Thursday, February 2, 2006
Gypsy punks perform
I first read about the band Gogol Bordello in a New York Times feature article about how cool it is to be Russian in Manhattan these days. There was one line about a Ukrainian gypsy punk band, and it stuck with me forever. Ukrainian gypsy punk ... it sounded so, well, me.
When I saw that Gogol Bordello was touring with Cake and making a stop at The Fillmore in Denver, I bought two tickets for the show without ever having heard the band.
Fortunately, I have very good rock 'n' roll intuition. The members of Gogol Bordello are some of the best entertainers I've seen in a long time. The lead singer wore torn jeans and a belly dancer's jingling belt. He liked to jump off the stage onto the shoulders of the security guards so he could touch the audience.
But the highlight of the show, beyond the music, was the presence of two go-go dancers dressed in black-and-white-striped leotards, kneepads and washboards strapped to their backs. They played cymbals and drums and danced around. At one point, one of the girls rolled onto her back. Her pink panties were pulled down to her ankles and the singer used them as a slingshot to send T-shirts into the audience.
Good distribution technique. The nonstop action from the band and the dancers made me feel as if I was at the circus.
That feeling was amplified when one of the dancers threw her bass drum out into the audience, crawled on top of it and surfed through the crowd.
Holy crap. That's a performer.
On Friday night, snow was falling, but art lovers followed the orange glow coming from the doors of a bike shop on Yampa Street. It was the first January Thaw Show at Orange Peel Bicycle, and the place was packed. People were gathered around a large bowl of cheese puffs admiring all the bicycle-themed art.
Anne Rooney had a large wire man hanging from the ceiling. As always, Mary Yamamoto had created a simple but beautiful piece featuring some vintage bicyclists riding under a large orange sun. It sold immediately.
It also was the first time anyone had seen drawings by Don Searls. They were intricate, science-textbook examinations of bodies, birds and bikes.
In another room, Muhna-Muhna jammed out under the bright lights of the former coffeshop/smoothie shop.
The audience sipped Orange Crush soda and danced.
-- Autumn Phillips