It has been a few years since I have seen them live, and I had honestly forgotten just how intense and wonderful they are at a live show.
The night started off with New-York-native brass band Lucky Chops. Their energy was contagious and it quickly riled the audience into a frenzy. Josh Holcomb, on trombone, was the band leader and rallied his troops to a fast-paced, intense live show that kept your eyes glued towards the stage. I am not usually one for brass bands but this was a whole different beast. It felt like a brass band fueled by punk blood, definitely worth checking out.
After the opening set, the energy held in the crowd while Gogol Bordello stormed on to the stage.
The six-piece didn’t waste a moment, diving into their set immediately.
Each of the members brought their own style. Lead singer Eugene Hütz was a ball of chain lightning, darting back and forth across that platform with aggression and a grin. Violinist Sergey Ryabtsev was distinguished and stood proudly before the room. Bassist Thomas Gobena was the calm cool, standing steadfast with a look of contentment on his face. Percussionist Pedro Erazo jumped between percussing and belting how powerful vocals while being highly animated. Guitarist Boris Pelekh was jovial and playful and he carried a smile throughout the night. Last, but definitely not least, drummer Alfredo Ortiz rained down bombs on his kit, the backbone of each song, completely engulfed in his creation. As individuals, they were awesome but as a group, they were a visually and auditory smorgasbord that nestled into solid, cohesive unit. Just wow!
As the night rolled on, they kept up the same pace.
The entire group never let up. They kept that gas pedal buried. They were relentless.
Sometimes when you are at the Commodore Ballroom, you can feel the floor flexing as the people on the dance floor jump up and down. Well, at this show the jumping never stopped and the entire mob was jumping as one cohesive unit. I stood off to the side and a few times that flexing made me feel, just for a few moments, like I was going to fall down. I mean, I know it was just a mental illusion but that kind of summarized the whole night. This band is larger than life and their commitment and passion will blow your mind.
Those lucky enough were able to catch the band the following night over at the Vogue Theatre. They played a two-night stint in Vancouver, night one was at the Commodore Ballroom and night two was across the street at the Vogue Theatre.
I will just have to make due with having seen the first night, at the smaller venue.
The band had custom posters for both nights, a beautiful diptych of two newsies blindly pointing guns at one another by artist Alex Zablotsky, check it out.