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Osheaga (Almost) Live Blog: Flavours of Russia and Brazil with Gogol Bordello and CSS

Posted by Jenny / August 5, 2008

MGMT. It was mid-afternoon on the second day of the sweaty and sexy mess that is Osheaga, and that’s whom everybody was going to see on the MEG stage. But I just couldn’t. I left MGMT’s set in Paloma’s the competent hands and made a dash for the Mountain stage to see Gogol Bordello, a gypsy punk outfit based in New York, but composed of immigrants from Eastern Europe – just like yours truly.

As I told my fellow poutiners before abandoning them, catching this show was my patriotic duty.

Paloma wasn’t too far off when she said the set looked like a circus from afar. And, to the untrained eye, perhaps it did. If, however, you had the immeasurable privilege of being born –just like the famous song says- back in the USSR, Gogol Bordello’s set might’ve looked like a good old family reunion to you. (What, you mean that topless men with obnoxious, overgrown moustaches are not rampant at family reunions here, too?!! Scandalous.) But this afternoon, it didn’t matter. For one hour you could pretend that you, too, were Russian, as many attendees did, judging by the joyful dancing in front of the stage.

Later on that night, we were getting our fix of international flavours as we watched Brazilian electro-rock sextet CSS. Despite their name, the band showed no signs of being tired of being sexy, as lead singer Lovefoxxx bounced around in one of her signature bodysuits. The band performed a solid mix of songs from their debut album, “CSS,” and their fresh release, “Donkey.” The whole thing looked like it came straight out of ”The Wrecking Ball” by Christiana Spens, in one of the final scenes: We drink cider and talk about literature and London before straying off to get more cider and watch CSS and get lost in the middle of the crowds, absorbed into an atmosphere something like a Brazilian carnival crossed with a summer’s day in Green Park. (Alright, enough pompous name-dropping of obscure British fiction.) The band played fan favourites like “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above” and “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex,” and closed with ”Alala”.

I’m with Paloma on this: we should all seriously consider relocating. CSS’s set was off the hook.



Jenny / August 5, 2008 at 01:07 am
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that Gogol Bordello's set also featured scantilly-clad asian dancers. We have those at family parties, too. Seriously, if anybody wants to come to one of my parties, all you have to do is ask. ;)
O / August 5, 2008 at 01:24 am
Umm, I understand the "little slav brothers" and all that WWI posturing, but how exactly is Gogol Bordello Russian? As far as I can tell, they are, at best, partially Ukrainian.

They're still awesome, though.
Jenny / August 5, 2008 at 01:36 am
Sorry for the confusion. I DID only say that they were "Eastern European." Later on when I wrote "For one hour you could pretend that you, too, were Russian" it was more for imagery.

HOWEVER! The accordion player, Yuri Lemeshev, and the violin player, Sergey Ryabtsev, were both born in Russia. The band also has lyrics in Russian -NOT Ukrainian- in many of their songs.
O / August 5, 2008 at 04:54 pm
While you did title your post "Flavours of Russia", it seems they are more Russian than I gave you credit for- two Russian band members and lyrics in Russian definitely qualifes as Russian "flavouring".
Jenny / August 6, 2008 at 02:15 pm
"A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the begining of a new argument."

Thank you, Olivier dear, for being so compliant and not starting a new argument. :)
kim / August 7, 2008 at 09:52 am
Their set was my favourite I saw - pretty sure I didn't stop smiling the whole time they played.
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