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Monday, 03 June 2013 15:56

Concert review: Gogol Bordello and Act Rights twist through the tornado with rebellious love at the Pageant, Friday, May 31

Concert review: Gogol Bordello and Act Rights twist through the tornado with rebellious love at the Pageant, Friday, May 31 gogolbordello.com
Written by Joe Duepner
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What did people say about Woodstock? If you can remember it all you weren't actually there? Same goes for a Gogol Bordello show. If you somehow avoided the Eastern dance infection and the temptation to imbibe against paeans like "Alcohol" you must have left the raucous ruckus of the Pageant for the semi-weekly Missouri tornado.

Sliding onto stage at exactly 8 p.m., the three-piece Act Rights of Austin, Texas shattered the ice of a glacially stagnant crowd. Their piercing dual-guitar sound forced everyone to pay attention even if the crowd didn't feel the Act Rights mentally as much as physically. About halfway through the set, they introduced a hairy monstrosity of a bass player they dubbed "The King of Metal in Austin." The rounding out of their sound with bass to complement the drums and tamp down the shrilling guitars combined with a couple drinks to get the crowd going. As the lead singer told the crowd, "You've made it through us, now you can advance to Gogol Bordello."

The stage backdrop was a large yellow square with the iconic gypsy slingshot and a black-masked ballerina. The world "revolution" diagonally crossed the banner in a backwards font with the letters of "love" in red and forwards. Black-masked fighters in Turkey take note: a water cannon may be stronger than a rock, but nothing is stronger than love. Off to the right of the stage a 15-foot-tall lighthouse emblazoned with "Rio Luz" towered over everything.

From the get-go it was madman Gogol non-stop. Lead singer Eugene Hütz paraded and swooped around the stage with a guitar slung over his shoulder and either a microphone or sloshing bottle of wine in the other. Reportedly in his 60s, violinist Sergey Ryabtsev broke the spell of age and flew about, leaping on boxes and vigorously gesturing at the crowd for over an hour. It was MC/hypeman/percussionist Pedro Erazo that pumped the lifeblood through Gogol though. Clad in traditional Ecuadorian garb, covered in the flags of many nations, he was a blur of color and noise all over the stage. Leading the crowd in callbacks of "Hey" and "Break the Spell," he ensured neither side of the building suffered a dip in energy.

The encore took up almost an entire third of the set. That final third included "Pala Tute" and then closed out with a new tune. The set ended the way they all do for Gogol, with introductions and a line bow. Apparently the world outside was being torn apart by another giant tornado, but you couldn't feel it over the amount of rebellious love swirling inside the Pageant.

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