Two Chances to Catch Gogol Bordello Headlining Brooklyn Steel

December 26th, 2017

The more you absorb Gogol Bordello (above, performing “Saboteur Blues” live in studio for Paste Studios), the deeper the experience gets. First or second time out it’s all about the party: Eugene Hütz and his rampaging horde put punk, dub, rock, klezmer, flamenco, Latin, folk, polka and who knows what else in a sticky blender and hit pulse. Then comes intense appreciation of how they can mine so many different styles and make them sound cohesive—and coherent—without turning such a polyglot sound into an unfocused mess. Finally, you appreciate the depth in the lyrics—the marvelous wordplay, the sharp commentary, the bang-on turns of phrase. These aren’t just bat-shit partiers, they’re craftsmen. And they can party. Blow a room to pieces, as a matter of fact. Gogol Bordello’s 10th album, one of their moodiest, Seekers and Finders (stream it below), arrived this past August. It suggests that nearly 20 years in, the band is rounding out that much further, able to mix in more poignant folk strains without sobering up their sound too much. You hear plenty of guitar and slashing violin, but also trumpet, rat-a-tat percussion, accordion and many other sonics. Above all, they sound ever more like a global collective. (Various Bordello members hail from as far as Russia and Ecuador, and the U.S., Ukraine and Ethiopia.) “My idea of the band is more of a creative, collective gang,” Hutz told Bullet Music back in April. “A master of his own jujitsu, his musical aikido, it’s really a lot more like observing a performance of group musical mixed martial arts competition.” You won’t get beat up (maybe), but you will be thrust into the delectable, raw-edged present: Living for now is a constant theme for Gogol Bordello. “Remember times when the colors were brighter/ And streets were filled with rhyme/ It is still that way/ If you ask about it,” the band bellows in “Still That Way,” on the new album. It recalls a Gogol Bordello classic from a decade ago, “Ultimate,” which opened with “There was never any good old days/ They are today, they are tomorrow.” Don’t miss these fun-loving live performers on Thursday and Friday at Brooklyn Steel. Funky brass band Lucky Chops open both shows. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson