run, don’t walk, to gogol bordello

That was the headline of a somewhat recent email to me from my friend Rick. I think I’ve actually mentioned this before, but after my Lollapalooza experience this past weekend, it bears repeating.

I was only able to attend Friday, Day One of Lollapalooza in Chicago this year. And on that day, in which I had planned to see (or ended up seeing) Mates of State, CSS, Bloc Party, Rogue Wave, Jeff Tweedy, Cat Power, The Raconteurs, Radiohead, The Yeasayers and a few other bands who’s names I never caught, Gogol Bordello left these other bands behind and forgotten and stole the show (it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could literally have done it, too).

If you ever get a chance to see Gogol Bordello, do not pass it up. It is an experience well beyond their music. This band is there to rip it up and have a blast.

Fronted by Eugene Hutz on acoustic guitar, this band never stops. Every song is high energy and every member of the band is in on the act. The band kicked off the first few songs with a six-man lineup, but just when you thought you’d seen what they were bringing, their two female members came flipping and cartwheeling out from backstage and then the circus was on.

During the hour-long set, the band was in constant motion. By my count, they had five microphone stands on stage, but none of them had assigned seating. In fact, it was almost a musical chairs type arrangement during which, when it came time to sing, every member of the band ran to the nearest mic to belt out whatever song they were playing.

And the songs never stopped. There was not one pause between any of their songs. One just moved seamlessly into the next.

And as great as they were in front of the massive crowd they drew, I can only imagine that their show at the Metro, later that night, would have been even more insane. In fact, I strongly considered blowing off Radiohead to go see Gogol Bordello again. I can’t imagine that band confined to an indoor venue. I’m not even sure I would have felt safe.

I’ve written before about shows that you leave and just want to share with all of your friends… well, this was definitely one of them. The hightlight – by far – of the day, for me. Here’s a video montage of the show. Don’t be fooled by what looks like a lack of people on the ground. There was an open walkway fenced off in the middle of the grounds. The crowd, which was huge and completely into it, is largely off to the sides and unseen in this video.


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