With a raucous on-stage presence, shouty, gravelly voices and an incessant, raw tapestry of drums, violin, accordion and guitar, gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello aren’t exactly shy and retiring. Maybe that’s because – with nine band members – they all have to shout to make themselves heard.
Their multi-cultural make-up might have something to do with it too. Although notionally based in the US, members of Gogol Bordello hail from all over the place. Try Russia, Derby, Israel, Kiev and Ecuador for starters. They’re certainly not your usual “met at university, played the pub circuit, got signed” band.
This diversity is reflected in the group’s sound, which is best imagined as a sort of melting pot for musical styles. Folk-rock elements are obvious, but individual songs switch pace and style frequently, segueing from rock guitars to quick-tempo polka and back again before you’ve quite worked out what’s going on. And good luck staying abreast of the lyrics. It’s not too hard to work out they’re part biting social commentary and part nonsense – it’s just sometimes tricky working out which is which.
We’re clear about one thing though. You won’t get bored if you mosey on down to the Hammersmith Apollo on 7 May to experience this nine-piece for yourself.
We confidently predict charisma by the bucketload, organised chaos up on stage and plenty of enthusiasm from the crowd as the band hit their stride. If your feet don’t start tapping when this lot go full throttle then you’d better see a doctor. Super Taranta!*
(*This enthusiastic-sounding phrase is the title of their fourth album. Anyone know what it means?)