Eugene Hütz and Regina Spektor are two of the most charismatic performers working today. If you’ve seen them in concert you know you can’t take your eyes off them. And now they’ve made a video for the song they recorded together.
Director Nate Pommer says, “The live footage was shot at The Fonda Theater on March 5th, 2018; an especially epic bonanza-tronic show featuring the transcendent Regina Spektor. Footage of the performance was combined with a series of curated images related to Alchemy, Hermeticism, and esoteric knowledge. The message is open to interpretation, but we can agree that understanding ‘The Ultimate Truth’ requires a set of tools more powerful than reason or intellect.”
I don’t know anything about the ultimate truth, but I know I would’ve like to have been at the Fonda Theater on March 5!
Riot Fest once again proved itself to be the music fest for grownups. Grownups in black t-shirts.
While all the other big festivals rotate the same dozen headliners, it’s great that Riot Fest has retained its punk rock focus. Maybe not as strictly as during its first several years as a multi-venue festival, but most of the performers still fall somewhere along the punk rock spectrum. And even the ones who don’t play distorted guitars could be said to have a punk rock attitude. Gotta respect that.
Riot Fest sometimes gets accused of cashing in on nostalgia. Sure, a lot of the bands peaked 20 or 30 years ago (or more). But the fact that they’re still around and kicking ass is a testament not only to their survival but to our own. We should all hope we age as gracefully as the most of these artists (Al Jourgensen excepted).
Headliners this year were Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and a reunited Jawbreaker, playing their first full show in 21 years (other than a couple warm up gigs around San Francisco last month). The headliners get the big font on the poster, but fest diehards know that the undercard is always where the action is.
It was hot and sunny when we got to the park on Friday. You never know what you’re going to get in September in Chicago, but you can usually count on at least some rain. The line to get in was down the block and security was being thorough. I heard one guy complaining that they had opened his cardboard cigarette case the wrong way and wrecked it. A woman behind me was worried she was going to miss X, who she had last seen in 1983 with the Replacements opening up for them! Don’t worry, she made it in with time to spare.
Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hütz told Consequence of Sound: “The theme here is a Rite of Passage, or rather its absence of it in our society… However, it is still necessary. So, it’s about putting yourself through a test and demolition of ego where the soul matures. As you know, generally speaking people divide themselves into young and old souls, but how do they get there? By simply aging or mindlessly clicking like-no like buttons? Fuck no. By using their free will and focus to accumulate necessary experience… a pass into a more composed state, if u will…”
Gogol Bordello plays Riot Fest at 6:35 PM on Saturday, September 16.
Gogol Bordello is a fun, fun band. It’s impossible to not get wrapped up in their enthusiasm. They played Lollapalooza in 2010 and my college-age cousin who was staying with us and watching our kid that summer highly recommended them. But like most grouchy older dudes, I stupidly dismissed the opinions of a young girl. But I ended up catching the last 15 minutes of their set that year which was enough to convince me that 1) Gogol Bordello is a hell of a band, and 2) young girls are way cooler than grouchy old dudes. I’m learning. It’s a process.
So this year they were near the top of my “must see” list. And they delivered. What a show. Frontman Eugene Hütz crashed onto the stage chugging and spilling a bottle of red wine, his guitar flailing around his body on the world’s flimsiest strap, and he sang in a thick Russian accent with conviction and charisma.