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Borland on Voodoo: Day 2

28 Oct 2012

written by Croma


Borland on

Voodoo Music Experience

Day Two

Saturday at Voodoo was overflowing with underground and major label talent. The sheer diversity of the lineup was impressive, but New Orleans has always been a melting pot of musical genres.

Chicano Batman played a slick daytime set at the Le Carnival stage. Their Latin influenced grooves had the crowd up and dancing during their unassuming set.

With so many oddities lying about the grounds, becoming distracted and spending hours doing fun things unrelated to the music is entirely possible. Adjacent to the Le Carnival stage are a variety of sculptures.

The giant metal crawfish is obviously a tribute to a staple of New Orleans Cuisine. Another sculpture of a mechanical face nearby can open and close its eyes as well as articulate its jaw with the aid of some joysticks guests can manipulate as they desire.

Meanwhile New Orleans band Soul Rebels tore up the Bud Light stage with their brass blasts and energetic showmanship. This was the band’s third year representing the local NOLA scene at Voodoo. Even so, the band had quite a few tricks up its sleeve, such as all brass cover versions of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Eurhythmics’’ “Sweet Dreams.”

“Voodoo is always a wonderful experience. By being in our backyard we can just literally walk out the door and go to one of the best festivals in the country, so its always a good time. The weather’s nice and there are a lot of great acts going on today and we are just happy to be apart of it,” said Soul Rebel trumpet player Julian Gosin.

Many local highlights could also be found at the Preservation Hall stage. This stage is named after the world famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band and downtown venue. As such, the focus of the stage is local talent.

At different times of the day the audience was treated to the vaudevillian theatrics of Ingrid Lucia presents New Orleans Nightengales and the jazz-rock hybrid act MyNameIsJohnMichael. The price of voodoo alone would be worth it even if all a person did were lounge at the Preservation tent all day and soak up NOLA’s finest.

Other bands drove long ways to make their appearance at Voodoo. Once such band was Tennessee natives The Features. The band made their first appearance at the festival opening for none other than Toots and the Maytals.

The Features lead singer and guitarist Matt Pelham talked to us about touring and the band’s hotly anticipated new album coming out next year

“I like the way the tents are shaped like a dome. It doesn’t feel like you’re in this big wide-open area. It kinda feels more like an intimate rock venue, it helps,” said Pelham about the Bud Light stage on which his band played their set.

Toots Hibbert should really require no introduction. The man is one of the most famous artists to hail from Jamaica, and he has been a cultural icon there since the 1960s.

Hibbert brought his trademark reggae hybrid sound to Voodoo with understated confidence.  At 66-years-old, Hibbert still seems spry and full of life as he dispenses positive vibes into the atmosphere as the sun sets.

Many festivals only truly come alive at night. Voodoo transforms into a colorful array of dazzlingly lights, lasers, and decoration. In every direction there is a treat for one or more of the senses.

The main stage really began to hit its stride when The Silversun Pickups appeared on the main Le Ritual stage. The band seemed genuinely excited and honored to be a part of the ritual again, having performed on a smaller stage earlier in their career.

The band was joined by new touring bassist Sarah Negahdari who was filling in for the band’s bassist Nikki Monninger who is currently at home with a newborn child.  Negahdari was smiling and bouncing the entire set; this was the largest audience to which she had performed. The band blistered through several excellent songs until ending with the fan favorite “Lazy Eye” from their major label debut Carnavas. 

Vying to pull the crowd’s attention from the main stage was Anders Osborne playing an adjacent set on the Bud Light stage during established acts like Metallica. Osborne did not seem the least bit concerned, as the crowd was there to stay, eagerly eating up their Southern Rock and harmonica solos.

 Metallica had a lot to deliver when they manned the main stage that evening. The band had been a last minute substitution for the original headliners Green Day. The cause for the original band to bow out was singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s recent admission into rehab for substance abuse treatment.

“We hope everything works out for Billie, because the world needs him,” said Metallica lead singer James Hetfield before dedicating a song to Armstrong as a goodwill gesture.

The homage continued throughout Metallica’s set as they played the opening riff to “American Idiot.” When the band first walked out, Hetfield even introduced himself as their pop punk protégés.

“We are Green Day, except we are just a little taller,” said Hetfield in a good-humored fashion.

Metallica did not disappoint. With the exception of a few tracks from their most recent release Death Magnetic, the set was dominated by pre-black album era material. The crowd exploded with delight when Metallica unleashed classics like “Master of Puppets” and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” upon the crowd. 

Evidently many in the crowd were already ardent fans as the metal horn hand symbol emerged throughout the sea of people and remained proudly displayed for the entire show. Many excited audience members were projected onto the jumbo screen behind the band; one woman was so delighted to be on camera that she flashed the crowd that in turn resulted in cheers from the audience.

Many more old-school Metallica classics were played, such as  “Blackened,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “Fade to Black.” There were also the well-known hits “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters” for those fans mainly familiar with Metallica’s famous diamond certified self-titled black album, whose cover art was inspired by the all-black album in the rockumentary movie This Is Spinal Tap.

The band surprised the audience with an array of special effects. During one set break canon-like echoes reverberated through the air as light popped from various parts of the stage before streamer fireworks were launched over the crowd. And what would metal be without pyrotechnics? The stage lit up with enough fire to roast a small dinosaur, with each blast of propane accenting a particularly brutal guitar solo.

Even the encore was a nostalgic treat, as they segued from their “American Idiot” riff straight into “Creeping Death” from their classic album Ride the Lightning, “Battery” from Master of Puppets, and ending on “Seek and Destroy” from the band’s proto-thrash debut Kill Em’ All.

The show was tailored to a hard-core audience, which was a bold decision considering many core Metallica fans might not have been able to plan for Voodoo due to the late announcement. However, any in attendance merely out of curiosity were quickly converted into head-banging metal heads.

All of these experience happened in one day, and occurred while other notable acts like K’naan and AWOL Nation were slowly winning the crowd over with their musical offerings. Join us tomorrow as we take another discovery walk to explore lesser-known acts as well as keeping tabs with major artists Skrillex and Jack White.


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