It is almost ten o’clock in the evening. The generous summer sun is still keeping the festival goers of Ilosaarirock warm. People start to head towards Rento Stage by the beach and some even go to cool off in the water. The air is filled with joyful anticipation.
Gogol Bordello is about to start their first gig ever at Ilosaarirock. Expectations are running high as this band has often been called as the best live band in the world. The band’s sound is an interesting cocktail of punk, Eastern European folk tunes and Balkan rhythms, which the group calls Gypsy punk. The leader of the band is a Ukrainian-born Eugene Hütz, who is known for his endless energy on stage. This intriguing band is a must see for all festival goers!
The band comes to the stage and the whole crowd is immediately sucked into the world of Gypsy punk. The band starts with a hit Not a Crime and continues right away with Wonderlust King. Festival goers form a conga line that circles around other dancing listeners at the beach. Hütz grabs his acoustic guitar and the band goes from one groovy song to another. During Saboteur Blues, the background singer and percussionist Ashley Tobias joins the others on stage.
The atmosphere amongst the crowd alternates between easygoing jamming and ecstatic rampage. People are seemingly enjoying themselves and Hütz’s endless energy drives them on. The carefree lead singer is covered in sweat and red wine. He introduces the band by asking if we have met his friends.
Gogol Bordello have saved two of their biggest hits, Undestrucktable and Start wearing purple, at the end of the gig. At this point all listeners have tossed all their worries aside and joined the party. The sand whirls in the air as festival goers dance at the beach. Water splashes as people stomp their feet at the shore and someone runs to swim. All are in awe as the violinist Sergey Ryabtsev sings out the command to start wearing purple with his beautiful voice.
The sweaty, yet notably happy band thanks their audience. They are rewarded with thunderous applauds. The best live band in the world has done it again.
Text: Tuuli Ahonen
Photos: Asmo Turunen