By Clash Reader Holly Goninon

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As the band that consisted of three very unique characters appeared on stage I couldn’t predict what I was in for. The banners on the stage read ‘THINK LOCALLY’ and ‘FUCK GLOBALLY’.

Strong messages from the band I was about to meet. They weren’t looking like any band I’ve seen before: Sergey appeared with a tight little white-haired bun, like that of a ballerina, dressed in military attire and appearing as muscular as one. Eugene looked like he was stuck in the 60s with his fashion, slim physique, a bandanna around his straggling hair and a sling-shot as a necklace and then there was Yuri, who appeared tamer than his friends but held an accordion wider than that of his chest.

As they started singing, my first question was: is this English? Everyone seemed to understand the vocals and, in response, the crowd was electrified. There wasn’t a foot glued to the floor and you couldn’t help but want to move. It was the party of Gogol Bordello and we were all there to attend and be entertained by the events of the night.

It was the third song that increased the size of the on-stage party. Two girls in hot pink, Pam and Elizabeth, provided the next level to the night. Their movements, energy, flirtatious presence and excitement were contagious. You couldn’t resist smiling back at them.

If anyone on the stage was having a tough time it was the Stage Manager. Eugene was unpredictable with his movements, sometimes appearing possessed by his own music. He wanted to be everywhere at once and, with this behaviour, the microphone was always with him. He’d have found himself tied up in knots if he’d not had the hand and eye of the Stage Manager who continued to prevent any accidents.

At one point in the evening, Eugene changed into a long-haired red wig and heels. As he strutted across the stage the aura of the party took on a different vibe. There was a different rhythm to the music and it was toned down like everyone had a minute to take a breath.

The crowd was incredibly diverse – to my right I had a couple in their late fifties dressed conservatively, to my left I had beautiful girls that were dressed in vintage apparel and in front of me with less than 5metres to the stage there was a massive group of people who were in love with the night. Looking up, everyone who was upstairs looked like they wished they were downstairs [where the party was happening].

Gogol Bordello gave the crowd a ‘chance to chant’. We were told to repetitively sing ‘runt-a-run-ta-ton’. It was just a pity that we couldn’t all roll our r’s like Eugene could. Nonetheless, there was attempt by all and the laughter once you’d tried.

There was at least one song that everyone could associate with. Eugene introduced the song as a dedication: I’d like to dedicate this song to a good friend. Then, with a pause, he announced it was for Alcohol. He thanked Alcohol for everything he’d done and said it was Alcohol that brought us all together that night.

The night continued with waves of intensity. Pam and Elizabeth would come and go and, for the last few songs, they returned in a new costume, making red lycra and cymbals appear ever so sexy.

Walking away, the comment of one fan summed it up for me when he said that he’d never smiled so much. And, it was true; you didn’t need to know the songs to enjoy the evening.

Holly Goninon

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