind his bongos to give us some Spanish flare, an element which was not part of the original song, but was a great taste of what the rest of the night had to offer. The set was loaded with songs off of their most recent album Trans-Continental Hustle, and this is where you could really sense how their sound has adopted influences of Brazilian samba, reggae, and psychedelic rock.
As they reached the middle of their set they went into “Immigraniada,” a fast-paced political surge of music, and you could feel the crowd bursting at the seam. Hutz was fist-pumping toward the crowd in all of his mustachioed glory and the crowd was feeding off the raucous nature of the song. From there they headed right into “Break the Spell,” and what seemed to be impossible happened – the crowd became increasingly more crazed and riotous. The two back-to-back songs served as a tidal wave of energy mid-set, and was the highlight of the show.
Things calmed down a bit after that when Hutz and accordionist Yuri Lemeshev did a duet to “When Universes Collide,” which gave you a short break and allowed us to recharge for the end of the set. But after a short stint of sentimental story-telling the song turned into a full-band instrumental menagerie. After great performances of “American Wedding” and “Pala Tute,” the band came out with the crowd favorite “Start Wearing Purple.” The entire band was on full-blast egging on the crowd with break-downs and build-ups. Their energy was maniacal, and Hutz himself was going so frenetic he was sloshing his bottle of red wine on everyone and everything. Awesome.
The encore consisted of three songs and they did not disappoint. They were still just as balls-to the-walls, and they dedicated their last song to their diehard fans of 7+ years. They even lined up to take a bow; a very sentimental send-off.