Crowd partied to new, classic Gogol Bordello

Posted: May 03, 2010

"The immigrants / they wanna / sing / all night long," sang Joe Strummer nearly three decades ago on the Clash's masterly "Straight To Hell." Its enduring truth prevailed at Gogol Bordello's sweaty Electric Factory show Saturday. The capacity May Day crowd - thick with expats whooping along in various accents - delighted in the Clash-stoked klezmer-ska "Gypsy Punk" generated by the exuberant multinational ensemble. Since packing Philly's tiny Tritone five years ago, the New York-based Gogol, together since 1999, has matured into one of the world's greatest live bands.

Led by mustachioed ringleader Eugene Hutz, the indefatigable eight-piece ensemble kept the party roaring Saturday with older favorites such as "Start Wearing Purple" as well as tracks from GB's Rick Rubin-produced new album, Trans-Continental Hustle. Thrashing at his acoustic guitar, the Ukrainian migr Hutz fired up "We Comin' Rougher (Immigraniada)," an immigrant-empowering reggae-punk juggernaut laced with the lively tones of Russian-born accordionist Yuri Lemeshev and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev.

The reflective encore "Sun Is on My Side" presented Gogol's welcome new tactic, live and on record: allowing breathing room in their repertoire, with Hutz beginning solo before the band joined in for a building, raucous conclusion.

DeVotchKa, the Denver quartet that also works Eastern European ambiance into its music, performed a set that showed its tango and mariachi inclinations as well. Nick Urata, on guitar, bouzouki, and ghostly theremin, sang in swelling voice as Jeanie Schroder grounded things on double bass and sousaphone. Their brooding "How It Ends" - on the sound tracks of Little Miss Sunshine and Everything Is Illuminated (the 2005 movie featuring Eugene Hutz's acting debut) - was but one of many engaging numbers.

Jesse Malin and the St. Marks Social opened with a quick set showcasing his new Love It to Life album. Malin has been a New York fixture for years, most prominently via his '90s glam-punk band D Generation. After singer-songwriter balladry and alt-country solo work, his latest group effort delivers driving rock. The new "All the Way From Moscow," played Saturday, sounded less influenced by Mott The Hoople (the title playing on Mott's 1973 classic "All the Way From Memphis"), and more akin to a certain hugely influential band directly inspired by Mott: the Clash.

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