Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Miss Gogol Bordello!

Eugene Hütz has become somewhat of a sex symbol in his own right and rightfully so.
It was 2007, I was living in the East Village finishing up my miserable BA in Cinema Studies. My good friend Erin was always down to meet me at the local watering hole slash only place we ever met for drinks, the now closed Cooper 35 in Cooper Square  near the Bowery, and one of these nights we were talking music. I mentioned this band called Gogol Bordello which everyone in New York between 19 and 25 seemed to be in fervent love with. After about 5 or 6 whiskey sours, we decided we were going to walk, yes walk to the Lower East Side to this bar we'd always heard of but not yet had the balls to visit called Mehanata. The story was that it was a Bulgarian bar in existence for over 20 years and was basically the hub in which Gogol Bordello was born. 

Gogol Bordello, a band that fused authentic Eastern European gypsy folk songs with American punk rock. It's a good thing.
I made eyes with the door guy and he let us all in for free. We walked into a dim smokey bar playing Easter European fusion punk gypsy music. The air was illuminated with red tinted christmas lights and revealed a few strange New York City types sitting around, speaking Russian to each other with a bottle of Vodka at each table. We made our way to the bar and the bartender insisted that we drink Rakia, a kind of Bulgarian moonshine not even available in the states unless you bought it on the black market which they always did. It was delicious, and we got wasted in a matter of minutes. Then we went downstairs. 
Downstairs was a whole different animal. It felt like a seedy club. There was a DJ booth, and a few crystal balls from 1972. Strobe lights were the only source of light down there, and myself and Erin soon learned that we didn't have to walk all the way through people and up the stairs to the outside to chain smoke; our favorite activity. You could apparently do it on the back stairs whilst a drunk girl leans up against your knee and tells you you're beautiful. 
Eventually it started getting crowded and around 1am Erin and I decided that we needed fresh air to have a cigarette in (oh the fucking irony) and we shimmied our way through dancers and goosestepped our way over drunks until we were at the entrance. We lit up and talked about god knows what for a few minutes. All of a sudden, I see her eyes get extremely wide and her speech getting instantly slow. She seemed to be looking at something directly over my shoulder, and I was horrified at the thought that there might be a really tall ghost breathing just on the back of my neck. After a few seconds of drunken hesitation I turn around only to be shoved slightly into her direction (she was in front of me) and I felt bangles hit the small of my back. Before I had a chance to look and see what was behind me, a pair of large hands steadied me from behind and a soft voice spoke 'scuze me doorling', and I knew exactly who it was. 
Don't get too excited, I don't like Madonna, here's a still from her film Filth and Wisdom (2007) with Eugene Hutz who basically plays himself, and Gogol Bordello appears in the film as his character's band.
It was urban legend that Eugene Hütz, the charismatic, enigmatic and eccentric lead singer of Gogol Bordello still showed up to DJ at the bar that had made him famous, and all of a sudden, there he was, decked out in striped skinny jeans, a spangled gypsy scarf wrapped around his waste and that unmistakable handlebar mustache, bumping into me. I was stunned. It was up to par with a normal person bumping into I dont know...Brad Pitt. He was even more amazing in person. Around 6'3, with the most commanding presence, we immediately followed him in and basked in his presence at the bar, trying to non-chalantly stare at him. Neither of us had the nuts to talk to him, but we did end up dancing our asses off, and were at Mehanata every Saturday hence forth until I moved to to the Upper West Side when I began my Master's at Columbia (humblebrag!) and it was just too far to travel. I listened to them all day and all night for a good year after that experience until they stopped coming out with new music, and I'm just wondering two things, well three things; 1. Why have they not recorded a new album? 2. When can I come back to New York and go straight to Mehanata from JFK? 3. Miss Erin Kenealy, will you still come with me when I go? 

Here are some videos and clips, get into them, they're awesome! 

The first one is a video for their most famous song 'Start Wearing Purple' which was actually filmed right in Mehanata when the band was starting out and had no money, having to shoot at wherever they were welcome. 

Below is a trailer for a film that Zhenya (that's a casual way to refer to someone named Eugene in Russian btdubs) called 'Everything is Illuminated' (2005) and turns out he's a bloody good actor too. 

Below the trailer for 'Filth and Wisdom' (2008), where Hutz basically plays himself. 

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