A band whose members hail from many different countries bring a blend of musical traditions and high-powered energy to its music.
Alternative is one apt tag for Gogol Bordello. The unpredictable act that is also accurately labeled “gypsy punk” is incomparable. The band mixes rock and cabaret and infuses it with humor, unpredictability and some wild costumes.
Vocalist-guitarist Eugene Hutz is a charismatic, clever and playful frontman, who operates like the unhinged Angelo Moore of Fishbone.
The Ukranian-born Hutz and his bandmates could film a United Colors of Benetton ad. Gogol Bordello also includes violinist Sergey Ryabstev and accordionist Yuri Lemeshev (both from Russia), guitarist Oren Kaplan (from Israel) and bassist Tommy Gobena (from Ethiopia). China native Elizabeth Sun handles percussion along with Pedro Erazo, who is from Ecuador. The lone American, drummer Oliver Charles, adds a solid rock backbeat to the Gogol Bordello sound.
“There is a common denominator to what we do,” Hutz tells Atlantic City Weekly. “When we met each other in New York [in 1999], we had a lot of the same issues. We were all frustrated by the state of music and pop culture. Me and Sergey come out of the same gypsy background. We did what we felt. We were inspired. And there we were looking at what was going on in America. It was just so repetitive. Nobody was doing anything new. It was as if America exhausted itself in terms of ideas.”
There was plenty of room for Gogol Bordello, which has developed a world-wide audience by rendering a unique amalgam of sounds and considerable energy. You never know what Gogol Bordello will do during a show.
“It’s good being hard to predict,” Hutz says. “That goes for music or live performance. Why do what everybody else does? I never understood that. We can’t help but do something different since we all have different influences. We’ve always been about sharing what we know. We put all of that information into the band.”
Gogol Bordello, which will perform Friday, Aug. 10, at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, is built upon many different sounds but it all goes back to Eastern Europe for the band. “That’s where it all starts for us,” Hutz says. “It goes back to there. That’s where the soul of Gogol Bordello comes from. Those are the roots. You can add to it but to me that’s where the center of it is and that’s a good thing.”
It’s amazing that Hutz has made it when you consider his background. His family left Kiev in 1986 when he was 13 to escape the fallout from the Chernobyl meltdown.
Taking place June 4, the festival specializes in performers working in folk, blues, alt-country, roots, Celtic and acoustic rock, and benefits Appel Farm’s summer arts camp scholarship program and community arts outreach programs.
May is a month of openings in the southern New Jersey shore area. Flowers open, beaches open, Boardwalk french fry stands open ... it goes on and on. But most of all, visitors and residents shake off the winter blues and open themselves up to a little warm weather fun.
Plus Appel Farm June music festival line-up announced, Redding's OUT mixer on Tuesday, and Iron & Wine's latest disc.
We have pulled out some of the best music we raved about this year in our “Raves & Faves” section, plus, we’ve added a few albums we loved this year, but didn’t have the space or time to rave about. Check the videos at the bottom!
A comprehensive listing of entertainment coming to the Atlantic City casinos, Boardwalk Hall and Bader Field.
The Wrecking Crüe
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall