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Wednesday 20 December 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Gogol Bordello (Live Review By Tom Bladen)

Gogol Bordello, The Great Hall, Cardiff 15.12.23

Know to many for that one song that was played on a lot of rock radio stations, the one about wearing a specific colour. American gypsy folk punk band Gogol Bordello (8), have somewhat of a rabid following.

At times chaotic, at others, almost unhinged, their stage show has taken them from Download to Glastonbury with all the stages in between, a collaboration between musicians of many origins, they straddle multiple genres with a sound that relies heavily on Balkan/Romani traditional music, accordion and fiddle mainly along with New York flavoured punk.

It's a shame that the venue doesn't really work for so many key instruments as sometimes things could get washed out but their sound tech team did the best job they could at on the fly mixing for the key fiddle/accordion/acoustic/electric guitar parts etc.

They're a band who crossover genre wise, you'll see hippies, trendies, rockers and even your normal suit wearing types at their gigs, but they don't ever change the show because of it. Gogol Bordello bring their wild, musical caravan to every stage at full force.

Punk in the truest sense of the word, the show was wild from start to finish, the nine members of the band all in a frenzy from the first moments like a multi coloured Slipknot sans the masks, it was a mishmash of sounds that kept the whole crowd dancing and jumping.

Imbued with boundless energy, Eugene Hütz leads from the front charging around the stage, the photo pit and everywhere else, destroying his mic stand, showering the front row in beer and proudly waving a Ukrainian flag.

His gruff vocal sings their anthemic songs of political defiance, cultural acceptance and protest. Even if the lyrical power doesn't sink on while you're swimming in alcohol and sweat down the front then the music will entice you into just letting go.

I went in knowing nothing but came away smiling at the sheets ridiculousness and energy. Alive experience that flits between wonder and chaos Gogol Bordello is something you have to experience at least once.

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