|Gogol Bordello/Eureka Machines - Bristol, O2 Academy - 13th March 2011|
|Written by Nev Brooks|
|Wednesday, 30 March 2011 05:00|
Here we go again, trudging across the bridge to one of my favoured venues, now armed with the Johnny H directions in how to work my way through Bristol and actually arrive at the gig on time!! And do you know it worked, checking out the merchandise and finding a perfect spot before the support band were even in sight of the stage, and all this after a swift half in the long loved Hatchet prior to going in.
Anyway, on to the gig; first up are Eureka Machines, a bunch of brash Northerners, full-on Hives/Franz Ferdinand devotees and, I have to say, a damn fine band, Their biography tells me that the Eureka Machines started out in 2007 when singer Chris Catalyst (occasional guitar/bass wrangler for The Sisters Of Mercy, Mariachi El Bronx, Ginger/The Wildhearts, The Dead Pets and AntiProduct) got bored of waiting for Godot so decided to start a new band. They've toured with bands like Electric Six, The Stranglers and The Wildhearts.
Singer and frontman Chris Catalyst had me and most of the crowd in stitches owing to a major wardrobe malfunction (busted trousers and at one point ended up playing in his boxers). The choreographed stage moves, uniform image of black shirt and trousers/white tie might not suit everyone but it worked for me and the music, let's not forget it, stood up for itself; edgy, powerful with just the right amount of attitude with songs like 'These Are The People Who Live In My House', 'The Story Of My Life', '(I'm) Wasting My Time (Yet Again)' and a show stopping 'Do Or Die'. A partisan crowd got more and more interested as the set went on, definitely a band to check out.
I have to say I discovered Gogol Bordello very recently after being recommended by more than one mate and picked up the last album 'Trans-Continental Hustle' prior to the gig (for all the metal aficionados out there, the one produced by Rick Rubin. Yep, the Rick Rubin!!). How would you describe it? Definitely an experience.
On to the main event then, I have to say I have never in years of attending the O2 seen it so full (quite a few supposed sell-outs included!!) - it was rammed!! No space for any more, I have also over the last few years not witnessed a crowd so up for the music, it was insane from the opening bars of 'Tribal Connection' until the end.
So what is Gogol Bordello? Apart from the main man with the Zapata moustache, we had a guitar player from Israel, a percussionist/vocalist from Ecuador, a Russian accordion player, a very oriental looking female vocalist from Scotland (?) who amongst other things played a drum, a drummer from Bristol, fuck knows where the electric violinist came from, but there was definitely a Gypsy feel to his image, and there was definitely a bit of a rasta vibe around the bass player; there you go almost as many members as Slipknot, but what a mix up of image, nationalities and cultures which was definitely reflected in the crowd, right down to the 6 foot 7 inch Romanian who translated most of the lyrics for Mrs B; hats off to the guy but definitely a bit big to argue with.
The energy thrown up by the band was phenomenal and the way the three vocalists whipped up the frenzy had to be seen to be believed, in fact it so overawed the youngest Uber Rocker Lewis B along with Casey T that I lost them both to the mosh pit by the second track in!!! So there you have it in a nutshell, mosh pits breaking out, crowd surfers flying everywhere and in no way could this ever be classed as a metal gig. And the rest of the crowd? To a man dancing!! I have to say I lost track of the song list, pen went down and I got caught up as much as the rest of the crowd with the energy (dancin' shoes were definitely on!!). What I remember are tracks like 'What A Crime', 'Wonderlust King', 'My Campajera', 'Transcontinental Hustle', 'Break The Spell', 'Immigrant Punk' (stand out song of the night for me), 'Think Locally-Fuck Globally' and 'American Wedding'. There were many more in a set that lasted the best part of two hours including two encores or was it three?. The encore, including some nice acoustic stuff which brought the crowd back down to earth, was immense, but only on a par with the rest of the night. I would recommend seeing this band to everyone, but how would you describe the music? To me punked up Romanian folk songs, to other people very probably experiencing something different, nothing like!! This wasn't a gig, it was a full on experience, go out and witness the carnage but, more to the point, enjoy!!!
Photo kudos to Lucy Rees