After having seen them at the 9:30 club last night, I can report that their concerts are less messy than might be imagined by that phrase, but they put on a hell of a good show. In much the same way that Jane's Addiction burst onto the scene and all of the metal guys found themselves out-rocked by a bunch of transvestites, Gogol Bordello shows that "gypsy punk" can rock a hell of a lot harder than the output of the latest corporate-sponsored faux-angsty machine-ragers.
Personally, I'd like to encourage every Jewish simha band to listen to them so that they know what is possible - I could easily see a segue from "Wanderlust King" to Od Yishama, or from "Universes Collide" to Hava Negilah.
I think I'll be studying Gogol Bordello's song structure to try to understand it more - I think that the ability to use a klezmer idiom in rock music successfully is really neat, and I'd like to be able to incorporate more modal compositions in my own songwriting.
Their second opener, "Man Man" was easily the strangest band I've seen in decades - they two xylophones, three keyboards, and a drummer who looked like "monkey boy" - unsurprisingly, they were tremendously entertaining visually. I describe them thusly: "imagine if Frank Zappa hired Devo to play klezmer music, and added Tony Clifton as a frontman."
Amazing show, and Gogol Bordello is totally worth seeing next time they come in town.
I've been doing a *lot* more biking - I biked home from the Arlington County library (near Ballston) yesterday, and have been able to start doing serious errands on two wheels. It's exhilarating, and I think that I'm seeing a tremendous change in my stamina (33rd street is not nearly as hard as it was two weeks ago, and I've had 20 lb backpacks for some of these rides). I'm definitely going to be getting my own bike very soon.