Gogol Bordello has become something of a yearly pilgrimage for me if they are in town for almost 10 years.First came across them when I made a random purchase in HMV because I liked the cover of “Transcontinental Hustle”. There have been a couple of years when they haven’t visited in that time. They always bring a quirky support and this year it was “Lucky Chops” who I think started out as buskers in New York. A couple of years ago it was “Mariachi El Bronx “who are the alter ego of “The Bronx” who are on the heavy side. Lucky Chops did 45 minutes of cover versions with a brass ensemble and drummer. It was a good warm up and the sound wrinkles of a week before at Brixton had been ironed out. It reminded me in a way of those Top of the Pops compilations in the 1970’s that were not original artists and my mum insisted on buying for me at Xmas.
I wouldn’t seek them out but they were entertaining as a one-off. On this outing I hadn’t really done any research on the Gogol’s latest album, which I listened to subsequently. Their set was sprinkled with tracks from the new album “Seekers and Finders”. It’s a change of style from the older gypsy punk style and a little rockier. You have to ask yourself how good a move this is. Are they trying to broaden appeal or just bored with playing same old songs. Inevitably the old classics received the best audience response. Gogol Bordello could also be seen as bit of a Marmite band. I was talking to another guy who was there with his wife who loved them and was dancing from start to finish and he was only there for her.
I find them quite infectious and its rare that you go to a gig where some 90% of the audience are dancing. And I mean dancing rather than just moshing. It’s that combination of fiddle, accordion and over arching bass playing which for me is the core of the sound and spreads the infection.
I would say they are one of those bands that you really should see once in your life . It’s an event and really uplifting as the audience are usually collectively in good humour . I will definitely go see them again if I can in 2018 and it will be interesting to see how they develop. Hopefully they wont move to far from their identifiable style as I think they will lose their uniqueness.