Gogol Bordello: O2 Academy, Leeds

A large and excitable crowd gathered for the return of New York based gypsy punks Gogol Bordello. They came to Leeds as part of the tour to promote their latest album Pura Vida Conspiracy.

The night began with support act Man Man who arrived on stage dressed in skeleton suits. As they began their set it was clearly a very different musical style to the one which was to come later from Gogol Bordello. They possessed that same energy and zest as the main act but their music was rock based with very catchy vocal elements.

The many members of Gogol Bordello then streamed onto stage and launched into ‘We Rise Again’, the opener from the new album. From the beginning the energy and intensity on show was unrelenting. The crowd greeted them with rapturous applause and by the time second song ‘Not A Crime’ kicked in the crowd and the band were working up into a frenzy. Their passion and vibrancy proved infectious with the audience jumping around and singing along in carefree fashion. Sections of those in attendance weren’t just giddily jumping around there were pockets of people doing proper dance moves and a group of women dancing around their bags, which I expect is a sight rarely seen at performances by most other bands.

Front man Eugene Hutz stole the show with his own incomparable style. He brimmed with confidence and sexuality as he leaned over the crowd shirtless, encouraging them to let loose in the same way the rest of the band were.

The rest of the band, whilst also displaying plenty of energy, also showcased their variety by regularly swapping instruments and seemingly performing at whichever microphone they found themselves stood near at the time. This gave the perception of an improvised jamming session with each member expressing themselves and having fun with it.

Gogol Bordello treated their fans to a frantic set of new and old material which left the crowd more than satisfied. The defining moment of the night was witnessing a sea of flailing arms and bouncing bodies as the whole room sang along with ‘Start Wearing Purple’.

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