After seeing Sonic Youth perform in Kiev as a teenager, Eugene Hütz caught a glimpse of his own future: fronting a multi-national New York-based band of ragtag immigrants. Raised on gypsy street music, plus any black-market recording that he could find from the Birthday Party or Einstürzende Neubauten, the Ukrainian castaway soon unveiled an exotically raucous eight-piece, one that crossbreeds Balkan fiddle and accordion tunes with punk-fueled debauchery. But while a definitive term for Gogol Bordello's foot-stomping spectacle seems elusive (Hütz calls it everything from "immicore" to "rural Transylvanian avant-hard"), the outfit's infectious energy remains incomparable. Boasting a pair of costume-changing hotties who enhance the racket with choreographed fits of guerrilla theater, the tipsy gypsies (above) tear through odes to vampires, border-crossing nightmares and backyard barbecues with Stalin. But in any condition -- drunk, sober or lobotomized -- the Gogols never fail to ignite things. Pros't!
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