Friday, March 14, 2008

Gogol Bordello World Strike

Gogol Bordello at San Francisco's Warfield last night (03/13/08) was an excellent show, despite the Warfield's bad sound (terrible mixing being a San Francisco live venue staple). My lovely wife and I both enjoyed the show immensely. Unrelenting energy burst forth from this Eugene Hutz fronted, nine piece band for nearly two hours as they played through what seemed like the entire Super Taranta album, and then some. It's not every day that a punk band is anchored by violin and accordion, but violinist Sergey Ryabtsev and accordionist Yury Lemeshev do an amazing job of bringing both punk energy and traditional sounds into the Gogol Bordello Mix (and both have great stage presence, even in the shadow of the unrelentingly frenetic Hutz).

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello are one of my favorite bands, and are the leading ethnic-punk fusion band, thanks to Hutz' stardom from the film Everything Is Illuminated, and the band's subsequent "adoption" by Madonna as her latest pet project. While openers Skindred were decent enough, it would have been much more exciting had a kindred band such as World/Inferno Friendship Society (a long-running accordion-punk act who also deserve recognition), Slavic Soul Party, Leningrad, Yat-Kha, or Balkan Beat Box been along for the tour.

Gogol Bordello lifted from their seats nearly an entire Warfield crowd of punks, hipsters, hippies, goths, ren-faire acolytes, middle aged music nerds, and the occasional actual Roma. There was definitely more dancing (and less stupidity) at this show than at your average Warfield/Fillmore show. Songs like Start Wearing Purple, Supertheory of Supereverything, Zina-Marina, 60 Revolutions, Sally, Not A Crime, I Would Never Want To Be Young Again, and Harem in Tuscany got the crowd hopping. While I wish the show had been an hour longer so they could play more of their older stuff such as Immigrant Punk, Avenue B, Dogs Were Barking, Underdog World Strike, Strange Uncles From Abroad, Voi-La Intruder, Letter To Mother, and Passport, the songs they did play were all excellent and there were enough of my other favorites that I certainly didn't leave feeling disappointed. All in all a great show, and I hope to see Gogol Bordello in San Francisco again some time soon.