Gogol Bordello got its start holding court at the old Bulgarian Bar on Canal and Broadway. It was a sweaty, dirty room on the second floor, raided on occasion by the NYPD for serving underage clientele.
The house specialty was a cheap, fermented apple vodka concoction that made you pay dearly the next morning. But it was a magical platform for a band made up of old Soviet Bloc-ers, hot, ethnically ambiguous riot-girl dancers, and an acoustic guitar-slinging mustachio from the Ukraine via Vermont. The crowd was equal parts Slavic immigrants, NYU students, and flirty South Americans. Singer/ DJ Eugene Hutz created a unique scene for his NY Gypsy punk rock outfit and his parties were notorious for its carnivalesque dance floor.
From that launch pad, Gogol Bordello went on to play bigger venues across Gotham, getting banned from some for causing havoc and creating a following that spurred tours and record sales. Madonna invited the band to tour with her and Russia became a second home. Hutz went on to star in a major film and dabbled in soft-core bedroom scenes. But the man behind the mustache remains a hometown hero in the East Village and his guest DJ appearances take it all back to that former Chinatown mayhem. On September 7, he’ll bring the circus to Bushwick, spinning for a show at the Well that includes Syrian artist Omar Souleyman and Sierra Leone’s Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang. In typical Hutz fashion, the Ukrainian is playing with artists from contrasting geography whose common function is to put the folk-dance party on blast at a dizzying level of energy. Souleyman plays dabke, seldom heard by Western audiences, Nabay’s genre is his native bubu. Gogol Bordello plays the following day at the Brooklyn Riot Fest.
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Riot Fest Brooklyn 2012
Gogol Bordello, Descendents, Hot Water Music, The Bronx, The Menzingers, Screaming Females, Larry and His Flask, and Riot Fest
Friday, September 7
JANKA NABAY & THE BUBU GANG
Featuring DJ HUTZ