GOGOL BORDELLO Live at the Rocca Malestestiana, Cesena, Italy 28th August 2015
I knew the first from the very wonderful movie Everything Is Illuminated which featured Eugene Hütz ,the band’s extrovert frontman, as a linguistically challenged Ukrainian guide, Alex, in the main character’s “rigid search” for his Jewish roots. The second is simply one of those titles you only have to hear once to remember.
Although I was not au fait with the band’s back catalogue, I figured this would prove no handicap to my enjoyment of the show. If you Google a few concert reviews, the consensus seems to be that this band are ‘awesome’ live.
I expected them to be rowdy, anarchic and loud – all positives in my book. They were all these things but I still came away bored and unimpressed.
Gogol Bordello are generally called Gypsy Punks but I couldn’t help comparing them to the UK’s Oi! bands – the bastard offspring of Punk Rock which gained a thuggish right-wing following during the late 1970s.
T-shirts (€10 each) bearing the slogan ‘This Mustache Kills Fascists’ suggest that Hütz and his cohorts are more politically correct but their dependence on rudimentary hooks and chanted choruses still align them to what I would call Yob Rock.
Like drunks in charge of hastily assembled choir, their unsophisticated rabble-rousing style is ideal if you’re stoned on pot or booze (as many of the crowd appeared to be) but is a less appealing spectacle when stone cold sober. Rarely have I had the sensation of being so at odds with the other paying customers. I felt like a home supporter who had stumbled into the away fans’ enclosure after my team had just conceded a goal.
The assembled ranks who punched the air so enthusiastically and danced so frenziedly will doubtless pronounce the experience as ‘awesome’; my choice of adjective would be ‘tiresome’.