Gogol Bordello // Live Review

Gogol Bordello

Roundhouse – December 13th

Gogol Bordello are a model for the cult darling – mainstream appeal transition. They’re a band bred for a niche that should be a tiny sliver of the kinds of crowds they are able to draw, but through sheer perseverance, hard work and an ear for a damn fine tune this misfit band of gypsy punks have found themselves at the Roundhouse, heaving with wine-soaked Gogol Bordello fans ready to cut loose.

Mariachi El Bronx need to be seen live for the band to truly make sense. To any fans of The Bronx, Mariachi El Bronx’s hardcore punk day job who are better known for tearing up venues in a hailstorm of raw guitars and unhinged-preacher vocals, seeing the same dudes playing Mariachi music is a novel experience. Matt Caughthran cements himself as one of the most versatile frontmen in rock with his searing tenor while the band glide through their brand of traditional but edgy beat-driven Mariachi. Their set is a celebration, acoustic guitars and brass blasting the festive vibes over the audience. It’s the perfect warm up for what is to come.

Gogol Bordello waste no time. Within moments of taking to the stage the opening strains of ‘We Rise Again’ has the Roundhouse jumping as a unified mass. Marching drums pound, accordions wheeze and Eugene Hutz, shirtless and wild-eyed, is a whirlwind of high-kicking cowboy boots and red wine. The first half consists of the freshest material from 2013’s Pura Vida Conspiracy, ‘Dig Deep Enough’ and ‘The Other Side of the Rainbow’ providing the kind of intoxicating sing-along bounce you would expect from this unique beast of a party band.

After 45 minutes the venue is a sweatbox of crammed bodies and smiling faces. Someone at the barrier has removed their prosthetic leg and is holding it aloft like a trophy. Just as energies should be lulling ‘Start Wearing Purple’ kicks up and all bets are off; bounce or prepare to be bounced on. Chase this tasty gypsy stomp cocktail with the meandering Wonderlust King and a lamenting Alcohol and Gogol Bordello stand in the eye of an unrelenting folk rock riot.