Gogol Bordello Came, Saw, Conquered at the Palace

Gogol Bordello by Music in Minnesota
Photo by Ben Allen

Last updated on October 4th, 2021 at 01:53 pm

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.

Eugune Hutz of Gogol Bordello serenading a crowd
Eugene Hütz address the Palace crowd, Photo by Ben Allen

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.

Gogol Bordello
Photo by Ben Allen

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.

Gogol Bordello
Sergey Ryabtsev on violin, Photo by Ben Allen

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.

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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