Gig review: Gogol Bordello

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THIS rabble of New York immigrant Gypsy-folk-punk fusionists could never be accused of giving their live show any less than 100 per cent.

Wiry, mustachioed frontman Eugene Htz was a shirtless, sweaty supernova of hyperactive energy who wielded his acoustic guitar like a weapon and slugged roguishly from a bottle of red wine. Accordionist Yuri Lemeshev and fiddle-player Sergey Ryabtsev prowled the stage at his flanks with all the menace of itinerant pirates. The scene in the crowd was akin to a particularly rowdy Jewish wedding.

No song was content until it had wound its way through at least two or three different musical styles, from turbo-charged Gypsy-folk to righteous reggae during Tribal Connection – a song punctuated by percussionist Pedro Erazo leaping from the drum riser to dispatch a machine gun rap – or from turbo-charged Gypsy-folk to hard rock in the case of Break the Spell, which culminated in a head-banging riff-o-rama.

For all the genre-hopping, unless you were willing to fling yourself into the knees-up it became quite a tedious proposition, particularly as murky sound quality served to choke what little subtlety there was to the eight-piece band's playing. But it's hardly news that will kill the Gogol Bordello party, and Htz is a lyricist who clearly enjoys hitting back at the haters. "It's all about community," he growled in the chorus of one encore number, "defeat the negativity!"

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