Voodoo Music Experience Mixes NOLA and National Flavor

The Voodoo Music Experience celebrated its 10th anniversary in New Orleans with its most ambitious lineup ever and crowds from all over the country. Mixing a tableaux of both international touring bands with local acts that embody the New Orleans indie/alternative/traditional culture, the 3-day weekend continued proudly once again in its City Park homestead which had been underwater during Hurricane Katrina.

With the festival just rolling into shore, New Orleans glam-punks, The Bad Off kicked off Friday’s festivities with their sexually-infused jams and clever, but cocky lyricism of frontman Eric Corveaux.

Following their set, local indie darlings Big Blue Marble brought their distorted big indie sound and abstract lyricism to the stage. Next up, folk-rock combo, Paul Sanchez Rolling Road Show rocked it with New Orleans’ next-big-thing, Americana-punk singer Sonia Tetlow.

Friday afternoon highlights included sets by Joss Stone and TV on the Radio. With her positive, genuine energy and soul stylings, Joss Stone charmed the New Orleans audience with her British accent and powerful command of the R&B sound (which is a staple in these parts). Avant-garde rockers TV on the Radio launched into an emotional, guitar-shredding sound, which can easily be compared to John Coltrane during his “sheets of sound” phase.

Saturday saw the largest crowd of the fest as crowds primarily clamored to see former New Orleans resident Trent Reznor return with Nine Inch Nails. Drawing every Goth in the entire Gulf Coast region, NIN pleased their loyal audience ranging from teens to Gen Xers by playing several songs from the band’s 20-year catalog.

Playing comparatively under the radar but drawing a very passionate crowd, Thievery Corporation conjured loungey electronic music samples, escalating in energy as the set went on.

Sunday proved to be a more mellow day as VoodooFest regulars Bingo Show! once again dazzled  audiences with their 1930s Weimar Republic Cabaret aesthetic. On this particular day, they were followed in short order by “noise parade” Noiscian Coalition marching through the fest with their homemade instruments and black & crimson costumes conjuring images of Dada art and Marcel Duchamp. 

Two New Orleans based bands with frontmen singing behind their drumkits provided the day’s most memorable moments. Edge Set Mary delivered their southern-metal/grunge-infused hard rock. Later on, cowpunk group Cowboy Mouth showed why they are loved by the Crescent City as their legions of fans drank beer as singer Fred LeBlanc irreverently mouthed off.

Fresh off their European tour, R.E.M. closed the festival. Visually the band’s multimedia show was exciting and their playlist combined “standards” from the 80s with newer songs from their recently released Accelerate (Warner Brothers) album.

On its 10th anniversary Voodoo Music Expereince continues reach out to a wider audience while showcasing acts from both the region and abroad. 

-John Alfone 
Voodoo Music Experience:www.thetenthritual.com