Gogol Bordello perform at Rams Head Live! on Dec. 31, 2021. (Photo by Rashad Polk)
It can sometimes be a struggle to decide on what to do for New Years Eve. Many people choose the ring in the new year in a variety of ways. In the DMV there’s no shortage when it comes to venues for the most common styles of New Year’s celebrations – places of worship, raucous parties, or gathering to take in live music. At a Gogol Bordello show music is religion, their live show is always a party, and Rams Head Live was understandably the ideal place to welcome the magnificent year of 2022.
The gypsy punks from New York, led by Eugene Hutz, delivered a blazing 23 song set that both closed out 2021 and kickstarted 2022 with a delicate balance of ferocity and groove.
After charging through “Break Into Your Higher Self” from 2017’s Seekers and Finders album, it was time for a short break to count in the New Year celebration with a traditional balloon drop and champagne toast.
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I’m not sure who was more eager for the music to resume – the band, or the fans – but whoever it was ended up getting their way. The set quickly resumed with Hutz playing guitar and singing a stripped down version of “Lucky Year.” Not only was the song choice a return to the setlist staple from the band’s early shows, it was also a fitting choice to kick off 2022.
In addition to playing the unreleased “Lucky Year”, two other new songs were performed as well. With any luck these newer songs will be available in the near future. Two different feels with one being higher tempo ska, and the other slightly less higher tempo reggae, but both very danceable tunes nonetheless.
Much like the audience in attendance, the band themselves found it impossible to stand still with band members dancing from the front of the stage to the back of the stage, across the stage, on top of equipment. Pretty much anything found onstage ran the risk of becoming a percussion instrument, balloon drop remnants included. Vocalist Ashley Tobias served double duty picking up a bass drum “Start Wearing Purple”, “Think Locally, Fuck Globally”, and “Undestructable”, but got creative during the last tune of the night and decided to put down the drum in favor of popping gold and black balloons in time with the rhythm.
Check out more photos of Gogol Bordello performing at Rams Head Live! in Baltimore on Dec. 31, 2021. All photos copyright and courtesy of Rashad Polk.