Monday, February 2, 2009

Gogol Bordello Non-Stop

On Saturday night, I took a trip downtown to see the new Gogol Bordello Documentary, "Gogol Bordello Non-Stop". A new venue, 92Y Tribeca, was hosting the screening and it's a pretty nice little place. We were scheduled to see the 9pm show so we had to wait a bit in the cafe area while the 7pm show was wrapping up. Just before 9pm, they ushered us into a small theater, I'd guess there were maybe 150-200 people in the room so it was a pretty tight group. A woman from the theater staff came out to introduce the movie and let us know that the director, Margarita Jimeno, was also there and we'd have a short Q&A session after the movie.....and off we went.

"Gogol Bordello Non-Stop" documents the band's rise from New York City local band to a group that now headlines international festivals. The early footage gives us the history of lead singer Eugene Hutz, his travels from the Ukraine to the United States and his early struggles trying to get on his feet. We get to see early performances at the Bulgarian Bar, impromptu jam sessions with Manu Chao and the detailed formation of Gogol Bordello. As the movie progresses, we get to know the band members and learn how the group was assembled through a series of strange and random encounters.

The footage spans a great deal of the band's career, from early performances in the late 90s to recent shows around the world with rabid fans. There's a lot of behind the scenes footage too, interviews with the band members, shots from within their van traveling across the US, studio session clips and just some great and hilarious candid footage with Eugene. Probably the funniest clip is taken from a home video of Eugene as a kid in the 80s dancing to Michael Jackson in his parent's apartment.....there's actually quite a few funny scenes that had the audience laughing.

When Margarita came out for the Q&A session, I asked if there were any plans to take the documentary across the country to other cities. They said that there are plans but they're not solidified yet...... there may be some coordination when the band tours to show it in those cities.

We also found out that they've entered the movie into several festivals and were going to be traveling quite a bit with it......even down to Mexico and Argentina, and perhaps Chile.

The guitarist, Oren Kaplan, was sitting next to us and they also brought him down in front during the Q&A. Someone asked him what the new material's going to sound like and he said "Spaghetti", which got a laugh out of the crowd. He said that Eugene is living down in Brazil and we'll hear some of those influences on the new album that they're going to start recording soon.

I don't want to give too much away, the documentary is about 85 minutes long but seemed to go by quicker than that. It's extremely entertaining and I think any fan of the band would like it, and to be honest I think people that are just fans of music would find it enjoyable.

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