GOGOL BORDELLO | Klavs Bo Christensen/AFP/Getty Images
Although it’s not a particularly crowded genre, it’s fair to recognize Gogol Bordello as the world’s preeminent gypsy punk rock band. The Manhattan-based group has put in fourteen years of persistent work to earn the title. It hasn’t necessarily been easy. The eight-piece group has eleven former members.
The combination of East European ethnic roots music and Clash-inspired energy may seem jarring to some, but undeniable joy spills from much of Gogol Bordello’s material. “I was born with singing heart,” declares frontman Eugene Hutz in fractured English during “Malandrino.” The song from the band’s new “Pura Vida Conspiracy” album also features Sergey Ryabtsev’s cartwheeling violin and Pasha Newmer’s gypsy accordion.
Even the hardships endured in “Lost Innocent World” are branded with a white-hot passion, too stubborn to accept defeat.
The band’s steady rise was documented in the 2008 film “Gogol Bordello Non-Stop.” In 2005, Hütz appeared alongside Elijah Wood in the eccentric road picture “Everything is Illuminated.”
On Aug. 17, Gogol Bordello brings its Pura Vida Conspiracy tour to Chicago. Due to ongoing renovations at the Congress Theater, the show has been moved to the new Concord Music Hall. The concert will, in fact, serve as the venue’s launch event.
♦ Gogol Bordello, 6 p.m Aug. 17, Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee, $42.50. (773) 598-0852; concordmusichall.com. SPOTIFY: http://spoti.fi/15v3KZf
Jeff Elbel is a Sun-Times free-lance writer.