Gogol Bordello — Live From Axis Mundi
I've quite liked Gogol Bordello's two SideOneDummy albums, 2006's Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike and 2007's Super Taranta!, but have either been out of town or had conflicting engagements whenever the New York City "gypsy punk" band has come to Toronto. I've regretted this, since I've received first-hand reports from people who've gone and said the band is incredible live.
And while I still haven't personally witnessed Eugene Hutz and his traveling musical circus, I now have a better idea of the experience after watching Live From Axis Mundi's DVD, which captures two 2007 performances at New York City's Irving Plaza. The music is frenetic and there's action everywhere, as the stage is filled with musicians, singers and dancers.
Hutz rides the shoulders of a security guard during my favourite Gogol Bordello song, "Start Wearing Purple," and he climbs up into a balcony during the first encore number, "Punk Rock Parranda." During the very extended final song, "Baro Foro," one of the female members of the group stands on a large drum being held aloft by audience members.
I sincerely hope I have no conflicts the next time that Gogol Bordello comes to town, because these shows look like a ton of fun.
The DVD extras include additional live performances and music videos for "Start Wearing Purple," "Not A Crime," "Wonderlust King" and, best of all, "American Wedding." There's also a short documentary titled "Creative People Must Be Stopped!" that features in-studio footage and interviews.
The package also includes an 11-track CD of previously unreleased material featuring six songs recorded on BBC Radio 1's In The Company Of program in March 2008, "Stivali E Colbacco" from the Super Taranta! recording sessions, "Troubled Friends" from the Gypsy Punk sessions, demo and instrumental recordings of "Immigrant Punk," and the "60 Revolutions" demo.
While nothing can match actually attending a concert, Live From Axis Mundi gives you a very good picture of what it's like — at least when my DVD wasn't stopping and starting, very annoyingly so during the bonus features. Hopefully I just received a dud disc and this isn't a widespread manufacturing mistake.