June 21, 2008

Gogol In Greenpoint

On Friday night, Mary Beth and our friends Paul and Trevor joined us for our first trip to the McCarren Park Pool for our favorite Eastern European gypsy-punk band from the LES - Gogol Bordello. MB and I had seen them just 7 days before at Bonnaroo as part of this year's Superjam with Les Claypool and Kirk Hammett (if you're having a hard time processing that information, don't worry; it blew my mind and I was watching it live). I also caught them early Saturday afternoon for the first half of their Which Stage performance.

Eugene Hutz, Les Claypool (sporting a sweet Elvis mask), and Kirk Hammett @ Bonnaroo

Needless to say, the scene in Greenpoint was radically different than the field in Tennessee. And it wasn't just because I was drinking Brooklyn Lager (out of a can?!). Instead of a bunch of hippies, the crowd was a mix of hipsters, punks, and families. Where my friend Marcus shared a daiquiri with a woman he'd never met before at Bonnaroo, we eventually had to clear out of the crowd to avoid the slam dancing that started behind us. Potential injury aside, the mood was certainly exciting. Every time I see Gogol Bordello, it seems like a wave of excitement slowly spreads through the audience and by the third or fourth song, the entire audience is bouncing to the polka-punk beats. This was no exception. Within a few songs, a 30-something father in front of us lifted his young son on his shoulders and charged off to the front of the stage.

The show started with the same tunes they opened with at the 'roo. After awhile, the mess of shoving people became more trouble than it was worth and we retreated to the side of the stage. After hitting the head and grabbing a few more brews, we ran into some alternative forms of entertainment. This kid in a Notre Dame stumbled up to us and, after a brief introduction, grabbed the beer from MB's hand and proceeded to pound 7/8's of it. "Here you go man," the kid said as he tried to hand the remaining swig back to us. "I'm a gentlemen. I wouldn't drink all of it." Needless to say, I wasn't too interested in finishing this d-bag's beer so I convinced him to keep it.

After mumbling a few incoherent thoughts about the upcoming Notre Dame football season, our friend started telling us that he was ready to throw a touchdown. I had no idea what he meant by that but I didn't hesitate to point to the front of the stage and tell him that was where his touchdowns were needed most. As he took off, I never could have imagine that 30 seconds later, our friend would be on the stage throwing a touchdown (re. taking his shirt off and flailing wildly) only to be tackled another 30 seconds later and escorted out off the premises. What a dude.

As we watched this guy get strong-armed off the stage, we noticed a 20-30 piece marching band waiting off to the side of the stage. They took the stage just after we wandered out of the venue but you could hear how much sound and energy they added to an already intense stage show.

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