Gogol Bordello @ The Troc, Philly, PA

Live Reviews | By on Apr 18th, 2006

Opening Bands: Zox
Date: April 14th 2006
Venue: The Troc, Philly, PA

I finally had a chance to go see Gogol Bordello Friday night in Philly. They have quickly become one of my favorite new bands and I kept hearing about how good they were live. They played a few days earlier in Brooklyn but no way in hell I was gonna go there on a Wednesday night, plus they were going on at midnight too. Those gypsies sure like to play really late sometimes! So it was time to trek down to Philly for the first time. I knew it was gonna an interesting night…

On the way down, ended up getting lost..Well not so much lost but took the wrong road in PA and ended up going near Stroudsburg and the Poconos. So it was the back roads way and slowed down the trip a half hour or so. My brother and I made it to the PA turnpike finally and then it was smooth sailing from there. The Troc was very easy to get to, and actually the directions from MapQuest worked out okay once we got into the city of Philadelphia. It’s the way getting to Philly that MapQuest fucked us over. Oh well, next time I won’t use MapQuest. Those map sites really do suck ass sometimes.

We arrived at the Troc and there was a huge line of kids along the buildings. I squirmed my way thru some kids so I didn’t have to be at the end of the line. The line did move fairly quickly since it was divided into two. Got inside the venue, bought some merch, and looked around. Decided to go upstairs to watch the first band play. The first band was Skampida and they really got the club moving. They were a mix of latino rock, ska and punk and they sounded really cool. The whole band was really into it and so was the crowd. I think they should have played second because the crowd was dancing for them more. Check out their music here: http://www.myspace.com/skampidafastidia. There was a videographer in the way the whole time so that was extremely annoying so I went downstairs for the end of Skampida’s set. I was surprised to see the downstairs section not as crowded as I thought it would be. It did fill up a little bit later though.

The next band was some rock/ punk band with a violin player. I decided to get some practice taking pictures of them before Gogol came on. Zox was the name of the band and they are from Rhode Island. The violin player was really cool and loved hearing that. It was pretty much a guitar the way it sounded, it was all distorted. The singer didn’t do it for me and kind of slowed things down after Skampida energized the crowd. Zox did have a few songs that were upbeat and one that was sort of ska. Once the band got off, the crowd was ready to dance their brains out for Gogol Bordello. The music before the band was great and got the crowd into it. Finally the lights went down low.

Gogol Bordello took the stage and I immediately started to snap some photos while Eugene started to sing “Immigrant Punk.” I sang along while taking picture after picture. I was really impressed how well the band sounded but curious as to why they started off with that slower song. I love that song but think they should have came out with BANG! Maybe started the set with “Never Young” or “60 Revolutions.” I can’t remember what the order was for the songs or every song that was played but I’ll try my best. it’s so hard to remember what songs the band played and take pictures at the same time. It might have been “Never Young” but I’m not positive. After that, The two female gypsies in the band came out and danced around and sang. At this point it was pure mayhem. People dancing, going from left to right on the stage, and doing all crazy stuff. Eugene was singing on top of the shoulders of a bouncer and giving the mic to the crowd. The other photographers and I were looking at each other, thinking how crazy everything was getting in there. Then at the end of the song, Eugene opened a beer bottle and sprayed it on the crowd and photographers. That went all over my camera but I got that shot and it came out great; so it was worth getting some beer sprayed on me. After the three songs, the photographers got kicked out and I was checking out the photos I got and listened to the band play. I wasn’t happy with the spot I was at so I went upstairs and managed to score a perfect spot, and I could see the whole stage. I love when I stumble upon prime locations at a club.

The band pretty much went through every song off “Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike,” with maybe one a song missing from the set. Just every song on there is amazing so I can see why they would play all of them! Some of the standout songs that they played off that were “60 Revolutions” “Start Wearing Purple,” “Avenue B,” “Dogs Were Barking,” and “Think Locally, Fuck Globally.” “Start Wearing Purple” was the song that got me into this band, and I think I prefer it on the album than I do live. They play it differently, and a lot slower (sort of like the older version on Voi-la intruder). It still sounds awesome love, just prefer the studio version. Hearing “Not a Crime” and “60 Revolutions” live made me love the songs ten times more than I already did. The band seemed to play each song to perfection, adding solos and other stuff to make the songs go as long as they could. Eugene wasn’t much of a talker to the crowd and just kept going into each song. I only recognized a few songs off their earlier albums (since I just got their other albums). I think they played either “Bordello Kind of Guy” or “Punk Rock Parranda” or both. I know I recognized one of those opening motifs. Like I said, I only started to listen to the earlier albums so i’m not 100 percent positive. Towards the end of the set, they played the song “Illumination”, which is a fantastic acoustic song by Eugene, the party favorite “Baro Faro” (might have been played in encore though?) “Mishto” finished off the their newest album and I think the set as well. They came back for the encore and played for another half hour it seems. During the song “Undestructible,” Eugene got one of the female’s big ass snare drum and put it on the crowd, and the crowd carried him around the venue. It was quite the sight to see and couldn’t believe he balanced himself on there for so long. I would have fell off. Seeing Eugene sing his brains out on top of the drum was really great way to end the show and can’t wait to see the band again. They truly put on one of the best shows I’ve seen. You really have to see Gogol Bordello live to appreciate their music. I love them on CD but they are an excellent & entertaining live band who will only get more and more popular as they play. So catch them now before they start selling out stadiums haha.

The drive home was pretty bad. Nothing serious happened but it was very dangerous out because it was complete fog out. After getting a natural high from seeing a great live band like Gogol Bordello , the having to drive 4 hours in complete fog isn’t a fun time. It was annoying because it was in patches, and then it would go back being clear. I eventually got to the Scranton/Wilkes Barre area and actually got lost in Wilkes Barre. This is coming from someone who went to college in Scranton for 2 years and continues to go to PA weekly. I guess the fog and it being 3 ‘o clock in the morning will do that to a person. I eventually got home around 4am and thankfully made it home okay. Just remind me to get a hotel next time I plan on going to Philadelphia for a concert.

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