Gogol Bordello, Night and Day, Manchester

Night and Day, Manchester

New York-based "Gypsy punks" Gogol Bordello are providing an interesting spin on Beatlemania. A girl dancer clad in multicoloured Romany-type rags is hauled onstage specifically to scream. A few minutes later, interestingly moustached frontman Eugene Hutz wraps the microphone cord around the front rows, causing them to start screaming too. It's only a matter of time before the rest of the audience follows suit and the gig produces the sort of noise associated with high-speed aircraft. This is all par for the course in the Gogol Bordello live experience. Their triumphantly demented performances have gathered a sizeable cult following. The band are a six-headed folk, fiddle and punk rock whirlwind. The audience bring cameras to record proceedings and some pledge allegiance with a succession of bizarre hats. The band's own headgear is hurled from the stage and hits me in the face.

The songs are like terrace chants warped by surrealism and cider. One song urges: "Start wearing purple!" Another, East Infection, sees the drainpiped, red star-bedecked Hutz removing his black shirt and using it to beat the crowd. The girl returns to play the kind of big drum usually seen in a circus, while Hutz plays a drum solo on an upturned fire bucket with such intensity that the microphone goes flying.

Their bonkers songs have subjects like bemoaning the unavailability of prostitutes, but beneath the irreverence there is content. Hutz says of the rich: "Do not envy them, my friend, they live their lives without love or faithful friend." Ivory towers don't generally vibrate to this kind of hypnotic, communal, delirious dance music either. "Fuck you! I don't give up!" sweat-soaked Hutz cries at imaginary foes, as he clambers on the big drum being carried triumphantly aloft by the crowd.

· At Audio, Brighton, tonight (01273 606906) and touring.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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