Best Concert of the
Past 12 Months St. Louis 2006 - Gogol Bordello, October 11, 2005
Readers' Choice: Chuck Berry and The Gentleman Callers
"Think locally," a mustachioed Ukrainian man yells from the bandstand. "Fuck globally!" A crowd doused in a frothy sweat cheers in return. As the last syllable trails off, two young women in flowery dresses, knee pads and face paint race to the front of the stage. One crashes cymbals and the other pounds a bass drum just over the heads of those in the first row. All of the audience falls into time, re-creating a traditional Romany jig: Feet stomp and hands clap, hips sway and all eyes turn to the puppeteers who've taken their bodies hostage. A wild-eyed violinist quickens the pace, and by the time a tin bucket is thrown over the microphone and its beating has commenced like rapid machine-gun fire, all the dancing, bouncing, swaying and singing has become one. No longer are there individuals in the crowd, but rather one maniacal beast simultaneously bowing to its master and delighting in its freedom. Like a blood pact, anyone who witnessed the force with which Gogol Bordello enveloped St. Louis is surely a convert for life. Such is the magnetism of the founders of gypsy punk.