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Last catch up concert post! Next: fic year in review. I am so behind, oh man. I owe a bunch of people replies/emails too.

In November I got to see Gogol Bordello! It was simultaneously the most fun and most annoying concert I've ever been to.


I've been missing out on Gogol Bordello for a while - they keep playing in cities right after I leave them, or on the one weekend when I'm out of town. I was literally complaining about this to a friend the day before their shows were announced in Minneapolis, so OF COURSE I immediately bought tickets. You won't get away from me this time, Gogol Bordello! And two of my friends were able to go, so it was a proper group concert experience. But here is the thing: Gogol Bordello is a rowdy band, with a rowdy crowd; First Ave has a big open floorplan that means the moshers aren't contained at all; the security who usually helps contain the moshers by marking out a 'calm crowd' line were totally absent; I got elbowed in the back of the head about four times. So it was amazing! Gogol Bordello are great performers, and I am wearing the concert shirt I bought right now. But also these memories are tinged with pain.

And on a less humorous note, this was the night of the Paris Attacks. I was checking facebook to see who was okay and who still hadn't checked in - I'd had friends freaking out in the evening beforehand. It was weird trying to let that go for the concert, and Eugene Hütz did say something about it - but at the same time, we didn't know anything yet, so he was caught trying to say something about solidarity with a France that has a lot of problems dealing with Romani and trying to say something about Eagles of Death Metal, who they've played with, and trying to say something about being kind to each other and not letting Islamophobia take over. It wasn't very coherent, but how do you fit all of that into a one minute song break?

Anyway. Anyway. Mostly I just got into the music.

The opener was Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas, who I immediately fell in love with. I've since bought a bunch of their albums and I actually liked them in concert a little more - I don't know if it was because they were opening for Gogol Bordello or what, but it was a lot rawer in concert. Jessica was belting things out with her eyes wide and her arms flailing, and her voice was soooo clear and crisp and then guttural and destroyed, it was amazing. They're a very fun rockabilly/pop/soul band and I def recommend checking out Dead Brains or Don't You Take My Man to Idaho. They did both of them on stage and omgggggg.

Jessica Hernandez singing


Jessica Hernandez singing

And then it was time for Gogol Bordello! I immediately had to retreat about thirty feet, haha. I like being close to the stage but I am Not A Mosher, I have a weird anticipatory fear of having my nose broken and also I can't keep track of the music and the crowd at the same time (and I can't stop trying). Unfortunately I never quite got to the level of calm I wanted, but I managed to find a pretty good place while still being close-ish to the stage. My two (dude) friends and I had each others' backs...until one of them got poked into the kidneys for being 'too tall' and retreated to the stairs. Okay, this was kind of a mess. Listen, this concert is the first time I've seen someone lighting a bong in a venue. I've seen plenty of people smoking or doing the e-cig thing (and pretty much every rock concert is a sea of weed smoke out here), but how did you even get that bong through the door? I had to turn out my pockets!

The music was good! The music was great. Eugene Hütz is a coathanger hung with alcohol and lyrics in fifteen languages and screaming. It was the anniversary tour of Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, so first they played the entire album, in order. The first song has a repeated scream in it, and two women in the band had the job of screaming like they were murdering someone. They played Start Wearing Purple, which is an anthem for one of my fencing teams. They played Not a Crime, and the chorus 'illegalize me' has a different tone when it's Pedro Erazo shouting it at the audience. It was actually super interesting, seeing them play the whole album when only three of them were in the band when they actually made the album. But that's the thing - they played the whole album! There's so much there! They were so loud and fun and great! And then they went off stage and the audience screamed encore, so Eugene brought the band back and said:

"Don't worry, it's going to happen. It's all going to happen."

And they proceeded to play Pala Tute, and Companjera, and Alcohol, and Wanderlust King, and American Wedding until Pasha the accordion guy took off his accordion and the drummer threw his drumsticks into the audience so he couldn't play anymore and they could all go home.

Good job, Gogol Bordello. Really glad I got to see you, even with the minor bruising and the unfortunate timing. Really looking forward to seeing you again.

Gogol Bordello

(BTW Pasha the accordion guy is the smuggest looking man alive. He has no expressions besides smug, it was fascinating.)

a very bright and blurry Gogol Bordello


Eugene playing guitar shirtless


first bow to the crowd before the encore


Eugene wearing the accordion while everyone stands around like 'are we done yet'


actual final bow

And! Because this was a big concert, there are also some great professional photos: Chad Rieder and Markus Akre.


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