Gogol Bordello and Debauche at The Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on 3/19/16

The Boulder Theater audience on Saturday was extremely eclectic.  They were dressed in kilts, purple overcoats, and jeanie pants amongst the regular Boulderites with cucasian dreadlocks, man-buns, and poor hygiene.  It was a perfect reflection of the music of the night… multi-cultural.

Gogol Bordello is a Gypsy Punk Band from New York City.  They combine East European music with a punk attitude.  Their name comes from the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol and the Italian word for brothel.  Lead by Ukrainian born singer Eugene Hutz who looks like a …. gypsy.  If you want to cast somebody in a movie as a gypsy, he is that mustached man.   The rest of the band consists of a violin player who looks like Mic Fleetwood, a drummer, a percussionist who has a hand painted over his mouth, an accordion player wearing combat boots, a guitar player, a bass player, and two back-up dancer/singers with matching bedazzled boxing shorts.  The tour is a celebration of their Ten Year Anniversary as a band.

Gogol Bordello

The show began with their Gypsy Punks Banner dropping and the band frantically running on to the stage.  The fast paced beat and rapid violin riffs had the crowd singing “Hey” between choruses without even knowing it.  The back-up dancers/singers took turns screaming into the microphone setting the mosh pit off instantly.  I was relatively safe away from the smelly sweaty moshers.  But people who don’t like to bath and a mosh pit creates a gas like cloud of stink that is hard to escape.

Gypsy Screams

Hutz was masterful in controlling the crowd.  Just when things were getting too out of control, he would sing a slow song.  My favorite was the Alcohol love song.  This made the moshing stop and the security guards throw water to the dehydrated pit.  The is a great idea except for the stream of water flows through the Stink Cloud and hits the bystanders like me.  We were soaked by the second hand mist that smelled like a hippie swamp.  But it was worth it.

Eugene Hutz leading a sing-a-long

American Wedding was the last song the band played.  It’s about how American Weddings focus on cake and ceremony and Gypsy Weddings focus on vodka.  It has an infectious “Ta-tar-ranta-ta-ta” sing-a-long ending with “I understand the cultures/Of a different kind/But here word celebration/Just doesn’t come to mind.”  But the celebration of ten years of Gypsy Punk Music was certainly happening tonight.


New Orleans based Debauche was the perfect opening band for the evening.  Their name means a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity.  The band describes their sounds as Russian Mafia Music.  Ukrainian born Yegor Romantsov deep gravely voice transported me to another world.  Long bearded upright bass player Scott Barada wearing a Red Adidas tracksuit almost upstaged Belly Dancer, Kerry Lynn, shaking her …. tambourine to the accelerating beat.

The night ended with Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer from The Clash singing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song on the house speakers.  It was fitting to hear iconic country and punk singers performing maybe the best Reggie Song ever written.  Proving the power of combing genres and cultures can result in great art.

See you at the next show.  I’ll be the one far away from the Stink Cloud.

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