By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, Florida–March 25, 2019
Gogol Bordello has been on their 20th Anniversary Tour in various cities in North America this month—and made a side trip down to Florida, much to my delight. Anybody that knows me personally, is familiar with my lust for this glorious, multi-cultural, gypsy punk band—all the way back to 2005. Yes, I remember purchasing Gypsy Punks (Underdog World Strikes) and seeing Eugene Hütz and the band in the film Everything Is Illuminated as well as the Madonna directed film Filth and Wisdom. During the years I was a college instructor, my students used to comment when my ringtone Pala Tute chimed. Yes, I love the band.
Rock At Night has been covering Gogol Bordello concerts throughout the world, but the last time I had the pleasure of seeing them was at Tampa’s Gasparilla Festival in 2015. Like many at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, Florida, the night was much anticipated and as it turned out—there’s no party like a GB, party! The crowd, mostly in their 30s and 40s, stood wall-to-wall in the outdoor courtyard, enormous at the outdoor venue, housed wall-to-wall people, many wearing Gogol Bordello t-shirts. The aroma of pizza and ganja was in the air, as many ventured out on a Monday night to party.
The warm-up band for the evening was Nu Folk Rebel Alliance, which consisted of Gogol Bordello band member Pedro “El Criollito” Erazo, and Leo Minimum Tek. The duo played charango, guitar, ukulele, and keyboard-driven rock, which included a tribute to The Clash. The crowd appeared to enjoy the band, which played almost an hour, with many clamoring to the merch booth to buy CDs and t-shirts.
Finally, Gogol Bordello appeared on the stage beginning with the melodic “Through the Roof ‘n’ Underground”, which many may remember from the film Wristcutters: A Love Story. The mood livened when the full band emerged on the stage to play “When the Tricksters Starts A-Poking (Bordello Kind of Guy)” and the ever popular “Immigrant Punk”. This evening, the band featured long-time members Eugene Hütz, bassist Thomas Gobena, percussionist Pedro Erazo, and Sergey Ryabtsev (fiddle) as well as Alfredo Ortiz (drums) and Ashely Tobias (backing vocals, dance). Sadly, the accordion player, whom I enjoyed in previous years, was missing.
The evening turned into a raucous dance party as the crowd moshed, danced, grooved, and sang along with “Saboteur Blues” and my favorites “My Companjera” and “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher)”. With the band members dancing, trading places, and frolicking, Hütz reached out to the audience, wine bottle swinging, and sweaty hair flying. The stage was dark with flashing red and green lights, and an occasional white spotlight, as the show appeared to be a cross between a world beat disco and a carnival circus. Pure visual and aural joy!
Of course, “Start Wearing Purple” was a crowd-pleaser, as the GB Party continued to ring on, with much non-stop energy and fanfare. This was no ordinary Monday night, folks, and what a night it was! Gogol Bordello left the city of St. Petersburg (USA, folks, not Russia, of course) feeling electric, tingly, and plainly satisfied. There’s no stopping Gogol Bordello’s Transcontinental Hustle train as this party band will surely continue another 20 years! Try to catch the show in a town near you!
3/14 Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
3/15 Portland, ME – State Theatre
3/16 Providence, RI – The Strand Theatre
3/17 Philadelphia, PA – Franklin Music Hall
3/19 New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
3/20 Westbury, NY – The Space at Westbury
3/22 Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
3/23 Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte
3/24 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade – Heaven Stage
3/25 St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live
3/27 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
3/28 Orlando, FL – Beacham Theatre
3/29 Jacksonville, FL – Mavericks at the Landing
3/30 Birmingham, AL – Iron City
3/31 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works