Concert Reviews, Music
by Micayla Bussieres
I don’t really know how to describe what I expected from Gogol Bordello, but what I saw/heard was so much more. They’re universally known as “gypsy punk” but as they came out onto the stage, Gogol Bordello began an incredibly fast, and loud song. I’m talking so loud that the bass hurt my insides (not that that’s a bad thing). They were so full of energy and each musician played such a crucial role, taking turns to be the center of attention at the front of the stage. I couldn’t exactly understand much that they said in the first few songs but I loved it, jumping along with all of the diehard fans around me. Since I’m clearly not well versed in their music I can’t mention song names but there was one that sounded like a hardcore mariachi tune and it was amazing! I think the highlight of that show was how hard the accordion player jammed out because if you’ve never held an accordion, let me tell you, those instruments are ridiculously heavy.
I had to leave a tad early from Gogol Bordello so I could get close to the front for The Paper Kites. This group from Australia has recently changed their sound from the extremely folky, banjo-riddled, simple sounds of their first 2 EPs to a more dreamy, folk-pop sound for their newest album, States. Instead of switching between the two fairly distinct sounds, they morphed a few of their older songs into this newer sound, which I found to be a wise choice. When they first started “Featherstone” from the Woodland EP it wasn’t what I expected –slow soft vocals and long guitar notes instead of staccato strumming and finger picking– but they did bring a new feeling to it, and I really enjoyed it once they got into the meat of the song. I think a large portion of the crowd didn’t realize that this wasn’t going to be high energy, and were disappointed, but for those of us who were already fans, the sleepy lullaby-reminiscent sounds were perfect.
I ended my night by seeing Blondie on the Claridge stage and for a band that’s been together 40 years, they still really held their own. Starting out with the classic “One Way or Another” and following with a mix of old and new including the newer single “Rose By Any Name,” the band seemed to pick up as if it was still their heyday. Watching Debbie Harry dancing up there in her entirely white ensemble (with some sort of strappy bondage harness overtop??) kind of reminded me of a drunken grandma at a christmas party. It’s awkward but very entertaining and you’re just glad she isn’t YOUR grandma. You could see Debbie and the rest of the band were having a great time and so were the people who grew up listening to this iconic music; especially when they launched into a cover of “Fight For Your Right” during the coda of “Rapture” which just happens to be the first video including rap ever shown on MTV. As they ended the set with the tune we were all waiting for, “Heart of Glass,” and then “Dreaming,” it just reminded me that none of us are ever going to be as cool as Debbie Harry.