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Live review: Gogol Bordello might just be the best band that you’ve never heard of

Gogol Bordello deliver a live show that’s also a full-on live experience (Picture: Alison Clarke/Cli..

Live review: Gogol Bordello might just be the best band that you've never heard of
Gogol Bordello deliver a live show that’s also a full-on live experience (Picture: Alison Clarke/Cliqmo Photography)

In many ways Gogol Bordello are one of the best kept secrets in music – either you love them, or the mere mention of their name leaves you looking a bit lost and puzzled.

Because while the Ukrainian gypsy punkers haven’t really troubled the charts too much, they’ve got the kind of loyal following that enables them to sell out shows in the UK almost annually.

And while their music – a multi-instrumental blend of violins, accordions, guitar riffs, drums and a whole lot of swearing – might be an acquired taste, their gigs are a pretty unique experience that you may well love even if you have no idea who they are.

Thus it was as they brought their energetic, anarchic live act to Brixton Academy during their latest round of UK dates. For Gogol fans, this was business as usual, and as fabulous as ever. For the uninitated, we sense a few minds might just have been blown.

Throughout the course of a two-hour show, enigmatic frontman Eugene Hutz barely let the pace drop for a second, tearing through tracks from their great new album Seekers And Finders (Break Into Your Higher Self, We Did It All) alongside fan favourites from their extensive back catalogue (Not A Crime and Mishto! from the Gypsy Punks album proving particular highlights).

But in among the anarchic crowd-pleasing fare (their most famous track Start Wearing Purple prompted the inevitably joyful crowd singalong, while the subtly-titled Think Locally F**k Globally brought things to a rousing conclusion), there’s more to Gogol than simply raucous punk stylings.

Because this is a band that demonstrates true musical diversity in the sheer volume of different musicians and instruments that grace the stage throughout. From violins to drums, clarinet, accordion and even a tuba, the audience were treated to a veritable orchestra of sounds in the space of two hours, with the musical talent there for all to see.

Live review: Gogol Bordello might just be the best band that you've never heard of
Eugene Hutz could well be the coolest man in music (Picture: Alison Clark/Cliqmo Photography)

But away from that this was a show of many, many highlights, so much so that it’s hard to pick out the best. Maybe it was the bit with the random tuba man, or perhaps when they threw in other musical gems from their career such as Pala Tute or Wonderlust King, or when Hutz (who demonstrates more energy on stage than many performers half his age) decided to liven things up by soaking the front few rows by throwing the contents of a bottle of red wine over them.

Or perhaps it was the moment when he got the crowd to hold a large drum aloft, only to then stand on top of it and carry on singing – thus cementing Hutz’s status as a contender for the coolest man in music.

Not so much a live show then, as a true live experience. We’re not sure we’ll be forgetting this one in a hurry.

MORE: Queen and Adam Lambert retain the crown as best live band ever, even without Freddie Mercury

MORE: Review: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s Brixton Academy performance was anything but sloppy

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So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn

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Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.

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"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.

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Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

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