It would be very easy for Gogol Bordello to fall into that category of world music acts that become completely satisfied with their portion of the scene and deliver the same concert every year for decades or so. Yet I am at the fifth show in about eight years and I can safely say none of them were the same.
The basic recipe will of course never change, it doesn’t even have to, but you must always keep it interesting by giving it a twist. Each time I saw him, Eugene Hutz was busying himself thieving inspiration from different sources, taking the stay on the run motto very seriously for a man who wouldn’t strike you as particularly serious at a first glance. As already mentioned, there’s a strong vein of statically wallowing in self pity lodged into Eastern Europeans, so it’s always a relief to see its easy going solar opposite in action.
There’s never been any doubt that Gogol Bordello are as much of a wandering circus of some sorts as they are a rock band, and their beauty lies in the very fact that they’re great at delivering both. The crowd goes manic in the afternoon heat about halfway through the first song and only takes small respites when Eugene walks through the sprinkler system, bottle in hand, like some ancient deity dispensing rain and wine.
Midway through the show a hapless individual walks in and asks his slightly less hapless friend where these people are from. Well, the programme says US, but you know, they’re not really from there, they’re like from everywhere a bit. Strange enough, but that’s probably the best definition of them I ever heard- being from everywhere a bit makes you exponentially more fun than being from somewhere precise, and that’s exactly the feeling you get whenever you go to a Gogol Bordello concert.
PS: The man sang in Hungarian. Two full songs. With mostly discernible accent. This feat of greatness immediately demands a giant statue overlooking the Danube or something.