The Voodoo Experience: New Orleans, USA, October 28-30, 2011
A warmer and sunnier second day was highlighted by Soul Rebels Brass Band, with Cyril Neville's and Ozomatli's appearances on the WWOZ Stage, X playing its classic Los Angeles (Slash Records, 1980) on the Bingo! Parlour Stage. The Treme Brass Band and Gordon Gano (of The Violent Femmes & The Lost Bayou Ramblers) graced the Preservation Hall Stage with amazing shows. Attended by a huge crowd, Girls Talk's performance on the Le Plur stage included an amazing mix of songs, with snippets of "The Monster Mash" and "Pumped Up Kicks," while on the big stage, Boots Electric, Mastodon, Social Distortion, Snoop Dogg and Blink-182 set the festival on fire.
The Soul Rebels' set included a musical gumbo melding a myriad of genres, delivering brassed-up versions of many different hits from a variety of artists and genres. Thr set was punctuated by a stand-out performances of "Turn It Up," The Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These)," and Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City."
The crowd at the Preservation Hall Stage slowly gathered as The Treme Brass Band with Uncle Lionel Batiste gave a top-notch performance, as always. As with past Voodoo performances, the band remained stationary. Also, as in past years, there were some uninitiated spectators (most likely viewers of HBO's Treme television series) who expected the band to march. A small piece of New Orleans history and tradition, The Treme Brass Band never disappoints; its set was astonishingloud, bombastic, contemporary, classic jazzy, funky and, above all else, superb.
Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, John Doe and DJ Bonebreak turned back the clock as X, rocking hard, as the audience at Bingo! Parlour Stage was treated to a show that had many wondering if there would be a full-fledged reunion tour and album.
Eagles of Death Metal front man Jesse Hughes led his side project, Boots Electric onto the main stage in the mind afternoon and proceeded to treat the audience to a wonderfully out there and eccentric performance. Featuring new songs from the band's debut, Honkey Kong (Dangerbird, 2011), as well as some choice covers of songs originally done by his original band, Hughes appeared, at different times, to adopt the personas of revivalist preacher, southern rocker and garage rocker. Regardless of which persona was in charge, the performance was riveting.
Gordon Gano and The Lost Bayou Ramblers was much more a Lost Bayou Ramblers set. The band played many of its songs, with Gano on fiddle. Toward the end of the performance the musicians played classic songs from the Violent Femmes catalogue, the unabashed highlight of the performance an amazing set-closing version of the Violent Femmes' biggest hit, the modern rock anthem "Blister In the Sun."
Voodoo is famous for featuring acts from all musical genres. Mastodon's set on the main stage will undoubtedly gain the group new fans. While its riff-heavy set was, by Mastodon standards, a bit subdued, it provided the crowd an opportunity to hear the band's lyrics and see its musicianship. The Atlanta-based alternative metal outfit played songs from its The Hunter (Reprise, 2011), as well as a nice smattering of both old and new songs. While some of the bombast may have been lost, the energy was there and the crowd responded by getting as close to the stage as possible.
In early 2011, Social Distortion released Hard Times and Nursery Crimes (Epitath), a wonderful return to form, and the band began to tour. By the time it reached Voodoo, the band was a well-oiled machine and was riding high. Beginning its swagger-filled set by roaring through a rocking and rolling version of "Bad Luck," with guitars blaring and a slamming backbeat, Mike Ness and his band played hits and new songs, including "So Far Away," "Story Of My Life," "Bakersfield," "Machine Guns Blues," "Six More Miles," its trademark hard-rocking, breakneck, cow-punk version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," and the song rumored to be Ness' favorite, "Gimme The Sweet And Lowdown."
Hip Hop/rap superstar Snoop Dog's love for New Orleans was evident by his appearing onstage wearing a Saints football jersey (wide receiver Marques Colston's number 12 to be exact). Clearly in a good mood, Snoop told the crowd of his love for New Orleans, gave a shout-out to the guys in the crowd dressed as Krusty The Clown and Spongebob. He and his posse of rappers, dancers and musicians performed a mix of old and new material that had the audience dancing, bopping and joining in as he functioned as both star attraction and cruise director. The highlight of Snoop's set was the closing medley of "Jump Around," "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Who Am I (What's My Name)."
A newly reformed Blink-182 closed out the second day with a bang. Blink's Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Tom DeLonge opened a dynamic set with an electrifying version of "Up All Night," and continued to gain momentum as "Feeling This," "Down," I Miss You," "Stay Together For The Kids," the anthem "What's My Age Again?," "The Rock Show," "Man Overboard," "Ghost On The Dancefloor" made their appearances. The crowd was whipped into a frenzy when the song that the casual fans came for and stayed around to hear"All The Small Things"was played. Blink-182 also debuted a new song, "Wishing Well," announcing that, "We've never played this next song before; why don't we do it in front of thousands of people."