Last Night: Gogol Bordello At House Of Blues

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Photos by Groovehouse
Gogol Bordello
House of Blues
April 12, 2011

Check out our pics of the Gypsy punks.

Maybe a Jolly Roger would have helped.

Tuesday night at House of Blues, Gogol Bordello had the captain's wheel, center stage. They had the ocean, in the form of the seething pit of humanity down front. The set had exotic ports of call to spare - Spain, the Middle East and especially the Caribbean.

But they were missing something important, something odd given the group's catholic backgrounds, outsider ideology and "gypsy punk" paintbrush Eugene Hutz and his motley crew apply so enthusiastically to their music. But that's what made its absence so conspicuous.

The missing element? Variety.

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Don't get Aftermath wrong; Gogol Bordello put on a good show. The entire eight-piece group barely stopped moving for a second, and Hutz and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev, especially, seemed determined to keep stoking the crowd's ravenous energy until it killed them - which, if they kept it up much longer than the 90 minutes and change Gogol was onstage (with a couple of breathers), it may well have.

But until "Last One Goes the Hope," the seventh song of the set, Tuesday's show felt like the same thing over and over again. A flamenco guitar flourish here, a dub bass line screwing the whole thing to the floor there, some incendiary Spanish toasting from MC Pedro Erazo on opener "Tribal Connection," but you could set your watch by the rest: Folk melodies from Ryabtsev's thrusting violin, Hutz doing his manic call-and-response thing with the crowd and the rhythm section supplying the punk part of the equation.

Repeat. And repeat again. And again. With so much energy in the room, it was hard to believe anyone could feel bored, but after about the fourth or fifth time, we were. Or at least like, "What else you guys got?"

This formula obviously works for Gogol, but it's still a formula. As Aftermath told a friend, they feel like a one-trick pony, although it is a pretty good trick. Even now it feels a little churlish to criticize Gogol for it, like finding fault with a wedding band for having too much fun onstage. Unfortunately, Aftermath wasn't there to dance.

Location Info

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House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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9 comments
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CB
CB

Eugene, Sergey, and the accordian player came out after 'Dirty Old Town' and finished the set with 'Alcohol.'

sarah
sarah

that accordion player has a name, dang it! yummy yummy yuri lemeshev :)

Pepechola
Pepechola

I hate it when music critics feel like they need to unnecessarily critizice a perfectly great show becasue they have an editorial requirement to write a few paragraphs and need to justify their existence. How about, it was nice show. fun, energetic, and the band gave it their all wich is not very common with indi bands bands these days. I guess that is too easy and any schmuck could have figured it out. Stop overanalizing (save it for your shrink) and have a little fun.

Scott Fchs
Scott Fchs

This setlist is incomplete. They played "Alcohol", not once but twice.

sarah
sarah

"Gogol isn't the sort of band you'd think would benefit from longer songs..." sure, if you're going solely off their last 2 or 3 albums. back in the day those mother fuckers got down so hard... but i think it has to do with their sets- they hardly play old stuff &they don't really jam on stage the way they used to. last night was intense, but almost not intense enough to adequately fuel the frenzy without feeling fatigued.

AuntiMatter
AuntiMatter

Heh...I'm older than all of you, and while I liked the reggae parts of the show, I was pogoing and yelling/singing with everyone else during the rest of the show. I see the opposite of what Chris sees in the band. I see Gogol Bordello as a band that seems one-note on disc, but explodes on stage. The way they get the crowd involved seems like shtick, but it works. The flow and ebb of intensity, as when they traveled from "Not a Crime" toward "My Companajera" and then back toward "Imigrandia," was perfect, and I loved their ending the whole thing with a Pogues cover, leaving the crowd in a good mood, but not incredibly worked up. This was my first time seeing Gogol Bordello. I was expecting a fun show with a diverse crowd. Totally not disappointed.

Guest
Guest

Love the spirit of the music, and the atmosphere. But their pre-show bit... I'm all for unity, anti-oppression, and even anti-establishment, but when you get up on stage and start repeating "Fight the White" (not once in passing, but repeated in mantra) in addition to all that... it soured my mood. Someone preaching "Fight the Black" or "Fight the Brown" would have been boo'd off stage. Am I to imply that it's fine for art to be racist as long as white is the color the hate is directed towards?

Eugene is likable, very likable.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Fight the white? I wonder if the irony was lost on the mostly white crowd.

NP
NP

I must agree with you on "Sure sign I am getting old: I liked the reggae parts of the show more than the punk. Yikes." haha !! -this was my first show to see them live my girlfriend (who is seen in the first picture of this page) introduced me to them shortly before is saw " wristcutters a love story" where i fell in love with there music .... as they are a lively band with a great stage presents it did sound like a broken record for a bit but became amazing towards the end to bad by this time i was annoyed with the adolescent teeners around me... also its pretty bad when you are front and center stage were all the action is and wish that you were up in the balcony drinking beer enjoying the show with out worry about some doucher making you spill it haha .... (maybe just another sign of getting old anyway thanks for the picture haha !!

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