Win Tickets ($80): Gogol Bordello @ Crystal Ballroom | Gypsy-Punk Rock, Featuring Special Guests
We are giving away a pair of tickets to Gogol Bordello @ Crystal Ballroom on August 29. To win, comment on this post why you’d like to attend. Winner will be drawn and emailed August 26.
From our sponsors:
August 29, 2021
7PM Doors, 8PM Show | All Ages
$37.50 ADV, $40 Doors
$55 21+ reserved balcony ADV, $60 21+ reserved balcony Doors
More info: crystalballroompdx.com
1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
All attendees must be fully vaccinated for COVID (proof is required via vaccination card or photo of vaccine card on phone), or show proof of a negative PCR COVID test within 48 hours preceding the show. Proof in all cases must be accompanied by photo ID. Full COVID policy here.
Gogol Bordello has spent over a decade electrifying audiences the world over with its internationally acclaimed gypsy-punk sound. Gogol Bordello never stays in the same place for long. Bandleader Eugene Hütz started to hear the songs of Seekers and Finders as he shuttled back and forth between three continents, and the nine-piece ensemble developed and refined them on the road. From its inception, Gogol Bordello has been a band of immigrants, with members hailing from Ukraine, Ecuador, Russia, and Ethiopia. They tour relentlessly.
Travel is in their blood.
Yet for all the long hours and far-flung adventures that birthed it, Gogol Bordello’s seventh studio full-length advocates loudly for living life in a specific time and place: right now – and in the real world.
“People think you explore the world with the latest phone in your hand,” says Hütz. That’s the antithesis of living for Gogol Bordello. None of these songs sprang forth from an interesting news story or an extended studio improvisation. “My focus is always on staying experiential. Go for first-hand information, transmute it into wisdom, and share it with the people in a communal celebration.”
The party kicks off with an incendiary exchange of violin and accordion licks, bolstered by full- throated ensemble vocals (“Did It All”), and the excitement doesn’t relent until the final fade of “Still That Way.” There are pivotal moments of rippling marimba (“Clearvoyance”) and triumphant trumpet courtesy of Manu Chao collaborator Roy Paci (“Walking on the Burning Coal”). The frenzied punk rocker “Saboteur Blues” flips a middle finger in the face of French philosopher René Descartes, while “Familia Bonfireball” draws on Hütz’s earliest experiences in the Ukraine to illustrate how forming a band provides escape from the demoralizing grind of the industrial revolution and narrowly prescribed destinies.
Time and again, Seekers and Finders exhorts the listener to be present and participate. “Break Into Your Higher Self” accelerates the quest for spiritual enlightenment to lightning speed. On the surface, “Still That Way” might sound like a simple barroom sing-along, or even a lighter-waving arena anthem, but it rails against getting mired in nostalgia. “I’m still very drawn to the idea of being with the times.”
That Seekers and Finders distills lifetimes of experience and emotion into a succinct 38-minute album speaks volumes about Hütz’s aesthetic. “Bowie always said his main area of expertise was processing information, and I can relate to that. My storytelling is all about assembling diverse, disparate things and bringing them into focus.”
For all the immediacy of Gogol Bordello’s music, the process of making a new record doesn’t always happen quickly. Following the 2013 release of Pura Vida Conspiracy, Hütz bounced back and forth between South America and Eastern Europe. “I was basically living in Brazil, and going back to the Ukraine to do all these cultural projects.” But it was only after he resumed living in New York City that something inside him shifted.
“I never felt content with one home base … I needed three,” the singer explains. “They really complemented one another, and I finally felt like I’d found some very solid, tangible ground for myself in the world.” And suddenly, new song ideas began to coalesce more clearly. “All of this material came out of that triangle – it’s almost an encapsulation of that lifestyle – but it only came into focus after I moved back to New York.”
Gogol Bordello formed in New York in 1999, injecting Eastern European musical influences into underground rock to forge their distinctive “gypsy punk” sound. In keeping with the band’s roots, the title track “Seekers and Finders” pairs Hütz with another genre-bending NYC artist who started her career at the turn of the 21st century: Russian-born singer-songwriter – and longtime friend – Regina Spektor. “It’s the duet of the wandering Jew and the roaming gypsy by the campfire, which we represent most perfectly.”
But before recording in New York and Washington D.C., the band had already invested countless hours working up the material. During their extensive tours, Gogol Bordello uses nightly soundchecks as an opportunity to rehearse and develop new material. “Usually, I craft the songs and then the band arrives and makes them better, composed adventurous pieces. This time, however, I welcomed the band’s creativity from the getgo. Many late nights followed as we captured the magic amongst us. It felt like it did when I was making my first recording ever where capturing that luminescence is the most important thing in entire world.”