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Live Reviews

2012 Voodoo Experience: New Orleans, Louisiana, October 26-28, 2012

By Published: December 14, 2012
Highlights from the Le Plur stage on the first day include an afternoon set by New Orleans' own Force Feed Radio, aka Bryan Normand and Patrick Bowden, known for blending their love of bass-heavy electronic music through mix tapes and all-night dance parties. Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for "The Answer"), the South African rap-rave group of Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, thrilled the early evening crowd with "Enter the Ninja." Kaskade, aka Ryan Raddon, the Chicago native who was recently hailed by the New York Times as the "new face of electronic dance music"—despite his having worked in the genre for a decade—delivered a solid final set that showed why he has been a festival favorite and a top re-mixer for artists of Lady Gaga's and Beyonce's caliber.

With the sun having set, and the crowd grown larger as New Orleans' workforce finished its week and trekked out to City Park, Neil Young & Crazy House closed the night on the Le Ritual Stage. Though he is pushing 70 and at times looked his age, Young and Crazy Horse delivered the goods with a set that featured rarities from the '90s including the opener "Love and Only Love" and "Fuckin' Up," tracks from Psychedelic Pill (Warner Brothers, 2012) and the classics: "Needle and the Damage Done," "Cinnamon Girl," "Mr. Soul," "Hey, Hey, My My(Into The Black)" and "Like A Hurricane."

Day 2: Saturday, October 27th

Day 2 of the festival was chilly and windy. Many of the festival's attendees were wearing fleece and light jackets. The day's biggest draws were K'Naan, AWOLNATION, Silversun Pickups and Metallica (subbing for Green Day) on the Le Ritual Stage. The Preservation Hall Stage featured stellar performances by The Treme Brass Band (performing at its first Voodoo Experience without the late Uncle Lionel Batiste), Alvin Youngblood Hart, the New Orleans Nightingales with special guest Irma Thomas and MyNameIsJohnMichael. Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, the Soul Rebels, the Features, Toots & The Maytals and Anders Osborne with Johnny Sansone & Big Chief Monk Boudreaux were the big draws on the WWOZ Stage. The SONY Stage was home to performances by Debauche, Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics and Super Heavy fame) and The Vettes. Lastly, The Le Plur stage featured The Gaslamp Killer, Etienne De Crecy and Justice.

The WWOZ Stage served as the conduit to introduce the New Orleans crowd to the nine-piece Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds (another band from New York). Featuring the unbelievable stage presence and powerhouse vocals of Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), the band delivered a rockin' set of neo-soul. Their one-hour set was highlighted by the horns-heavy (the band featured a trombone, an alto saxophone, a baritone saxophone, and a trumpet) songs: "Make it Rain," "Boogie Man" and "Road Trip."

On the Preservation Hall Stage, Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory laid down a solid set of blues while on the Main Stage K'Naan was dishing out his happy modern mix of rock/pop/rap. The highlight of the set was when K'Naan rhythmically pounded on two pads while rapping "What is Hardcore." Other special moments were the performances of "Waiting Is A Drug" and the politically charged "Ode To Somalia."

The Soul Rebels lit up the WWOZ stage with high energy brass band covers of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," Metallica's "Enter Sandman" its new song "Amazon" which was introduced with, "We just made this one up last week. We're going to debut it tonight." The band closed its set with the song "504" (they introduced it with, "If you love New Orleans, are from New Orleans...") which segued into their closing number "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)."

As early afternoon made its way to late afternoon, the Features, an indie rock outfit from Nashville, Tennessee whose sound borrows heavily from a number of influences including psychedelia, classic rock, southern rock, pop and a slight touch of Eno, graced the WWOZ Stage. The band played tracks from its independently released CDs as well as Some Kind Of Salvation (429 Records, 2009) and Wilderness, released on The Kings of Leon's Serpents & Snakes label in 2011. The band had the crowd buzzing and dancing to the swirling and rhythmic "It Won't Be Long," "The Temporary Blues," "Another One" and the set closer "Big Mamma Gonna Whip Us Good."

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