Gogol Bordello | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gogol Bordello 

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This six-piece immigrant whirlwind, based in New York with members from as far away as Israel and Ukraine, plays rock 'n' roll that's been kidnapped by Gypsies. Listening to this stuff I see Tartars swinging swords, Romanian crones hurling curses, Russian mobsters making thinly veiled threats, Soviet machinists belting out Bolshevik work songs, shtetl Jews peeling off some Xtreme Klezmer--it even sounds like there's a little Jacques Brel and early Clash in there too. Of course the albums are only half of what this band works so hard at: onstage Sergey Ryabtzev saws at his violin with the hammy gusto of an old-school vaudevillian; bug-eyed front man Eugene Hutz clambers atop speaker stacks and mike stands, reeling and lunging and constantly daring gravity to break his neck; two women costumed as border officers tie Hutz up with his mike cord, or charge into the audience in cheerleader outfits with a field bass drum and a pair of crash cymbals. (Their show here in November was so packed that the woman with the drum had to crowd-surf on it instead, sitting on it like an ottoman and beating it between her legs with a mallet.) Gogol Bordello's new EP, East Infection (Rubric), is a teaser for their third full-length, Gypsy Punks: Adaptation vs. Assimilation, produced by Steve Albini and forthcoming in August. Perhaps coincidentally, the film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel Everything Is Illuminated--in which Hutz, playing unhinged Ukrainian translator Alex Perchov, stars opposite Elijah Wood--hits theaters the same month. The Cougars open; see also Saturday. Fri 4/29, 10:30 PM, Subterranean Cafe & Cabaret, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $15.

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