ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., Oct. 3, 2008
Gogol BordelloFriday, Sept. 26, Zilker Park
Traffic and crowds conspired against me reaching Gogol Bordello's set on time, but if I hadn't been late, I wouldn't have seen the free-spirited, bikini-clad young women jumping off a bridge into Town Lake while the gypsy punk band's infectious "Super Taranta!" bounced off the water and trees. It was a quintessential Austin late-summer moment, full of promise and energy and celebration of life. Once inside Zilker Park, the crush of humanity set to the soundtrack of the Men-at-Work-meets-dancehall-reggae of "Tribal Connection" took the bloom off the rose, at least for this old curmudgeon. While Gogol Bordello's goulash of multi-kulti immigrant punk narrative has become popular on the festival circuit, in this context, it lacks the grit and danger of a more intimate club performance, the message lost amid the distractions of feathered stoles and dancers that look like a cross between Coors Light girls and low-impact aerobics instructors.