Saturday, January 27, 2007


Still, dead animals notwithstanding, the Kolpakov Trio (ably assisted by a respectfully subdued Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello) show at The Cube, Bristol, on wednesday was fucking fabulous. Sold out, apparently, but my editor performed some serious voodoo to get me in.

Great to hook up w/ the legendary Skipper Webb aka The Lilac Butcher. Always a fucking pleasure, Mark.

We watched Pavla Fleischer's remarkable film "The Pied-Piper of Hutzovina", that documents Hutz's road-trip across Eastern Europe to meet his musical guru, Russian Roma maestro 'Sasha' Kolpakov in Chita, the Siberian "City of Exiles", a retro-city that still has prominent Soviet-era statues of Lenin, etc. Along the way, the pair visit run-down Carpathian Gypsy transit-camps that redefine the word squalor. The film is both incredibly moving and funny. I've written a magazine piece about it that you'll hopefully be able to read fairly soon...the film is out soon on DVD with plenty of extra scenes of Hutz jamming with Czech gypsies, and is thoroughly recommended.

Afterwards, a Q&A with Fleischer & Hutz, in wh/ I asked him about his Kiev Perestroika Punk roots, rather than the Gypsy angle wh/ the film covered pretty well...more on that at a later date...

The Kolpakov Trio were incredible, rattling thru an uplifting set of Trad. Russian Gypsy Songs. By the end of the first song, the whole of The Cube were hollerin' and clappin' like drunken uncles at a Hungarian wedding. Songs of love, loss and life from a 1000yr-old stateless nation. Amazing stuff.

But the best part was the trio of lilting, lyrical 7-string gtr instumentals played by Sasha and his nephew Vadim. The instrumentals were beyond stunning: a masterclass in intuitive virtosity, tempered by some deep, deep emotion. For 10 minutes, the spirit of Django Reinhardt descended on the venue. I had what I can only describe as a Multiple Library Moment.

Hutz played a mashed-up DJ set of Gypsy Punk, dancehall and global trash-beats down at the Tube later on, but we didn't go. The Skipper put it more eloquently than I ever could...he said: "If I go, then I'll wake up tomorrow and just remember I went to a club. If I don't go, then I'll wake up tomorrow and remember that I went to this." Yeah, it was fucking special, for sure.

So we went for a few drinks and a suss. And at 2am, we found ourselves up by the old observatory overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge, lit up at night.

A special, special night.


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