sun 23/06/2024

Gogol Bordello, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - an incendiary performance by Eugene Hütz’ gang | reviews, news & interviews

Gogol Bordello, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - an incendiary performance by Eugene Hütz’ gang

Gogol Bordello, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - an incendiary performance by Eugene Hütz’ gang

Multi-cultural gypsy punks let rip in Birmingham

The rabble rousing Eugene Hütz

Gogol Bordello’s gig in Birmingham this week took place on the evening of Shane MacGowan’s funeral and inevitably turned into something of a celebration of that great poet and songwriter’s life. But then, with the raucous folk music on offer, it was hardly going to be any different.

Support band, Peat and Diesel played an energetic take on “Dirty Old Town”, which received plenty of audience participation from the front of the stage to the back of the hall. While during the final encore, Eugene Hütz gave a fine eulogy for “the greatest songwriter for two generations” before busking through the Popes’ “The Song with No Name” on his acoustic guitar. Even if he did have to admonish a couple of clowns in the strongest terms who wouldn’t stop talking while he played. In between, however, Gogol Bordello put on an incendiary show that would have bands half their age gasping for oxygen masks, or maybe something with a bit more of a kick, after a handful of tunes.

From the moment that the seven, and occasionally nine-piece band took to the stage under the yellow and blue lights of the flag of Hütz’ native Ukraine, things kicked off – both on stage and off. The lively “Sacred Darling” slipped into a thoroughly boisterous “I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again” before Hütz and his comrades were howling through a feral “Not a Crime”. These songs may be almost twenty years old, but they certainly haven’t lost any of their power and sheer exuberance.

“My Companjera” didn’t slow things down one iota and was dedicated to those at the sharp end of the “fucked up invasion of Ukraine”, while the full pelt “Focus Coin” had MC and percussionist Pedro Erazo almost toppling into the front rows of the packed audience. In fact, there were plenty of times when it seemed that the stage wasn’t going to be sufficient to contain the band at all. Not that the crowd just stood back and watched. There was crowd surfing aplenty during “Mishto!” and it was somewhat surprising that the floor didn’t give way with the mass bouncing that was going on. But as Hütz so succinctly put it before breaking into an anthemic “Start Wearing Purple”, “It’s fucking Friday night!”.

The main set finished with a blast of “Pala Tute”, a tune from “the west side – of Ukraine”, which morphed into “Gangsters” by the Specials. But it wasn’t long before Gogol Bordello were back for a dynamic take on Sex Pistols’ “Bodies” and its opening line of “She was a girl from Birmingham…” and finally a spectacular cover of the Angelic Upstarts’ “Solidarity”, which put the original version firmly in the shade.

By the end of the show, Gogol Bordello had once again proved themselves to be one of the most dynamic live propositions around. Even if Eugene Hütz’ could have done with a microphone that didn’t sound like it broadcasting from the bottom of a deep tank of water. And, when he finally left the stage, shirtless and dripping in sweat, the audience look almost as worn out as him and the rest of the band.

Gogol Bordello put on an incendiary show that would have bands half their age gasping for oxygen masks, or maybe something with a bit more of a kick, after a handful of tunes

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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