Posts Tagged ‘gogol bordello


the power of gogol bordello

I’m sure I’ve written more than I need to about Gogol Bordello on this site. But we just went and saw the independent documentary, Gogol Bordello Non-Stop. (See the trailer…)

And my wife made an otherwise innocuous observation that I think rings very true.

On the recommendation of Developer Jim, I went to my first concert festival event – Lollapolooza in Chicago. While I don’t think I’d want to go to another concert festival like that, something very significant happened that day.

Having received an email from friend Rick telling me “run, don’t walk to see Gogol Bordello,” I walked over to the South stage to catch the band. I’ve chronicled here how absolutely amazing they are live, so I won’t get into that. Plus, what really happened was not that I saw a great show. It was my introduction into the Eugene Hutz philosophy on life.

It crystalized for me what had been a loose philosophy of my own – try everything and be up for anything.

Shortly after that show in August, things really started to take off in my life. My job with NewTunes was slowly and painfully crashing. People around me started to reveal themselves for what they really were. My wife was getting progressively unhappy at work.

I think pre-Gogol Bordello, there might have been more willingness to take it – especially for my wife. But she embraced the lyrics and the band. I saw them again in October, and then we flew to New York and saw them in their natural environment.

When 2009 began, we began to think the unthinkable – moving from Madison and heading back West. And in April, I got a job with RealNetworks, sold our house in one day, gave away a bunch of our belongings and packed our house in two weeks. By mid-May, we were in Seattle.

It’s hard to say what might have been, but had it not been for Gogol Bordello calling attention to the Gypsy, no borders lifestyle, who knows whether or not we would have made the trip.

Obviously there were other factors, but Gogol Bordello will always occupy a very special place for me. And while I love music, few bands or musicians can claim this influence on my life.

If you haven’t already, give them a chance. I hope they can do something special to you, too.


from wal-mart to bonnaroo (with a brief stop at the super bowl)

I just caught the current artist list for the 2009 Bonnaroo, and I couldn’t help but notice that Bruce Springsteen, who originally thought that releasing his album through Wal-Mart was the way to go, has done a 180 and is going to appear at Bonnaroo.

I wonder if this is making any of the normal Bonnaroo fans think that the event has sold-out or gone too commercial? After playing only his hits from the late 70s and early 80s for America’s Baby Boomers (who obviously haven’t heard, and probably don’t care about, his latest album), he’s now going to remake himself in front of Gen Y. I wonder how that’ll go? It’s certainly been done before, but I’m skeptical on this one…

Other observations: It’d be great to go see Mars Volta there. I haven’t written about them, but they are one of my favorite bands that are new to me within the last year or so. Extremely dynamic music with many layers and things going on. It’d be great to see them.

I noticed that, to me, Gogol Bordello is conspicuously absent after taking the place by storm last year. Maybe a late edition?

I’m always skeptical of seeing a band like of Montreal at a festival show like this. My first experience was with Peter Gabriel at the Amnesty shows. He was OK, but if you’ve ever seen him live at his own concert, it was a severe disappointment. I wonder if of Montreal would be the same.

Good to see that David Byrne hasn’t gone the way of cult favorite by continuing to have a meaningful presence at shows like these.

Overall, a pretty solid lineup, I think.


gogol bordello and the case of the worst opening band ever

Holy *uck! As amazing as it was to see Gogol Bordello the first three times I saw them this year, seeing them at the Bowery in New York City in the heart of their own turf was possibly the best concert experience in my 30 years of concert going.

In fact, there were a lot of experiences last night at this show that qualified in a milestone in my 30 years of concert going.

First and foremost, Services, the opening band, was, by far, the worst opening band I’ve ever seen in my…

Services is two guys who were able to pick the worst possible band name in the Internet age. After several searches and many Google pages, I gave up even trying to find a website for them. They both play pre-programmed synthesizers. One works a keyboard while the other presses buttons and smashes a cymbal from time to time, which I thought was all of the instruments he knew how to play until he picked up a guitar for two songs.

They were so horribly bad that everyone, and I mean everyone, around us were all laughing at them. It’s hard to describe, but I think it was the combination of lack of talent contrasted against how much the lead singer thought he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand – which he did not.

They also had the most powerful, pulsating, thumping bass that I’ve ever heard in my… It was so incredible that I looked up at the ceiling with very real concern about what might get jarred loose from the bass and fall on us.

I’ve never seen a crowd so actively involved in disliking the opening band and so happy to see them go.

And then Gogol Bordello took the stage. I’ve described their show on this blog again, so I won’t get into the details except to say that if you’ve never seen them, put it on your list of things to do in 2009. You will be rewarded for your efforts.

The highlights of the 2-hour show were clearly the 20 minute version of “Undestructable,” the gypsy caravan-like movement of the entire band from one area of the stage to the other, the excellent transition from a book reading into “we don’t need no education” into “Start Wearing Purple.”

The crowd was huge and my wife was among those seeing them for the first time. By the end of the show, she was dancing on the table with three other women (a Gogol Bordello show will do that to you).

Like every other show, there’s already some video online, so here’s a taste of the environment at Webster Hall…


how great is my wife, you ask?

Last night, we were talking about the fact that we’ll be in New York over the Christmas holiday, and she said “we should see Gogol Bordello while we’re there.”

Thanks to their MySpace page, I didn’t even know there were going to be in New York, but she had looked at their main site and saw a series of New York shows. So I picked up tickets, and we’ll be going on December 27. If you can make it, you should join us. It’ll be worth the trip.

In case you’ve forgotten why, here’s the opening of the Slim’s show in San Francisco…


my gogol bordello obsession

At risk of losing a few of you, I have to spend one more post on my obsession with Gogol Bordello.

For those who know me, me obsessing over something I’m into is not really a surprise. I tend to immerse myself into things that I really care about. Gogol Bordello is one of those things.

After their appearance at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, I went and saw them again later that night at Slim’s – a nightclub in San Francisco. I was really excited about this because it’s a much smaller venue than the festivals they’d been playing, and I was curious to see how their frantic show was going to translate to a much smaller stage.

Turns out, it was like Dan Patrick used to say – “You can’t stop Gogol Bordello. You can only hope to contain them.”

The small stage and venue only served to make their show that much more urgent and out of control.

Again, I stress to you, if you haven’t seen them live, make it your mission. If you are a fan of live music of any sorts, you absolutely owe it to yourself to make the effort. As my brother, who I don’t think cared for the music all that much said, “well, I have to say it was certainly an event.”

Gogol Bordello is all about celebrating right now. Looking back is a waste of time. They believe the power of music, their music, is stronger than any other means of communication. And I think they’re right. For over one hour, there were people from all over the country who made special efforts to be at that show. People with different backgrounds and beliefs. But for more than an hour, we were completely united by the experience.

Eugene Hutz is as magnetic on stage as Bono, David Bowie or any other star who commands our attention. The only thing that distracts from him is when his two back-up singer/acrobats arrive on stage to highlight him even further. By doing so, you are also drawn to them.

People have thought enough of the Hutz effect that two documentaries have been made about him – The Pied Piper of Hutzovenia and Gogol Bordello Non-Stop. Pied Piper is more about Hutz, as he takes a woman who fell in love with him on a tour of his home country. It’s strange premise and amateur nature make it that much more revealing.

I haven’t seen Gogol Bordello Non-Stop, as it is only now touring film festivals. However, I was sent two trailers for it. From these, you can get some sense of what happens at their shows.

Check these out, and then keep an eye out for when the films come around. It doesn’t look like the band will be in the U.S. the rest of the year, but I’m hoping the film will be.


music festivals – chicago versus san francisco

Yesterday, I attended the last day of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I arrived in time to see Ben Kweller, followed by Elvis Costello and then Gogol Bordello. The show was intimate, in a forested park and the sound was great. But moreso, maybe my years in San Francisco distorted my expectations, but this was what I expected of Lollapalooza.

The smell of pot mixed with the smell of sweat and patchouli. People from 3 to 73 dressed in carnival ware – one outdoing the other. Slender men and women – most of whom could have walked out of any fashion magazine (especially if you consider High Times to be a fashion mag). Fantastic weather, great sound, very communal atmosphere. And hippies as far as the eye could see.

This was more in line with what I expected at Lollapalooza, but none of that was really present there. To me, Lollapalooza seemed more like a midwest college party, with far more heft.

If Hardly Strictly were the typical festival, I’d be more inclined to go, quite frankly. It put on display one of the things I really enjoyed about living here – not to mention that it was entirely free.

So, one more day on the west coast, then back to Madison for the final push before we launch NewTunes. Sorry for the break, but good to be back writing.



today is a very good day… it’s a gogol bordello day

About a week before I left the newspaper last year, one of our sister publications in Utah had asked me to head out there for some consulting. Because I made the plane reservations only a week prior, the ticket from Madison to Utah cost the company $1,200.

When I left the paper, I asked them if they still wanted me to do the consulting. They said they wouldn’t give me any money for it, so I decided not to go.

Shortly after, my travel agent asked me “so, what are you going to do with the $1,200 in flights?” Apparently, I now had one year to use up that amount of money on Northwest Airlines. I checked into giving it back, but it was in my name and non-transferable and non-refundable (both exciting “nons”, I have to admit).

I used about $400 to head to Austin last November for a friend of mine’s wedding. It was my first trip to Austin, and I was rewarded with the world’s best burritos at Freebirds (you should really check it out).

Fast forward to October of this year. I had the rest of my $1,200 to use, and it had to be booked by mid-September. I decided to go to San Francisco to see my family and hang out.

Meanwhile, NewTunes launch is on the horizon, and we’re thinking of ways to kick it off. I see that Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is going on in San Francisco while I’m there, and I start thinking we could probably get one of the bands playing there, in the day, to do a night show at one of the local clubs. After checking out the lineup, Gogol Bordello seems like an obvious choice.

I called their management and it turns out they’d be willing to play the event – for a fee, of course.

But, we hit some of the predictable development delays, and having an event that weekend would be a bit premature. So, I had to call them back and let them know the timing wasn’t going to work out. Oh well, at least I still get to see them at the festival.

Since I’m going to be there from Thursday through Tuesday of that weekend, I decided to check out the lineups at Slim’s and Great American Music Hall – two of my favorite venues there.

Guess what? Someone took my idea, and Gogol Bordello is playing at Slim’s on Sunday night (after their performance at the festival). I just bought two tickets ($30/ticket) and am really excited to see them in a club venue instead of a festival setting. This has now gone from a nicely-timed vacation to a trip I can’t wait for. This one’s going to be great. And if you haven’t had a chance to see them, you should join me…

“Dub the Frequencies of Love” is my current favorite of theirs. You can check it out here…

And here’s another taste of the live experience…

May 2018
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