Wanderlustful - Page 2

Gogol Bordello storms Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Plus: Plastic People of the Universe land to Rock 'n Roll
|
(0)
Gogol to go

"If we didn't understand what [those bands] were saying," Karafiát says, "we kind of felt what those guys were talking about."

PPU's untamed shenanigans led to, for example, the jailing of freejazz sax player Vratislav Brabenec for a year. As he states via translator by e-mail, "Most of our adventures were crazy, as you can imagine. After the arrests in 1977, most of our concerts were suicidal. We didn't know if the secret police would come and kill us or put us back in jail. But we had a lot of support from [future President] Havel and the underground culture. Trying to record albums in Havel's barn under our situation — no real power source, police lurking around — it was all an adventure." Eventually, Brabenec was forced to flee to Canada.

It's remarkable to think that PPU and their compelling skronk still persists, years after the Czechoslovakian government tried to grind them down and despite their continued underground status in their homeland. "We are on the edge," says the guitarist with a chortle. "Most Czechs are consumers. They consume TV, McDonald's, and there's just small group of people looking for something different." Those unusual suspects could find it at the slew of PPU sets before and after Rock 'n' Roll performances in the Czech Republic.

But perhaps that's another reason we're feeling that Old World sound: maybe we're looking for the type of resilience integral to powerful, affecting art forged during tough times. With those survival skills, slipping onto the bill of bluegrass and country at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 8 is a cinch. "Speed metal bills, jazz bills, traditional Egyptian music bills," Hütz says. "We're entirely inappropriate everywhere!"

GOGOL BORDELLO

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Sun/5, 4:15 p.m., free

Star Stage, Speedway Meadow

Golden Gate Park, SF

www.strictlybluegrass.com

Also benefit for Muttville

Sun/5, 9 p.m., $30

Slim's

333 11th St., SF

www.slims-sf.com

PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE

Reception and CD signing Oct. 9, 7 p.m., free admission for Slim's ticket holders and past and future holders of Rock 'n' Roll tickets

American Conservatory Theater

405 Geary, SF

www.act-sf.org

Performance Oct. 9, 9 p.m., $15–$20, Slim's

Also from this author

  • Women with movie cameras

    Cheers to CAAMFest's crop of female Asian American film directors

  • Spiking the box office

    THE YEAR IN FILM: Looking back at a triumphant year for African American films

  • Not from around here

    French synth-pop giants Phoenix and Daft Punk tap into the alien within

  • Also in this section

  • Peace-out

    After seven rockin' years, Sonic Reducer bids adieu with a look back at some choice musical moments

  • Feel the 'Love

    Rosily buzzing U.K. outfit the Big Pink gets it, Carly Simon and all

  • Sly 'n' sincere

    Don't confuse this Brit with Britney. Plus: Midlake and Barn Owl and Daniel Higgs