If there were ever any doubts about whether Gogol Bordello could survive a pandemic, they were laid to rest last night with their performance at the Palace. They came, they shredded, and they left the audience wanting more. It’s the best you can hope for on either side of the stage.
If GB were a machine, the ‘intensity’ controls would essentially be either ‘extremely high’ or off. Even when the tempo of the music slows down, they’re still going at 110%, but you better catch your breath if you want to try to keep up.
It isn’t just the band generating all of the energy. A GB show is a very interactive experience, as frontman Eugene Hutz and company seem to extract as much as they produce, frothing up the crowd with their very showy guitar, fiddle, and vocal solos. And so much dancing.
The attention is very much shared throughout the band. From Sergey Ryabtsev’s violin to Boris Pelekh’s guitar (and face) to Tommy T’s fancy bass work, they all give so much in terms of talent and physicality. It’s a lot to keep up with.
So the performance part of the night was good, but what about the elephant in the room, you ask? Before I answer that, you should know that I’m a naturally anxiety-ridden person, so my view may be a little tainted. However, I’ve been dealing with anxiety for most of my life, so I’m familiar with its many different flavors.
In short, it’s kind of terrible being in an enclosed space in close proximity to so many people. After 18+ months of lockdowns and safety precautions and remote work, it’s shocking to be thrust back into a crowd. It feels a little irresponsible when cases and hospitalizations are rising.
BUT, for what it’s worth, the Palace staff did a good job enforcing the vaccination and masks rules on the way in, as well as around the venue throughout the show. And they did so without being jerks, which is huge.
It may have been too soon for an indoor concert for me, but I’m glad I shared it with Gogol Bordello.