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Gogol Bordello: Gypsy Punk Greats

by Dan Weiss

Gogol Bordello: Gypsy Punk Greats

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Odds are you'll never see a concert better than that of Gogol Bordello, whose act is more akin to a vaudevillian punk rock circus than a static live show. Acrobatic (and not young) frontman Eugene Hutz has charisma and interacts with a crowd more than willing to hoist him up onto a giant marching drum, while his bandmates slash at fiddles, crash cymbals or occasionally rap. It's to his credit as a songwriter and his ragtag yet professional band's arrangements that they have recorded music to equal the spectacle, namely 2005's completely perfect Gypsy Punks (featuring classics like "Sally," "Start Wearing Purple" and the now-extra-fervent Putin rejection "Not a Crime"), 2007's jammier Super Taranta! (which nonetheless opens with the ultra-tight "Ultimate" and "Wonderlust King") and now, Pure Vida Conspiracy (which amps up the mix of genres, with reggae and Latin touches on sing-alongs like "Malandrino"). The beat-happy J.U.F. project is just as good on oddball club jams like "Gypsy Part of Town," and their other albums are hardly slouches. The only thing that's not easy to enjoy in this band's presence is sitting still.

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