Gogol Bordello Almost Brings Down the House

January 3rd, 2012

Gogol Bordello – Terminal 5 – December 30, 2011

It’s lucky that Terminal 5 is still standing. If a Gogol Bordello show weren’t enough to turn the place into a pile of rubble, nothing will. The venue withstood more than an hour of people jumping up and down across three floors. It withstood a ruthless barrage of Gypsy punk on the eve of New Year’s Eve. It even held up against Eugene Hütz and company’s deluge of charisma. And Gogol Bordello bleeds plenty of it. It’s as if this band—hailing from Ukraine, Ecuador, China/Scotland, Russia, Ethiopia, Israel and the U.S. of A—formed as an international supergroup with punk-rock super powers designed to put a captivated rock audience under a hypnotic sing-along spell.

With the audience joining in on the very first lines of the show, “Ai ai ai ai, a-woo hoo hoo” from “Avenue B,” practically the entire show was one giant sing-along. While bandmates Pedro Erazo and Elizabeth Sun dabbled in percussion instruments and tambourines, they spent a majority of their time conducting the sold-out audience like it was another instrument, luring everyone to clap, jump, sing and lose their shit at all the appropriate moments.

Although a mere night away from New Year’s Eve, everyone came ready to party, including Hütz, who sloshed away at a bottle of red wine, swinging it back and forth during choruses and splashing the front row like a drunken Ukrainian sea captain. The show ended with a formidable five-song encore. Hütz invited the audience to an after-party elsewhere and reminded everyone that they would be playing another show at Terminal 5 the following night. The band then proceeded to barrel through one final song, “Sacred Darling.” As hard as you think you may have partied these past few days, I can guarantee this band partied harder. —Dan Rickershauser