Gogol Bordello November 28, Brooklyn Bowl.
“Start Wearing Purple” might be a song about a crazy neighbor, but the way Gogol Bordello played it and the way the audience responded Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl, it felt more like a call to revolution.
The band often had nine members onstage, playing everything from acoustic guitar to electric violin, washboard to accordion, usually at breakneck speed. Add onto that the power of the many excitable vocalists backing leader Eugene Hutz and you have a combustible musical engine feeding a wild crowd, much of it dressed in colorful gypsy garb.
Gogol is touring for the 10th anniversary of Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, a record filled with energetic, dance-ready tunes, which enter a even higher stratosphere live. Hutz, charismatic and super-charged, led manic renditions of “Immigrant Punk,” “60 Revolutions” and “Avenue B” early on. That all served as a precursor to “Dogs Were Barking,” which best achieved the band’s mission statement: “To provoke audience out of post-modern aesthetic swamp onto a neo-optimistic communal movement towards new sources of authentic energy.”
While the night served to spotlight Gypsy Punks, Hutz smartly changed the song sequence, switching “Mishto!” and “Undestructable” to build better momentum. The mid-set addition of “Wonderlust King” from 2007’s Super Taranta! also served the greater good and gave those who might be unfamiliar with the band a glimpse into its seemingly nonstop touring lifestyle: “I traveled the world looking for lovers/Of the ultimate beauty, but never settled in/I’m a Wonderlust king!”
By the time the band encored with “American Wedding,” the audience had moved from dancing to bouncing, so much so that, for the first time, I felt the floor shake at Brooklyn Bowl. Revolution, indeed.