Have you ever gone to a concert where the guys onstage performed as if they were bored at their desk job? Gogol Bordello's lead singer, Eugene Hutz, has noticed it too.
“They are boredom and they are behind their desk,” he told me over the phone recently in his thick Ukrainian accent. “We live in a technologenic time. You thought 'The Matrix' was some sort of, so far away science fiction -- it’s reality.”
Gogol Bordello are the antithesis to all that: They perform as if they had just quit their 9-to-5 jobs and their hair was on fire.
For the unfamiliar, the group is a gypsy-punk, world music, chanting folk-rock band -- to put it simply. The nine members hail from the world over (from Ethiopia to Belarus). They utilize the traditional instruments of drums, bass, and guitar, but this New York-based band doesn’t stop there. Live, you will hear/see an array of percussion, violin, accordion and dancing -- lots of dancing.
Hutz creates music that makes you want to move vigorously. It evokes the similar urge of Irish drinking music, but it is extremely quirky and original. The 44-year-old Ukrainian reminisced about his childhood when he began writing music at the age of 12.
“Back then, I was immersed into anything that was punk and buck wild. Everything from Devo and the Stooges. Suicidal [Tendencies] was one of my all-time favorites, and still is.
“I would skip school, and just play every day. Three hours of drums, three hours of guitar, three hours of bass,” he continued, “which helped me enormously in the future to be able to arrange instruments and create our own style of music.”
Gogol Bordello may have their own sound, but that's only the half the battle. Their live performance is what elevates them from really good to really great. Hutz’s influences mirror that, but he is always looking to broaden his musical pallet. As he'd put it, sometimes you just have to step out of "The Matrix."
“If you’re looking for a new sound, you have to get out there into the world, man.”
Gogol Bordello headline the Observatory North Park on Nov. 19. Doors are at 7 p.m. and the show is currently sold out.
Musician, people-pleaser, lover, fighter and writer Matthew Craig Burke has been spewing musical words of wisdom since never. He lives off of peanut butter sandwiches, beer and Beck Hansen. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.