It Was Unequivocally Designed To Make Your Body Rock…

…in which I talk about our latest adventure into Dallas.

In my recollection, it was about two months ago in the sleepy town of Denton that we first became aware of the fact that Gogol Bordello was to depart from a faraway land and return to the nation of their birth, the United States. Such an return as this was deserving of a most excellent party, and they kindly decided to share it with all the peoples of this country. As a part of this celebration, they would not only bring around vodka and marinated herring, but also they would bring an nearly illegal amount of gypsy punk!

I’ve been listening to Gogol Bordello for maybe a year now, and while I am no superfan, I am pretty fucking fond of their music. I am not, however, one to go to a concert stag style. I didn’t really give the idea of going to see them much of a second thought because I figured I could find no one to go with me. It turns out that I should maybe have made the suggestion to Heather earlier.

Time passed and I once again lamented aloud the fact that I would really enjoy going to see them live and how I wished that I could find someone to go with me. Heather volunteered that while she hardly knows the band or music, she’s perfectly fine going with me. I interrogated her, trying to gauge whether she really wanted to go, or just wants me to be happy (she does that a lot). I am pretty sure she only did it to make me happy, but best intentions often turn out even better, as I will explain shortly.

That's a LOT of percussion!
Our view of the stage

That night, I hopped online and reserved “best seats” that $80 could buy. We could have paid less but, damnit, we’re too old to stand in General Admission anymore. After hitting submit, I headed back into the bedroom to give Heather the good news. She then realized, and shared with me, the fact that the show was only two weeks away. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me, but at that point everything was getting pretty spontaneous.

For the next two weeks, I listened to Gogol off and on to get my spirits up.

The night of the show, we left Ansel with Angela (or rather, we left Angela with Ansel) and headed down to Dallas. We had hoped to stop and grab a bite to eat along the way, but after three outfit changes (yes, I’m a girl) we were running a little late. We actually made really good time and even though we didn’t stop for food, we had plenty of time to walk all around the Dallas West End looking for something quick to eat. Funny enough, in the time it took us to find a Subway, we could have eaten at any of the “sit down” restaurants closer to the venue.

Despite everything, we still got to House of Blues early enough to still have to stand around for a half an hour or more waiting for the doors to open.

Neither of us had been to House of Blues before (since we don’t really go out that much) but it was a nice, albeit compact, venue. The balcony still had a wicked view of the stage and even our last minute tickets were still more than enjoyable. The longer we waited in our seats, the more we realized we could have taken our time to eat because it was even a while longer before the opening act came on stage. They were a fun Latin styled rock band that took us half of their set for us to finally realize their name was Grupo Fantasma. They were really fun and did some great songs including a cover of Burning Down The House (which just now became funnier to me since we were at the House of Blues).

We sat through the next intermission with rising anticipation. The house music was good and kept us pretty entertained. There was a lot of Pogues and Flogging Molly. There was also an awesome mash-up of Black Sabbath and Ludacris mixed together by Girl Talk. Finally, from our offset vantage point, we could see the band gathering back stage.

Gogol Bordello at House of Blues, Dallas, TX
Gypsy punk at it’s finest!

The show was great and the crowd was definitely driven by their music. Their lineup was a little smaller than normal, featuring only seven of their regular lineup and a replacement guitarist. That didn’t make any difference to their energy output, though, as everyone seemed to be fully into the performance. The music was incredible and the songs drunkenly flowed from one to the next (not to say that the music sounded “drunk” but everything just slurred together smoothly).

I think one of the things that made me enjoy the show even more was my second viewing of Gogol Bordello: Non-Stop the previous evening. It gave me a bit more of an intimate connection to the band. Seeing the same folks on stage after having watched them go through the process of become a band made me feel like they were more real, and somehow I felt a sense of pride for them. It made me appreciate their work and their performance that much more. They still feel like their a young band, finding their way in the world, and whether that is true or not, I’m proud to be a part of that.

At the end of the show, the band hopped down into the trench between the stage and the “pit” and shook hands with the fans at the front. It was the first time I’ve ever seen that, and it was the first point I was truly disappointed that we got balcony seats instead of floor. I really didn’t think about it much about it after we left, though, because on our way down the four flights of stairs from the balcony, something unexpected happened.

I mentioned earlier that I changed outfits three times (that’s actually being generous, it was probably closer to five or six… shut up!). I ended up wearing my UtiliKilt in the end. Heather and I joked about the fact that up in the balcony, and in the dark, no one would care if we wore sweatpants. It turned out that my choice of outfit didn’t go unnoticed. As we were leaving, the drummer passed me on the stairs and remarked excitedly about my kilt while reaching out to shake my hand and clap me on the shoulder (he too was wearing a kilt).

Angela teases us for not being spontaneous and never doing anything, and justly so. We really don’t ever do anything. Part of this is because we don’t want to be a burden to our friends, getting them to watch Ansel for us, and part of it is because we’re frequently just content to sit at home and watch a movie on TV. For a last minute, nearly spontaneous decision, we had a fantastic time. The next day, Heather bought a Grupo Fantasma album, and I looked on Last.FM to see if there were any concert suggestions for me. EdgeFest is looking pretty good this year, and I noticed that Peter Gabriel is coming to town…

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