Gogol Bordello + Mariachi El Bronx + Hoffmaestro @ The Roundhouse, London

13th December, 2014
Review by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Graham Hilling

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

When it was announced that the kings of gypsy punk Gogol Bordello are coming to play at the famous Roundhouse in London on the 13th of December, 2014, it was clear that it’s going to be a gig not to miss. Even more so, when Gogol Bordello announced that they’re bringing Mariachi El Bronx and Hoffmaestro as their support acts.

So if you like a bit of punk rock, a bit of gypsy boogie and even mariachi… If you enjoy going to gigs and being surrounded by genuinely happy people going nuts and having the time of their life, you were most likely there to witness it all for yourself. So were we, and here’s what went down…

First gang on tonight are the crazy and ever so epic 11-man-band Hoffmaestro from Sweden bringing us an energetic and fresh mix of punk, reggae, hip-hop and every other genre your mind can possibly allow yourself to throw in there.

Hoffmaestro Hoffmaestro

Hoffmaestro don’t struggle too much to captivate the crowd with their fun and eclectic performance that includes two drummers, plenty of tubes and guitars, as well as towel spinning (which might seem a little confusing in the beginning, but we’d like to think it’s something the band does to release more energy and create even more chaotic buzz on stage).

Hoffmaestro Hoffmaestro

As well as delivering an all-over energetic performance, Hoffmaestro also manage to absolutely and completely demolish the fact that opening bands can’t work the crowd as good (or even better) than the headliners. Making the crowd to run along from one side of the stage to the other, Hoffmaestro guys make damn sure that each and every person in the crowd are having a ball within the first minutes after they’ve entered the venue.

Hoffmaestro Hoffmaestro

For future reference and just in case Hoffmaestro are the opening band, we’d like to recommend anyone to get to the venue early enough, just to avoid missing the most fun part of the evening.

 

Hoffmaestro Hoffmaestro

Second band on tonight are the highly anticipated punk rockers usually known as The Bronx from the sunny state of California, USA. However, this time, instead of bringing The Bronx back to UK, they are here to introduce their ultimate side project known as Mariachi El Bronx.

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

Different from The Bronx, Mariachi El Bronx is an eight-man-band taking the musical elements from traditional Mariachi and presenting them in a slightly more modern and quite tongue-in-cheek way.

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

While the band and their approach to Mariachi might not be taken completely serious by some, their musical talent and credibility is undeniable. The only female in the band Rebecca Schlappich alone plays over three different instruments (violin, accordion, guitar…) throughout the performance and steals the show right away, while the other guys improve theperformance by adding some excellent melodies and techniques.

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

With instrumental parts taken straight from old-school Mexican and Western films and suited up in the best Mariachi band traditions, the guys on stage might look smart and dead serious, yet the punk rock vibe and attitude is very present even in the way Matt Caughthran addresses the crowd not watching the ‘F’ word in the slightest. .

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

And there’s no doubt that tonight is all about having fun, as Gogol Bordello’s ukulele/guitar player joins Mariachi El Bronx on stage for yet another epic number that gets the crowd going and prepares the room for tonight’s headliners.

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

As well as the crowd, Mariachi El Bronx themselves seem delighted to be here in London announcing that today marks the first time when they’ve gone to a ‘real soccer game’ (football, you mean!?) and are playing at ‘the devil’s eardrum’ – The Roundhouse.

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

If you find yourself to be a fan of The Bronx, punk rock, mariachi or anything slightly different, we recommend you catch Mariachi El Bronx on their upcoming UK headline tour in February, 2015.

Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx

 

And when it’s finally time for tonight’s headliners Gogol Bordello to hit the stage, the venue is completely packed out with one of the craziest crowd The Roundhouse has seen in a long time.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

Within the first chord of Gogol Bordello performance, the crowd goes absolutely and completely mental. There’s beer being splashed around over everyone’s heads, there’s bodies being lifted and thrown across the room, there’s fights, there’s love and over all – there’s nothing but true emotions and energy.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

With a punk rock attitude, yet theatrical performance, Gogol Bordello deliver a show full of sing-along tunes, uplifting energy and wine. Lots of wine.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

Playing a selection of his biggest hits like, “We Rise Again,” “Start Wearing Purple,” “Wonderlust King” and more, Gogol Bordell

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

o with Eugene Hutz fronting the band are no beginners when it comes to pleasing their crowd. Being in a band with about eight other musicians could be a struggle for some, however guys in Gogol Bordello are the ultimate professionals and great characters who supplement each others unique performance and genuinely work their asses off to put on not just a great gig, but THE show of the year.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

With an Eastern European twist to their gypsy punk music, it appears that Gogol Bordello music can be truly understood after a highly recommended trip to any country in Eastern Europe where you’d get ‘fucked up’ on local booze (probably vodka) with the natives, dance to the sound of accordion and let yourself get ‘drunk under the table’ without any shame. Life changing moments guaranteed.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

Throughout Gogol Bordello performance, there is not a single person standing still in the pit. This is the ultimate party. The ultimate gig where people can let go and just have a great time dancing to music that makes you want to down vodka and jump around like an insane person.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

When was the last time you went to a gig and saw a prosthetic leg being thrown around the crowd…? Exactly! Never.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

So ultimately, Gogol Bordello are for people who like to have fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. If you’d like to think that you fit in this category, please, do yourself a favour and go see Gogol Bordello live.

Gogol Bordello Gogol Bordello

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