Show Review: Gogol Bordello at The Fox Oakland, 10/15/09

by Gordon Elgart on October 16, 2009

Between the pit and the constant movement on stage, photo opportunities were few and far between.

Between the pit and the constant movement on stage, photo opportunities were few and far between.

I was standing by the door into the floor last night when someone walked by, looked inside the floor section of the Fox Theater, and said, “Oh good, it’s a small venue.” I had the opposite reaction when I heard Gogol Bordello was playing the Fox, as it’s a big venue for them, and specifically for our time together.  Though I missed the Bottom of the Hill days, I did spend a few evenings with them at Slim’s, throwing back vodka shots and carrying Eugene Hutz around over my head.  How would the insanity of a Gogol Bordello show translate to this classic theater?

I missed the opening band, Apostle of Hustle, because I was doing my normal volunteer work at the Fox. I could hear them but not see them, so my basic remarks are that they sounded fine, but were loud enough where it was hard for the Fox customers to hear me when I tried asking them for their ticket. <Editor’s note:  Our originally assigned reviewer for this show broke his arm recently and is unable to type, so I apologize for my poor reporting on the opening band.>

Everytime Gogol Bordello walks on stage, a riot pretty much starts in their pit.  Tonight was no different, as the crowd burst into motion as soon as the first note was played.  I couldn’t see from my first vantage point, but I imagine that some people were taken by surprise and moved toward the back, because when I was finally able to make my way down to the pit, it was hard to get to the pit but easy to move around once there.

The small venue/large venue thing didn’t seem to matter so much once I got into the pit.  The ferocity I’ve always seen from the band audience was evident. The band seemed to be playing just for us, looking down at the pit a lot more than they looked up at the balcony.  I didn’t know at first if the entire venue was engaged–spending too much time jumping around–but when I looked up during the closing “Baro Faro” (which was more like a “Baro Faro” megamix with bits of “Undestructable” and other songs), everyone was standing and dancing on the balcony.  Looks like they did it.

Gogol Bordello was scheduled to play about two hours, and considering their shows are quite the workout–for the band and its fans, I was wondering how this could possibly be the case.  When they walked offstage for the last time about 90 minutes after they started, I dragged myself to the back of the room to get some much needed water.  I was tired, but it was a good tired.


My friend Anna was able to snag a setlist, so I photographed it:

Gogol Setlist

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline October 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

From what I remember of the opening band, they seemed to link the Gypsy Kings.

Were the drums taken out into the crowd?


rock October 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm

No drums in the crowd. Most of the crowd were on their cell phones.Opening band sucked. No real songs, just noise and quirky rythms. Not Sonic Youth noise, more like a kid with his first amp or a new computer making sounds. Keep 'em Canada.
Gogol rocked as always. Fuck Disneyland, Gogol is the happiest place on the earth. Their shows are more like celebrations. The concert high lasts for days.


Joel's Hit Show October 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm

They should have played at the Fox in Redwood City. I walk by it on my way to the Caltrain station every day.


Gordon Elgart October 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

If you like the Fox in Redwood City, maybe you should buy it next week!


Name October 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm

The balcony was on fire too, don't doubt it! 😉 Such an amazing performance by GB, first time I've been able to catch them! I can die a happy chica now. 🙂 (I agree, the opening band sucked; sooo not worthy!)


leaf October 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I don’t believe that “Apostle of Hustle” was the actual opening act. The mics all night had so much distortion, I have no idea how anyone understood a word, but the opening act was not a canadian indie rock band. I read this review hoping to find out the name of the opening act. Alas.

I disagree with previous comments deriding the opening act; I thought their brazillian folk influenced rhythms were a really good warm up for GB, especially based on the dancing from the crowd for a band nobody had heard of before.


Gordon Elgart October 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Apostle of Hustle was the opening band when they played at The Fox last year, which this is a review of.

Last night, the opening band was Forro in the Dark.


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