GOGOL BORDELLO (USA)
Formed in New York in 1998, Gogol Bordello were, for a long time, known only to those who attended that city’s punk clubs or the Downtown art scene – in 2002 they performed as part of the Whitney Museum’s Biennial and at The Tate Modern.
Gogol Bordello released their debut single When the Trickster Comes a Pokin' in 1999 and followed in 2001 with their debut album Voi-La Intruder. A series of EPs and albums of raw punk-metal thrash (decorated with touches of accordion/violin/saxophone and droll Brechtian lyrical flourishes) followed before the band came of age on 2005’s Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike album. Gypsy Punks was produced by musician/producer Steve Albini, whose controversial approach to “noise” has been noted in his productions of Nirvana and Bush.
Gypsy Punks found Gogol Bordello disciplining their wild live energy: raw and fast they may be but at last they sound coherent. The album’s title found the band declaring themselves outsiders a la Eastern Europe’s Roma with such songs as Immigrant Punk and Think Globally Fuck Locally acting as acerbic adolescent anthems. A spectacular cabaret-flavoured live show, vocalist/band leader Eugene Hutz’s deft comic performance in the 2005 film Everything Is Illuminated and Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley’s high rotation of their song Start Wearing Purple all ensured Gogol Bordello achieved considerable UK success.
Hutz, a slim, luxuriantly moustached vocalist who models himself on Iggy Pop, was born in Ukraine and evacuated in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Hutz moved to the United States in 1993 and formed Gogol Bordello with the concept of taking punk thrash and mixing it with the furious energy of East European Gypsy music.
The resulting metallic K.O. has sparked much debate - perhaps the best comparison for Hutz’s creation is cinematic: his over-the-top stage performance and pronouncements recall Kazakhstan’s fictional representative Borat while Gogol Bordello’s live mix of cabaret, chaos, swearing and celebrations resembles Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica’s barmy Balkan epics.
Gogol Bordello's website
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