Touched eugene.
Had eugene put mic to my mouth.
Ran to the bathroom.
Fell in love with them.

-Text message sent to my mother at 12:16 a.m. October 10th

I have seen Gogol Bordello before. Last year, Bumbershoot, on the lawn. I danced, screamed, sang, was kicked in the face by a crowd surfer, had a practical out of body experience, left, and then became profoundly sick on the ride home. The show was beautiful. The after wasn’t pretty, at all.

When I went to see them Thursday night at Seattle’s Showbox, I made sure to only eat a small breakfast of things that wouldn’t look too ugly when they came back up later (not that it really helped at all.)

I packed minimalist. I wore jeans and a spaghetti strap shirt under the cardigan that I later tied around my waist.

I made friends in the line. We talked about gypsy folk and gypsy punk alike. I was between one girl learning banjo and another learning accordion. The girl at my side had learned a phrase in Ukrainian to scream at the Eugene I texted my mother about. It was something along the lines of “I love you. You’re sexy. Hello.”

We all had similar sentiments about Gogol Bordello’s unconventionally attractive lead singer. We all girls rushed to the front of the stage.

Opening band Kal was fun and sounded like punk mariachi at moments. I developed a crush on the accordionist.

There was an inebriated dude behind me who kept using my back as a headrest. I wanted to punch him, but his girlfriend looked too scary.

Gogol Bordello took the stage.

I screamed. I danced. I danced. I danced. They played Ultimate and Sally. I screamed at the top of my lungs when they played Not a Crime. Eugene looked at me. I was front and center. He looked at me and smiled. I screamed. I thrust my fist hard into the air and felt completely outside of my body.

They began to play I Would Never Want to Be Young Again.

Eugene leapt off the stage and near the barrier. We touched him, hands scrambling for purchase, security guards looking uneasy. He was sweaty and bare-chested and disgusting. We touched him.

He looked at me. He pointed at me. He screamed “You!”, barely audible but I’d be damned if I didn’t hear it.

He put the microphone to my mouth.

I screamed. I screamed. I screamed.

Someone nudged the mic away and took away my ending.

I teared up, pushed at all sides by a pulsing crowd, my mouth dry and raw, me entire body covered in sweat, my bangs falling wetly over my eyes. I started to cry.

Songs passed. We danced.

Short interlude for me to run away and get sick, surreally listening to Alcohol while hunched over in the ladies’ disgusting bathroom.

I danced on the sidelines, I watched a crowd of people that swayed with joy. I listened to the rousing chorus of hundreds of people screaming Start Wearing Purple in unison. I laughed and smiled because this was a proper family of people joined together by one man and his technicolor band, running around in circles and creating chaos in their wake. A devastated economy and a pile of crap else to sift through in the morning newspaper. Student loans and babysitters. Divorces and random violence.

Our violence created out of joy in a petri dish of a club where evaporated sweat dripped down from the rafters.

It was escapism to the greatest degree. Even the men sitting in their seats, far to the back of the bar, swayed their hips and shouted the words.

We are joined by this band. We’ve lived them and we’ve breathed them and we know more of the world for them.



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