Words by Audra Tracy | Photo by Dana (distortion) Yavin
Gogol Bordello’s travels have taken them to all sorts of far-reaching locales around the globe – next month alone they’ll tour through Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Italy before rounding out August with a gig at the Reading Festival. But on July 21st, these citizens of the world, these leaders of a ‘neo-optimistic communal movement’ instead trekked down the winding back roads of central New Jersey for a headlining gig at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville.
Philly’s own Man Man opened the show with a performance so delightfully surreal, that, even if you dumped the contents of your grandmother’s medicine cabinet down your throat, you probably still couldn’t match the overwhelming sensations evoked. The manic 45 minute set was a fun-house full of oddities for all the five senses.
After such a wild warm-up act, the headliner was poised to take over around 9:15. Bandleader Eugene Hutz emerged first, stepping to the edge of the stage before strapping an acoustic guitar on his back. “We were here a few years ago”, he said to the crowd, “…does anyone know where we left off?”
With that, the dance floor began to roar as Hutz strummed his way through the opening tune, ‘Illumination’. Soon his band-mates joined him on-stage, and the room’s energy shifted into a full-fledged gypsy punk party, featuring songs from 2013’s Pura Vida Conspiracy, including ‘We Rise Again’, ‘Dig Deep Enough’, and ‘The Other Side of the Rainbow’.
Along the fringes of the stage, clean-cut, curious onlookers could be seen sheepishly marveling at the die-hard, the inked, the mohawked, and the creatively pierced fans expressing themselves on the dance floor. Hell, a young disabled fan was seen crowd-surfing IN his wheelchair at one point in the set.
The diverse audience may have come to the show for different reasons – the band’s lively theatrics, tight musicianship, or even their devilish good looks – but it was Gogol Bordello’s untamed passion for life that ultimately united everyone. Because as Hutz reminded us all on this night, “Surviving is fucking boring”.
We Rise Again
Dig Deep Enough
The Other Side of Rainbow
Last One Goes the Hope
Raise the Knowledge
Start Wearing Purple
Sun Is on My Side
Not a Crime
Lost Innocent World
Think Locally, Fuck Globally
TheWaster.com | NJ