Experiencing a little New Orleans Voodoo
Exploring Voodoo Fest weekend after five years
Due to some unexpected travel, I had to miss Voodoo Fest this year. Fortunately our guest blogger Jess DeBold was able to step in and provide a great narrative review.
Having not been to the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience myself since 2011, I barely could even recognize the event I attended this weekend. Now more than ever, the three-day music fest is an all-encompassing experience. Five years since my last venture to this Halloween extravaganza, the festival has changed locations from the small area directly behind New Orleans Museum of Art to take over the entire Festival Grounds. Between the lineup, the seamless cashless wristband system, the carnival rides, the Mortuary-designed graveyard and the great drink and food selection, I had a blast.
The first few bands I caught included MUTEMATH, who put on a great performance. Their high-energy and upbeat set felt like the perfect way to kick-off the weekend. This is far from their first venture to New Orleans for a little bit of Voodoo, and I look forward to hopefully catching them again in the city soon. Chairlift gave another great show, with Caroline Polachek’s fabulous signature orange jumpsuit (also seen in their music video for Ch-Ching) and her hip-heavy dance moves beating to the bass drum. The band also featured saxophonist Danny Meyer making us feel right at home with his jazz sound. What a truly perfect weekend for this might I add, the weather hit the high 80s in the day and cooled off for dewy evenings. After gorging myself in a seafood pasta bread bowl from Cartozzo's Bakery & Food Service, I made my way to check out Wild Belle, who I’ve been desperately wanting to see since I discovered her romantic Caribbean-influenced sound. She and her bandmates killed it — which I noticed the later it got, the more people flocked to the various stages. I wrapped up my Friday with Porter Robinson, whom I can say without a doubt was my favorite show of the day. The light show and beat drops exhausted me, in the best way.
On Saturday I caught Cage the Elephant, another band I’ve been eager to see since my high school days. The highlight of my second day, however, was Die Antwoord. The band is a great Halloween festival duo exemplifying how electronic music can be intermittent with rap and even feel spooky. I also have to commend the festival organizers for excellent placement of the stages. There was one sweet spot in particular where I could simultaneously hear both main stages with clarity — a quality that I find lacking every year at Jazz Fest.
My lineup of choice on Sunday included Bob Moses, Band of Horses, Beats Antique and Arcade Fire. Between almost every act, I was able to sneak on the carnival rides the “Fire Ball” for a sobering adrenaline rush, and the Ferris wheel, both offering fantastic views of the entire fest. While I know Arcade Fire often plays in New Orleans, this was my first time attending one of their shows. I did my best to catch The Chainsmokers as well, but every time I walked away from the Altar Stage, Arcade Fire kept pulling me back. At one point, frontman Win Butler prompted the audience to sing along a melodic tune for their new record. I cannot wait to tell mom I am going to be on an album… along with the hundreds of other people singing along. Arcade Fire ended their set with “Rebellion (Lies),” which I am excited to say was incorporated with the "Ghostbusters" theme, a great homage to my favorite holiday of the year— what a happy Halloween, indeed.
It’s for events like these that I also really appreciate the technological advancements in the name of improving our convenience. Without having to deal with the fees of using an ATM, linking my credit card to my wristband was a brilliant and hassle-free way to make purchases. The only dangerous thing with this is for those unconscious purchases adding up, keeping in mind that most beers on tap and food items are $5 at the minimum. The beer tap tent, though, was fast moving and a great spot to catch some shade during the day. As for my favorite dish of the festival, I was in awe at the Jambalaya Girl dish mixing my two of my favorite foods (jambalaya and a burrito) to make the “jamburrito.”
Five years since my last Voodoo Music + Arts Experience and I can honestly say I am going never to miss another again.
Back to our regularly scheduled program.
*All photos by Jess DeBold
To Do This Week
Tonight check out Alex G with Lvl Up at Siberia. You can also catch Phantogram at the Joy Theater (I’m really looking forward to this show). Also Sia will be at the Smoothie King Center with Miguel and AlunaGeorge. Friday Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will head up a parade of locals at Champions Square for Boudin and Beer. Saturday the incomparable Bonnie Raitt will play the Saenger Theater and Thee Oh Sees will be at One Eyed Jacks. Sunday you can catch Guided by Voices at Republic and The Dead Milkmen at Tips. Finally, on Wednesday The Cactus Blossoms will open for Lucius at Tips. Lucius is one of the best bands currently on the scene, I highly recommend this show.
To Listen This Week
- Lady Lamb has released a great new track and announced that she will be visiting us in March via Soundcloud
- Check out Charlie XCX’s new collaboration with Lil Yachty via CoS
- New track from Thee Oh Sees as well via Soundcloud