After emigrating from political turmoil in Ukraine, Eugene Hutz moved to New York City and eventually started Gogol Bordello in 1999. They have toured constantly and proved why they are such a spectacle. The mishmash gypsy punk band included an accordion, violin, auxiliary percussionist, and marching drum, while also bringing members from the opening band, Lucky Strike, demonstrated how inviting and at home they feel on stage.
Touring behind their seventh album, Seekers and Finders, they had no problem seeking energy within themselves and giving it back to the crowd.
Auxiliary percussionist, Pedro Erazo, would passionately come up to the front to take some of the singing duties away from Eugene. Not that he needed the break – Eugene was constantly running around holding a wine bottle that saw more of the floor than his mouth, and, at one point, placed the marching drum out in the crowd to surf on it.
The crowd had the same energy, constantly moshing and some even tried crowd-surfing themselves.
Regina Spektor turned the focus on her when she made a guest appearance and sang on her track, “Seekers and Finders”.
Eugene also knew how to silence the crowd. A true Renaissance man, he carried an enormous poetry book out and began reading excerpts from William James. He brought the crowd back up as the bands tempo swelled, ripping pages from the book and throwing them into the crowd.
Gogol played their favorites, “Wonderlust King”, and “Start Wearing Purple”, which had everyone bouncing off the walls.
That energy didn’t stop at the Fonda either. Outside waiting for my ride home, I heard a man step in puke. After talking about it with my friend he decided to come over and playfully mess with my hair as retribution for not letting him know of his misstep. It seems Gogol’s energy lit a fire in everyone. Can’t wait to see Gogol again and not hear someone step in puke, although the sound was unusually crunchy and satisfying.
Photos by Tim Aarons