Okay, so looking up Gogol in a dictionary is an absolute mind-fuck. We all know the meaning of Bordello but Gogol offers a bit more of a challenge. Firstly it could be that Gogol refers to Nikolai Vasilievich, the Russian novelist, dramatist and short-story writer, or it could well be that the Urban Dictionary is correct when it defines Gogol as ‘1. To hit on a girl by ‘accidentally‘ walking into her or 2. To get jacked off by a girl on the dance floor or any public area at a party.‘
As fun and plausible as that sounds, for the sake of this review let’s say that Vasilievich is the inspiration for Gogol Bordello as the band attempts to inveigle their hybrid style of music into the conscious and/or subconscious of the average caucasian punter. Their style is actually less of a style than a blend of genres. When you mix Romani music with punk and dub step you end up with a new creation that is heavily influenced by the pure sounds but they are less recognizable as the once distinct styles. In that lies Gogol Bordello’s attraction. Their circus-like performance could soon be just a motif, shallow and entertaining but soon tiresome and without gloss, if there was no substance behind the music.
Their seventh studio album, released in August last year and titled ‘Seekers and Finders’ gives fans more of what they love about the band. This latest tour showcases this most recent L.P. and provides a medium for their mission or philosophy of proving that the saying ‘Nothing is new under the sun’ is an intellectual error. Eugene Hutz, appearing for all the world like a gypsy prince; lithe and swaggering performed the songs in a mesmerizing melee of theatrics. At once the music was the most important focus, then the actor on stage hijacked the spotlight and made the experience more wholistic.
Who could ever have believed the accordion could be cool? Pasha Newmer makes it so. Blending in the simple folk tinkle (in another’s hands) with complex percussion and ethnic instruments to provide us with a completely new view of a much maligned music maker.
Performing such songs as ‘Saboteur Blues’ and ‘Break into Your Higher Self’ with absolute passion and verve, punters were pulled into the joy of creativity, of improvisation, of delightful expression.
While crowdsurfing was expressly forbidden and actively curtailed, fans danced in delight as the first notes of already familiar tracks rang out into the air and crept in whisps into waiting ears. All too soon the gig was done, but being the prolific tourists that they are, Gogol Bordello will be back in our neighbourhood just like the itinerant Romanies of not so long ago.