Gogol Bordello - Live from Axis Mundi [CD/DVD] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Gogol Bordello

Live from Axis Mundi [CD/DVD] (2009)


What do you get when you cross one of the lamest and most played-out formats available (live CD + DVD) with one of the most entertaining live acts in recent years? Well, not a bad release in this case.

The DVD is certainly the more fun part, capturing visually what can only be described as the world's foremost gypsy punk ensemble in their natural environment: a sweaty, liquored-up NYC club filled to capacity. That club is Irving Plaza, and for two nights in 2007, Gogol Bordello played passionate sets of their trademark Balkan/Ukrainian/dub/punk hybrid comprising their previous two releases and the then-new Super Taranta!. With an arsenal of cameras and more flashing lights than Battling Seizure Robots, the feel of the moment translates remarkably well through the TV screen. Among the highlights include vocalist Eugene Hutz climbing a stairway of amps into the balcony to give a female fan some affection, washboard instrumentals and the bongo drummer (?) coming out front and center to toast over the dancehall rhythm of an extended version of "Dogs Were Barking." There are also excellent live renditions of "60 Revolutions," "Not a Crime," and "Forces of Victory." The bonus features include music videos and "chronicles" which features a documentation of the creative process of making Super Taranta! from writing riffs, to lyrics, to Hutz making a scene on the boardwalk.

The CD is also good, but it's made up of mostly familiar songs, performed during BBC sessions, plus "Stivali E Colbacco" from the Super Taranta! sessions, "Troubled Friends" from the Gypsy Punk sessions and several demos. It's good music, but nothing really new for most Gogol Bordello fans.

There aren't many bands who can rival the live show of Gogol Bordellow (perhaps Gwar, the Aquabats, or Peelander-Z among the few). And though this is certainly no adequate replacement for experiencing the band in concert, it does manage to capture the energy, vitality, and recklessness of two nights with Gogol Bordello.