Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, June 10, 2008

 

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Although the southern end of campus on High Street has been transforming itself into a urban-chic part of Columbus with a smoothie bar, upscale sports bars and night spots, it was renovated for at least a few hours to a gypsy part of town as Gogol Bordello and their boisterous leader Eugene Hutz.

Opening the show was Dusty Rhodes and The River Band, which started off sounding more of a Jack Black and Tenacious D-style band but quickly worked over the crowd as soon as singer Dustin Apodaca brought out the accordion. For the remaining 45 minutes, the River Band got the crowd warmed up and ready for the main event.

 

Once Hutz came out on stage in his decadent purple and beat-up guitar stating, “Drum Machines Have No Soul,” the half-filled Newport danced, jumped and partied for 90 minutes straight. With Columbus being the opening night of the entire tour, it was a toss-up how the show would go, but the enthusiasm and energy of the band was only overshadowed by the musical tightness. The contrast was beautiful to see as the music was as near-perfect as a live show could be while allowing all involved to free-spirit their way through the long jams and short breaks between songs.

 

The only disappointment came as the crowd us unusually small, but the concert the night before with The Raconteurs may have kept many fans at home with a broke wallet sand big regrets. Gogol Bordello was out supporting their latest release, Super Taranta! and whether the songs came from that record or from the past catalogue, nearly the entire audience sang along word for word while moving, shaking and gyrating every part of their bodies.

 

The live performance would have left even the most fit exhausted, exhilarated and inebriated with soul, funk, punk and culture, but the band only seemed to get stronger, even as the encore went on for 25 minutes. The end of the routine was more acrobatic and lively than the first few songs, which is a testament to the dedication the band puts into preparing for the tour.

 

Gogol Bordello was quite possibly the show of the year, and we have yet to make it to July. Any band coming through town would be hard pressed to do as much musically and theatrically as Gogol with no pyrotechnics, fancy light shows or strobe lights flaring through smoke machines. Gogol Bordello plays live as honestly as it writes it music, and it seemed no one leaving the show would ever say the band didn’t give enough to its fans. And that is what a live show should always be.

Sergey Ryabtsev
Eugene Hütz
Eugene Hütz
Yuri Lemeshev
Eugene Hütz
Eugene Hütz