Gogol Bordello LIVE @ The O2 Academy, Liverpool 09.12.14

The O2 is filled to the brim with giddy and tattered gypsy-punk fans, all awaiting the arrival of loveable nomads Gogol Bordello.  The band amble on stage to the opening notes of ‘We Rise Again’, the first track from 2014’s ‘Pura Vida Conspiracy’.

The whole pick n’ mix collective appear minus the charismatic front man Eugene Hütz, who bounds on stage at the first chug of the electric guitar in his typically gaudy fashion, receiving thunderous applause. The new tune is received well, but Gogol have no hesitation in moving right to crowd pleaser ‘Not A Crime’.  This track involves essentially nought but shouting repetition and a cyclical Balkan drop, and illustrates exactly what the band represent; no nonsense hedonism that functions at its best in sweaty bedlam. They require no frills or nuance as they work with a sense of screaming, leaping, rum-necking abandon and joie de vivre.

From this, the gypsy ensemble have the audience in the palm of their hand and move through hits such as ‘Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher)’ and the famous classic ‘Start Wearing Purple’, the area just beneath the stage consistently a mass of moving bodies, sweat and spilled beer as the fiddle and accordion work their magic.

Highlights among the pandemonium include the beautiful Elizabeth Sun standing atop the monitors and smashing two cymbals together to goad the crowd during ‘Dig Deep Enough’ and the quiet moment of reflection in Hütz’s eyes as he stands alone, strumming the intro to ‘Alcohol’.

Despite losing and gaining a large array of members since their formation in 1999, the Lower East Side band of immigrants and travellers carry themselves exceptionally well as a cohesive unit that express a genuinely love for doing what they do. They live up to their reputation of delivering a phenomenal live show, combing traditional Latin & Eastern European elements with real punk spirit. Go and watch this band.