A welcome return for our international correspondent Gigi Mac who had quite a start to 2016…
With our front row position well-established [having waited outside in the bitter cold as a huge line formed behind us, we the early few] after slinking around rhythmically to some catchy samba & forro chunes piping over the speakers, by 9:15ish we were greeted by some fetching young lads from L.A. — ‘Chicano Batman’ the opening band — nattily attired in tuxes, ruffled shirts & bowties [clearly break-away or infused with spandex, considering the stage athleticism]. Their sound? think Prince with less ‘Revolution’ meets trippy, late 70s Mexican surfer. A hint of jazz, but definitely able to seriously ROCK– blisteringly hot & focused bass, charming & flirty front man on keyboard and rhythm guitar with luxurious flowing curls & a killer falsetto — just wished the sound guy could have balanced out his mic better.
But it’s allllll good, we’re still alive… [ha !] and the quiet, underrated & brilliant lead guitarist… sadly, even though the drummer was quite good we didn’t even get to see him do his magic — that keyboard & our lovely grooving frontman dominated the stage, which was fine with us… A good 30-45 minutes or so, then they were off, the serious roadies were back– checking & strumming & banging & flashing & ‘sibilancing’ & flexing & tweaking & hydration placing & smoke machining — an efficient thing of beauty, those boys… More piped-in chunes, getting a bit more giddy every time they played some samba we recognized… and then…. and then…?
Illumination! What a great way to start the set! YES! Eugene et al had finally taken the stage and we were fully in the palm of their collective hands… I was fascinated by the different people we had seen outside waiting to go in — the adorable & seemingly reserved Israeli couple looking like they stepped out of a Burberry catalog in front of us in line earlier (who’d had a very short-lived moment of panic at first since they’d forgotten to get their tickets from will-call and was afraid we’d make them get in the back of the line, which was at that point curved around the block, aww, the poor well-dressed darlings… how cruel would we have been??) now crazed & sweaty & practically levitating during the rhythmic “heys!!” Burberry be damned! One older lady who had never been to a Gogol Bordello show, horrified, with her dangly earrings & crisp Gogol Bordello t-shirt, clearly purchased that evening, as she was caught up in waves of bodies crashing into each other, [as, of course, along with the gypsy element, we can’t forget the PUNK element] and crashing into us, as we held our front positions fast & with purpose — every song better than the one before — Sergey’s violin, Pasha’s accordian, Eugene’s acoustic guitar, wildman Boris on lead guitar, Tommy on bass, Pedrito on percussion & vocals & ‘hype’, both drummers… sorry I forgot their names… shame on me… 😀 [btw, I believe some nice boys helped the lady get to safety eventually… bless her… we chatted with her later — and she remarked how much I looked like Natalie Cole… I do! but that’s beside the point… RIP btw, to my sorta twin]
…and this was just the first night!! Second night I tried ombred blue extensions, with success, and while I was quite pleased, that wasn’t even the highlight of the evening! [she exclaimed with witty sarcasm…]