Gogol a Go-Go

Eugene Hütz's Gypsy Punk Cabaret Takes New York

On record, Gogol are more disciplined than they are live. Hütz describes his band's second album, due out in September on Rubric Records, as a "hammer," whereas the first one (1999's Voi-La Intruder) was a "sickle." "Aside from all the grotesque humor and debauchery, it also has pretty clear ideological statements. Even with the name of it—Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony—I feel like we're going against ironic treatment of the world and culture and life. Unless you see more people speaking from the heart, we're gonna continue to rage about that—drunk, sober, or lobotomized."

"Rebelling against politics in Ukraine is like brushing your teeth."
photo: Willy Somma
"Rebelling against politics in Ukraine is like brushing your teeth."

The centerpiece of the new album is "Baro Foro," which translates alternately as "undying power" and "strong city" and happens to be the best track on the Voice's recent Love Songs for New York compilation. At the Whitney last month, a 15-minute version had the mostly young, mostly white audience jumping and writhing and pulling off their best imitation of whatever Eastern European dance seemed appropriate. Hütz hacked at his acoustic guitar and crowd-surfed while the band repeated the song's sad, strong, heartfelt eight-bar refrain until the tiny downstairs performance space threatened to froth over with bodies. The song had the same effect when "DJ Gogol Hütz" spun it at his weekly gypsy/punk/rai/Spanish hip-hop/turbofolk/no wave/dub dance party at Mehanata two Saturdays ago, just as it sent audiences into a frenzy during a recent European tour. Hütz credits these transnational rave-ups to the universal appeal of "extreme music." "What I love is social and cultural chaos. What I love is to see people from Brazil and Mexico and Yugoslavia and Switzerland and Russia and Germany going fucking insane at our shows. We love becoming a larger family through these people."

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