23 October 2009 (Aggie Theater, Ft. Collins CO)
The Aggie had a full crowd for this show. I've wanted to see Gogol Bordello perform for quite a while now. I was not alone. This was almost as packed as the Michael Franti show.
Apostle of Hustle was an odd choice as an opening act. They couldn't be much more different from Gogol Bordello in temperament, stage presence, or musical style. The vibe was laid back easy rock, with some cool syncopation: think the Police with a more indie rock flavor. Online, they appear to be a three or four piece, but this show was just guitar (Andrew Whiteman) and drums (Dean Stone). Occasionally, Whiteman played some keys, too. Andrew Whiteman has also performed with Canada's Broken Social Scene.
The sound was thin and weak, missing a bass player. Stone did some cool percussion looping that filled out the sound a little bit, but it wasn't enough to compensate. The best song of the set was Eazy Speaks, which had a nice guitar riff and lyrics that contrasted sharply with the pretty groove.
As expected, Gogol Bordello delivered an incredible show. They hit the stage running and kept that pace for the whole night. At times, they'd rush to the front of the stage like they were ready to dive into the crowd or assault the mike. The frantic movement and high energy electrified the crowd. We all knew the songs and sang along. The setlist was mostly split between songs from Gypsy Punks and Super Taranta!
The set started off with Ultimate, with some great interplay between the violin and the accordion. When the song kicked into overdrive, the crowd went wild and danced with abandon. By the time they got to Not a Crime, we were all chanting along. The songs just flowed into one another, with almost no talking.
Frontman Eugene Hütz was in great form, with his Zappa-like appearance and expressive face. Violinist Sergey Ryabtsev looked like a friendly uncle, but played like a demon. The rest of the band also played superbly, taking the familiar songs to a higher level. The set ended with Think Locally, Fuck Globally. We were wrung out but Gogol Bordello came back out for their encore almost immediately. They kicked off with Alcohol and also covered Mala Vida by Mano Negra.
Walking out into the cool night, with my ears ringing, I only hoped it wouldn't be another 3 years before Gogol Bordello comes again. Pair them with some grappa and leave the bottle on the table...
More pictures at my Flickr.