Friday, July 30, 2010


Hutz Gets Down

Well actually Gogol Bordello started out in New York, so a lot of locals probably would say they conquered it a long time ago.

But they didn't fail to work the crowd into a frenzy and it didn't take 'em long.

They played some of old favorites -- "Not a Crime," "Wanderlust King" and, later in the set, "Start Wearing Purple." And they played a lot of their latest album Trans-Continental Hustle.

I realize that there are lots of people who are uninitiated into the pleasures of this band. So here's a quick primer:
Gogol Bordello 7-30-2010
Head Gogol Eugene Hutz, a native of the Ukraine, immigrated to New York City in the early '90s. There he fell in with like-minded musicians, many of them immigrants like himself from various parts of the world.

Together they crafted a high-charged rocking fusion of traditional gypsy music -- violin and accordion are important elements -- other traditional European sounds, reggae, South American sounds they modestly call "Gypsy punk." Recently Hutz moved to Brazil and traces of samba could be heard on the group's latest album
I wasn't immediately taken by the new Rick Rubin-produced Trans-Continental Hustle. But hearing it live Friday convinced me that the new songs stand proudly by the old.

My only disappointment was that they didn't play "American Wedding." But I didn't feel cheated.

I almost felt sorry for the headlining act of this show -- Primus. I'm a Primus fan. I love "My Name is Mud" and "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver" and lots of their other songs. I was happy to hear that Les Claypool and the boys had reunited and I'd get to hear them.

But following Gogol Bordello would be a heavy task for anyone. (My buddy Chuck suggested that Shane McGowan in his prime might be able to pull that feat off. But not many others.)

So sadly, Primus was somewhat of a letdown after Gogol. Claypool does some interesting music, but after their opening act, it just didn't seem all that exciting.

Speaking of interesting -- the very first band to play Friday was a rocked-out jazz-fusiony/No Wavish trio called Dead Kenny Gs. They have a sax man (who doubles on keyboards) a bassist and a drummer who also plays vibes. They were lots of fun and left me wanting to hear more.
On the subway trip home when we transferred trains at the 14th Street station, Chuck noticed that Gogol's accordion player, Yuri Lemeshev was there, posing for pictures with fans. One of them was me.

Check my snapshots of Gogol Bordello HERE


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