Photo by John Shore |

Gogol Bordello is one of those bands whose live show is truly an experience. Fresh off of the release of their latest record, Pura Vida Conspiracy, the self-proclaimed “gypsy punks” are stopping by tomorrow for a midnight XPoNential fest afterparty at The TLA.

Incredibly enough, the band has continued to grow so much musically that “gypsy punk” may even be too narrow of a definition. Basically, they’re one, big transcontinental party-starting family. Frontman Eugene Hutz hails from Ukraine, where his family were descendents of Romani people. He’s spent time living (or being a refugee) in Italy, Poland, Hungary, and most recently Brazil. The band’s current and past members are from Russia, Ecuador, Scotland, Israel, Ethiopia, the U.S, and China.

A Gogol Bordello show is a melting pot of everything – people, cultures, music, ideologies, theatrics. You’ll find Russians and Eastern European immigrants of all ages, coming to hear the music of their heritage, people dressed in gypsy or hippie garb, punks, and people that can basically fit any type of preconceived stereotype. The point? Those stereotypes are dead and gone for at least the duration of the show – everyone’s “familia.” And people go absolutely wild; I think Gogol Bordello shows have prepared me for crowd craziness and violence in any kind of concert scenario.

They’ve been making music since the late 1990’s, but in the past few years, Gogol Bordello’s music has drifted towards more Latin influences, especially in Transcontinental Hustle. Still, the band maintains their genre-bending sound, rooted in Eastern Europe but spread anywhere and everywhere across the globe. They maintain their predictable unpredictability, and Pura Vida Conspiracy does not disappoint in this regard. “Borders are scars on face of the planet,” Hutz sings on the new track “We Rise Again,” echoing the band’s immigrant mentality. They approach music and performance in this way – borderless and fearless. The second single off of the album, “Lost Innocent World,” flawlessly mixes old-world sounds of Eastern Europe and Latin American guitar work so that it’s almost impossible to pin down where culturally and globally the music comes from. Their shows are like their albums – heart and fist pumping, exhilarating, grandiose and yet grassroots at the same time.

For someone who sings with a thick Russian accent and speaks in slightly broken English, Hutz really has his way with words – both lyrically, and when explaining the message behind Gogol Bordello. “Music, in a way, is the only art where human beings feel like fish in water. Usually that happens because everybody, for two hours, forgets who the fuck they are. Their identity deteriorates…and then they associate that experience with freedom,” Hutz says in a Gogol Bordello video previewing the new album. It’s true: a Gogol Bordello show is a party – raucous, wild, hectic – but it’s also uniting. There’s no room to breathe, let alone move. You might be covered in bruises and sweat, but you might’ve just experienced the most ridiculous range of emotions for one concert. You also may be drenched in wine.

Gogol Bordello plays the Official XPoNential Music Festival after-party Friday, July 26th, at The Theater of Living Arts, 334 South Street. Tickets are available here.