Eclectic Hard Rockers Reunite At Shoreline


May 13 2011

One of the biggest alternative metal bands to emerge as the ’90s came
to a close, Los Angeles quartet System of a Down stands out as one
of the more unique sounding hard-rock groups to emerge in recent years.

Combining elements of punk, metal, hip hop and Armenian folk music
(all four members are of American-Armenian descent), the outfit
first came together when vocalist Serj Tankian and guitarist Daron
Malakian founded the group Soil in 1993. A few years later, producer
and American Records mainstay Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers,
AC/DC, Slayer) saw the band and immediately signed them to his label.

System of a Down was soon bringing their intense stage show and
politically charged message to wider audiences opening for Slayer
and joining the Ozzfest tour, first as a second stage act before
graduating to the main stage in short order. System of a Down’s 2001
album ‘Toxicity’ went multi-platinum and was hailed by many as one
of the year’s best metal releases. Though fans had to make do with
nothing but the 2002 collection ‘Steal This Album’ (which featured
finished versions of outtakes from the earlier album that had been
leaked on the internet) for a few years after the breakthrough of
‘Toxicity,’ in 2005 the group released the double shot of ‘Mezmerize’
and ‘Hypnotize’ on two separate CDs.

While the group had risen to an all-time in popularity after the
release of those albums (they served as headliners on the 2006 U.S.

Ozzfest tour and topped bills on numerous European festivals that
summer), SOAD went on an extended hiatus at the end of the year. Lead
singer Serge Tankian released his debut solo album ‘Elect the Dead’
to wide acclaim in the fall of 2007, while other members pursued
side project Scars On Broadway and Indicator. Late last year, it
was announced that the group would reunite, once again delivering
their unique brand of metal to their rabid fan base with an extensive
world tour.

Like-minded mavericks Gogol Bordello join the band on this North
American tour as the supporting act. Breaking down musical barriers
ever since its formation in 1999, the group delivers supercharged
music built around a brutal gypsy two-step rhythm that sounds like
an Eastern European cousin of ska. That base is then augmented
by elements of punk, metal, rap, flamenco, roots reggae, Italian
spaghetti, Western twang, dub and other sounds generated by gypsies
and rebels from across the globe.

Led by charismatic firebrand singer Eugene Hutz who had relocated
from the Ukraine to New York City in 1992, Gogol Bordello quickly
earned a reputation for its unhinged and explosive stage show that
led to such prestigious NYC venues as CBGBs, the Mercury Lounge,
the Fez and the Bowery Ballroom to ban the group. Relentless touring
and several self-produced albums scored the band a growing following
and a contract with independent label SideOneDummy Records for their
2005 effort ‘Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike.’

The band’s trans-global rebel rock continues to celebrate the belief
that music and art can transform negative energy to positive as
Gogol Bordello expands its following with its always electrifying
festival appearances and headlining shows to promote its recent album
‘Trans-Continental Hustle,’ the band’s first for producer Rick Rubin’s
American Recordings.

System of a Down with Gogol Bordello Sunday, May 15, 8 p.m. $25-$65.50
Shoreline Amphitheatre

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