Eugene Hutz is the man. This is an undeniable fact. He is one crazy gypsy punk party dude on stage with one crazy gypsy punk party band to back him up. Gogol Bordello played the Neptune crowd just right on August 9th, turning in one of the most energetic and engaging shows I’ve seen in a long time. They filled a two-hour show with high-energy stage antics and audience participation.
The great genius of Gogol Bordello is that while they are classified, by the press and by themselves, as gypsy punk they are truly a world band, a band without borders. While the band lives in the United States most members came to the country as immigrants from countries as diverse as the Ukraine, Russia, Hong Kong, Ethiopia, Ecaudor, and Belarus.
Hutz ran around shirtless spouting out lyrics with authority. Sergey Ryabtsev, as calm and collected as a member of Gogol Bordello could be, tore it up on fiddle. The band never let up on the energy powering through the whole set.
The tour is in support of their excellent brand new release, Pura Vida Conspiracy. Imagine if The Pogues and The Clash went on a trip together to Eastern Europe. That’s what “Other Side of Rainbows,” the first song from the album to make an appearance, sounds like. Album opener “We Rise Again” is an anthem for the underdog.
Gogol Bordello reached into their back catalog during the show, pulling out fan favorites like “Wonderlust King” and “Immigraniada.” During the latter the collective energy of the band and crowd seemed to fill every nook and cranny of the Neptune. A venue any larger and this energy would have lessened, dissipated a little. If the venue was any smaller it could have burst into ten million little pieces. Gogol Bordello played to the venue better than just about any other live act I’ve seen.
The waltz of “Start Wearing Purple” turned into a festive sing-along and served as a great showcase for Pasha Newmer on accordion. He just joined the band this year after emigrating from Belarus in 2011.
Gogol Bordello closed out the show with a high-energy extended encore including rave up “Think Locally, Fuck Globall,” and the varying tempos of “Mishto.”
As I left the Neptune there was no doubt in mind that Gogol Bordello is one of the best live bands of the 21st century and Eugene Hutz is one badass gypsy punk frontman.
~ Chris Senn – August 9th Show
Something amazing happened, I finally got to see the fantastic Gogol Bordello play a venue that wasn’t the huge Showbox SoDo. Seeing them at the Neptune was a treat. The opening act, Orkestar Zirkonium (I went to the friday show) was perfect. With a style similar to Devotchka, they made me wish there was more open space so everyone could spin around dancing with each other. This was my third time seeing Gogol Bordello, as I mentioned before, the first time in a smaller venue though, which is were I hope they keep playing. Seeing a band of their energy level play in such a small space is electrifying. Singer Eugene Hutz and backup singers had so much energy it was intense and contagious. The bounced around the stage and throwing their arms in the air. There was not a moment that passed where the audience wasn’t singing and dancing along. It was an incredible night.
~ Monica Martinez – August 9th Show