North Coast Music Festival 2011, Sunday: Gogol Bordello
Gypsy-punk party-starter Gogol Bordello brought its raucous brand of rock to the Groupon stage Sunday evening. On “Tribal Connections” it sang “No can do this/No can do that/In this place you call your town,” railing against restrictive communities where public shirtlessness is verboten. The New York group, led by Ukrainian-born Eugene Hütz, has a distinctly worldly feel, with members assembled from Ecuador, Russia, China and Ethiopia. The band's on-stage instrumentation was heavy on accordion and violin, accentuating the gypsy and European influences in its globally-ranging tunes.
Hütz, wearing no shirt and skin tight yellow pants, bounded around the stage, while the rest of the 9-piece band matched his energy during the frequent shout along choruses. On more than one occasion, percussionist Pedro Erazo stepped up to deliver spitfire rapping in Spanish. The group performed with enough manic energy and intimacy you wouldn’t be surprised if they invited themselves over to your house and drank all your vodka. The party atmosphere was politically tinged, as the band highlighted the plight of the immigrant (“we believe no human should be illegal”) and spoke of breaking the spell of poverty. The cathartic spectacle wasn’t without its moments of humor though, as Hütz introduced “an old gypsy” song before busting into “Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2” by Pink Floyd.