Monday, April 11, 2011

Hippies in their Habitat: Gogol Bordello

Friday night I went to see Gogol Bordello at Minglewood. I know a good bit of you are shocked to the very core that I went to watch music being played by a gypsy punk band from the Ukraine, and you should be. It’s not my usual bluegrass, folk, chick rock cup of tea, it’s true.

My friend Chris, wanted to go and was having a hard time finding anyone to go with him.  I said I would go as I also have a tough time finding anyone to go with me to a show (The Deftones, let’s go!). Chris sent me numerous YouTube clips to ready me for the music I was about to listen to. I have the unintentional tendency to not listen to things when people send them to me. I didn’t listen to any of it and I had no clue of what I was about to witness.

A good question I should have asked Chris before agreeing to go would have been “Wait…why do none of your other friends want to go???” But I didn’t.  Hindsight is a real bitch. Gogol Bordello was certainly new music that I would never listen to on my own. It is completely out of my realm of weirdness which is pretty vast. I had never heard of this band nor did I know what “Gypsy Punk Rock” entailed so how was I to know that I wouldn’t like it? So I gave it a shot. You can never experience new, cool shit if you never give anything new a chance.

As I have said on numerous occasions, my opinion means nothing. I’m a 29-year-old with a useless college degree, one marriage under her belt, living with her sister, compulsive crafter, cupcake enthusiast, who writes an occasionally entertaining blog. Please take no advice from me. My opinion is worth less than the dollar (burn). But I will always readily give my opinion if anyone out there wants it (no one should).

So this is my opinion so come, go with me if you’d like. If not, peace out. I will catch you on the flipside:

The Constellations were the opener and, thankfully, they were nothing like Gogol Bordello…

Does anyone remember Hardees*? You can still find them here and there but I have no idea what they serve anymore. They were initially burgers and things of that nature and then they started doing fried chicken and all that shit. They then said that they were trying to do too many different things so they were going to back to burgers so they could focus on that one thing and do that one thing well. The Constellations are the Hardees of opening bands. Just find one thing that you do okay and do that. (hint: don’t pick rapping).

They were a myriad of bad musical genres rolled into one. They were rapping one minute and covering Davie Bowie the next. You can’t be fake rap glam rock, it doesn’t bode well for anyone. And then they threw some faux-grindcore mess in there…It was just terrible is what I am saying.

As far as Gogol Bordello goes…

It was not bad at all. I have heard much, much worse (The Constellations) in my lifetime. It just wasn’t my jam, however it was certainly entertaining and they did put on a hell of a show and a good time was had by all. It was a new experience for me and I am glad that I went. Will I listen to any of their music on my own? No, no I will not. Again, it’s not bad music, it’s just not my style. I now know what Gypsy Punk music is and I know that it’s at least tolerable but not so much for me.
But I am not here to talk about the band or the music. Whenever I go anywhere in public, I can’t help but engage in one of my favorite pastimes: People watching. And there were all kinds of different people to watch at Minglewood on Friday. Geez. Louise.

I have always been a firm believer in “Let your freak flag fly.” I am not here to judge anything that anyone finds entertaining or attractive or whatever. I have piss poor tastes in a lot of things so who I am to say that something is bad? No one, that’s who. If you like it, it’s good to you so have at it, I say. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to point out oddities. I do. I really, really do.

I was perplexed and only slightly worried when, while waiting for the band to start, I saw various ladies (not girls, straight-up ladies) in belly-dancer garb. And, just so we are clear, these ladies are not belly-dancers nor should they be dressing like them. I was looking for finger-symbols but I never saw any (but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there).
To say it was a high-energy show would be understatement. I am not one for going crazy at shows. I just kind of sit on the sidelines and if it is music I really enjoy I may dance a little but that is all you are going to get out of me. GB fans are fucking crazy. I soon found out why there were so many belly-dancers and crazy old hippies with long, unwashed hair. These mother fuckers throw down.

Chris had never been to one of their shows before so neither of us knew what to expect but, unlike me, he actually watched the YouTube clips and saw what a few of their shows were like. I feared it was going to be interactive. Meaning, they were going to make me dance or do something equally as uncomfortable to get the crowd involved, and if I was going to be made to belly dance, things were going to end bloody. That was not the case (thankful).

They didn’t need to make anyone dance, every fan there happily busted a move on their own. You were in the minority if you weren’t dancing around in epileptic convulsions. By the time the show was over my ears were ringing. Not from the music, but from the bells on the long, flowy belly dancer skirts. But I wouldn’t call what they were doing “belly dancing” it’s more like “white-people crumping.” It was odd and fascinating and a little unsettling if you want to know the truth. Speaking of unspeakably unsettlings…

If you are wondering if couples can get their middle-aged mack on to Gypsy Punk Rock, I tell you now that you can. I have never seen so many people in their 40s and 50s straight-up making out and all other sorts of dance floor atrocities in my life. I wanted to tap several on the shoulder and tell them, “Hey man, respect and all that, but people can see you just so you know. Wasn’t sure if you were aware.”

Really just the vast age difference of every fan there was astounding. I have never before seen a crowd so well represented by every age group. And I say the age range started at the 20s and went to the 70s, easy.

There was just so much going on that I could barely catalog it all. This is all I could remember. I was thisclose to going over in a corner and putting it all in my phone. 

OH! And someone got thrown out. That is always fun to me. I love to see really drunk dudes get thrown out because they are being so, so stupid. Bonus if the cops are involved. That is probably evil as fuck of me to enjoy such a thing, but someone has to tell douchebags that is not cool to spray their douchewater of drunken behavior on decent human beings. Am I right?!

*I like to keep my readers never knowing where I am going with anything


D.P. said...

You got burned by the hotlinking gods.

Stacey Garrett said...

I don't know what that means but I removed it anyway.

D.P. said...

If you directly link a picture from someone else's website, it's actually causing a little bit of strain on their server, since THEIR server has to load the pic even though it's not being seen on their site (called hotlinking). So lots of places put some code in there that makes it so that if you steal their picture like that, instead of the image you want people to see, you just get some generic "Don't hotlink our pics!" type message. Which is what you got.

Holly said...

I laughed out loud at "white people crumping." Awesome visual.

Stacey Garrett said...

Ooohh..Thanks Daniel! You giant nerd. Love you!

Yes, Holly, that is the best that I can describe it. It was a sight to see.

Slevin said...

Good rundown of the show, haha. I'm pretty sure the guy that tried to crowd surf unsuccessfully is the one that got thrown out. That was hilarious.

I knew you weren't prepared after you said you don't listen to any music outside of North America. At that point, you were just along for the ride.

GB isn't even close to the weirdest music I listen to - see Huun Huur Tu
Joanna Newsom
Life Without Buildings

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