One Concert Review Every Five Years — Gogol Bordello & Frank Turner

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Frank Turner The Sleeping Souls at The Beachum, June 11, 2016

I took my daughter to see Frank Turner & Gogol Bordello at The Beachum last night.  Really, she took me.  I’m not a music journalist, as you will soon realize, so, I’m going to tell you how I felt.

First, Frank Turner and his band The Sleeping Souls.

How is it that these English dudes rock so well, yet they did not dress up in mandatory punk garb?  Frank Turner comes out with an acoustic guitar, and the whole band is wearing white dress shirts and short hair.  Hum.  The American “I’m different” formula involves showing off all your tattoos, a few piercings, plus a black concert shirt from some obscure hardcore band.  No, not Frank.  The music did the talking here.  Frank blew the room away.  High energy, folk infused punk music.  I loved it.  Frank Turner is a must see.  I know three of Frank Turner’s songs, and yet I loved every song he played last night.

This guy had me in tears several times.  Tears of rocking joy.  Now, folks react differently to the overwhelming power of music.  Back in the eighties, I saw The Who at (the old) Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  Great show, but no tears throughout most of the show.  Then, The Who broke into Won’t Get Fooled Again, and you know what happens in this song.  That’s right, the best keyboard bridge, ever, that ends with a classic Roger Daltrey scream.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.  Just as true today as it was 30 years ago.  The hair on my arms stood up.   To this day, one of the best live rock songs I’ve ever heard.  Having said that, Frank Turner was running at that high level most of his show.  Yes, Frank was that good, I’m just saying.

Second, Gogol Bordello.

I don’t know what to say.  After Frank Turner killed it, who would want to follow that?  The Who didn’t want to follow Jimi Hendrix after he lit his guitar on fire, and who could blame them?

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Gogol Bordello @ The Beachum, June 11, 2016

But, Gogol Bordello is on another level.  This band is driving in their own lane.  They own it.  There is nothing like this on Earth.  Seriously.  Unbelievable.  Best show I’ve seen in years, maybe decades.  This band had me in tears for practically the whole show–it was overwhelming.  I didn’t want it to end.  Nobody did.  And, I’ve seen my fair share of shows.

For example, I just saw Def Leppard at the Amway a few weeks ago.  Great show.  Loved it.  I had goosebumps when they played “Animal” and “Rock of Ages”.  I think they should have played Animal twice, it was that good.  I grew up in the 80’s, and you would have every right to revoke my 80’s credentials if I said otherwise.  That being said, a few goose-bump moments just cannot compare to Gogol Bordello–who reduced me to tears their entire show.  A grown man, crying.  I know.  I don’t understand it, I’m just telling you what happened.  Thank God everyone around me was too whipped up to ever glance over at me.  Another example.  I saw Matthew Sweet at The Social many years ago.  His song “Girlfriend” melted the entire room.   Amazing.  One of the best songs I’ve seen outside of Won’t Get Fooled Again.  Now, imagine that feeling for an entire show.  We humans are just not built to accept that much rock goodness in such a short period of time, its overwhelming.  That’s Gogol Bordello.

Where did they come from?  How is it that they rock so hard?  And most importantly, why am I not following this band around the country instead of working?  Yes, it was that good.  They’re playing in Poland later this month–I’m seriously considering flying over there to get my next fix.  It’s just that good.

My daughter Jessica with lead singer Eugene Hutz

My daughter Jessica with lead singer Eugene Hutz