June 11, 2011
As I waited for Omar Souleyman to finish up his set and Gogol Bordello to take the stage, I watched the crowd begin to feel the strangeness of the Bonnaroo night. Over my right shoulder a random man ran in a circle for about a half hour, while on the left side some girl hunched over in the sand throwing up…just another wild night at one of the world’s largest and most acclaimed music festivals. Gypsy punk was about to be unleashed on the hard-partying masses in Manchester, Tennessee.
Much of Gogol Bordello‘s sound is inspired by Gypsy music that incorporates an accordion and violins along with punk and dub. At 2 a.m., Gogol Bordello finally took the stage at The Other Tent, launching into an intense four-hour set. The opening song “Tribal” raged through the speakers down to the highly appreciative crowd.
After the first song, drummer/performer Elizabeth Sun walked on stage, playing the part of hype man, getting the crowd even more amped. There’s something very fascinating about this band that allows almost anyone, regardless of musical preference, to relate to their music. During the press conference earlier in the day, front man Eugene Hutz mentioned that even though you may not understand some other types of music, your subconscious can still have an emotional connection with a song, allowing you to feel the music.
There’s something very fascinating about this band that allows almost anyone, regardless of musical preference, to relate to their music.
Following some fancy legwork by Hutz, I made my way back into the crowd to be greeted by an enormous amount of bodies and a rapid dynamic energy. I scrambled over to some garbage cans to stand, looking for a better view of the show. As others climbed up with me and we all started into a shared frenzy of dancing and sharing stories about the past night of Bonnaroo. Two girls next to me from Jacksonville, FL claimed to be looking forward to Gogol‘s performance the most of any during the star-studded music weekend.
On this particular Saturday night, Gogol Bordello used every ounce of sweat and emotion they had to put on one hell of a powerful show. The set was composed of songs including “Break the Spell,” “Not a Crime” and one of their more popular songs, “Start Wearing Purple.” As soon as the chords for “Purple” were struck, the masses screamed madly and Hutz sprayed the crowd with wine.
Gogol’s set was brilliant, bringing up issues that usually aren’t addressed during shows and feeding the crowd’s desire to sweat, jump and feel the transcendent music. You couldn’t ask for anything more.
- Not a Crime
- Wonderlust King
- Last one goes the hope
- TC Hustle
- Break the spell
- American Wedding
- Tenn Lullaby
- Think Locally
Review and Photos by Stan Kruslicky
Check out Stan’s coverage of Bonnaroo Music Festival here.