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Gypsy rockers blend punk and Roma
by Tony Contini
Mar 12, 2008 | 1305 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A shirtless Ukrainian named Eugene Hütz and seven other mysterious beings will take the stage at the Grand Sierra Resort on Friday in the Grand Theatre.

Hütz is the lead vocalist, guitarist, percussionist and front man of Gogol Bordello, currently on a vast tour from San Francisco and Reno to Paris, Rome and Slovakia.

Along with Hütz having roots in the Ukraine, all of the members are immigrants from Eastern European countries. The collaboration of different ethnic backgrounds and an eclectic choice of instruments such as the fiddle and accordion has landed them under the less-than-average label of “gypsy punk “rockers.

The term gypsy punk was first coined by Hütz when asked to describe his band. It is a spawn of Roma music, which is the term for traveling entertainers and musicians from Europe and the Middle East, and the band’s addition of punk-rock overtones.

The Grand Theater is big enough to provide all of the members of the band with plenty of breathing room. Enough room for Hütz to beat on his lone snare or over-turned bucket and Yuri Lemeshev to fully outstretch and wail on his accordion. The band’s attire is a mixture of stripes, patches, frills, sparkles, ripped jeans and an occasional military hat.

The eight-piece band of punk immigrants living in New York was formed and released their first album, “Voi-La Intruder” in 1999. They currently have four full length studio albums and one seven-song EP, “East Infection” released in 2005.

Gogol Bordello was first signed on to Rubric Records but the band became visible once they made the switch to SideOneDummy Records and released the hit single “Start Wearing Purple.” Gogol Bordello has been touring since its latest July 2007 release, 14 tracked juggernaut of an album, “Super Taranta!”

The band has remained relatively constant since its startup with the only changes being some minor line-up switches and the addition of different instruments like the saxophone on certain CDs.

Another change has been the band’s popularity. The once cult following has morphed into a vast acceptance of its presence in the music scene. Gogol Bordello has gained respect by becoming favorites at many music festivals such as the massive three-day event, Coachella in Indio, Calif. and the classic punk breeding ground The Warped Tour.

Tickets start at $22.50, which is a steal for a great band at a great venue. If this will be the first time seeing Gogol Bordello get ready for a wild ride. When Hütz and his band of gypsies hits the stage, two-stepping punk excitement will follow in their wake.
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