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The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2013

Mike Perciaccante By

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Opposite the Cure on the Flambeau Stage, Dr. John was on fire. His band (a virtual Who's Who of New Orleans musicians) featured Ivan Neville on keys, George Porter Jr. on bass, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (in full Mardi Gras Indian regalia), Trumpeter Nicholas Payton, guitarist Derwin "Big D" Perkins, Herlin Riley on drums and percussionist Alfred "Uganda" Roberts and a virtual "who's who" of local musicians. A surprise appearance was made by Smokey Johnson, who can be heard pounding the skins on numerous New Orleans R&B recordings. Johnson supplied additional backbeat while shaking a tambourine from his wheelchair on the show's closing number "It Ain't My Fault," (a song he co-wrote in 1964).

As the 2013 festival's final Flambeau Stage performer, Dr. John brought his Night Tripper persona out and it was on full display for all to see. It was like the return of an old friend ... a growling, drawling old friend who was everything that the tourists and locals love about New Orleans. He began the evening on guitar as he and the band rolled through "Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya" and "Loop Garou." Moving over to his piano the good doctor played "Familiar Reality" and "Black Widow Spider."

The evening's musical atmosphere was filled with freaky, spooky, funky rhythms, hypnotic harmonies and jazz interludes. The set was highlighted by "What Goes Around (Comes Around)," the call and response interplay between Payton and Riley on a few different numbers, an amazing performance on an instrumental track and "I Walk on Gilded Splinters."

The Cure may have brought out the Goth vibe for Halloween weekend, but it was Dr. John who put the hoodoo and the voodoo in the 2013 Voodoo Experience.

Earlier in the evening, immediately prior to the Cure, Kid Rock burned through a hits-filled set on the Ritual stage. The southern-fried, countrified, Detroit-bred rap 'n' roll superstar put on quite a show. Cocky, sure of himself and with both personality and charisma to spare, the Kid's performance was one of the festival's brightest spots.

The performance included the expected blockbuster ("Bawitdaba" which closed his set), the hits ("Cowboy" and "All Summer Long") and the unexpected ("Midnight Rider," a tease of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" segueing into "Forever," a superb and heartfelt cover of Marshall Tucker's "Can't You See" as well as the sidesplitting John Eddie-penned "I'm Fuckin' 40!"—a song that tells about the "pleasures" of Viagra and prostate exams and the perils of aging).

Though his music blends many genres and has been influenced by a diverse group of artists (Bob Seger, Warren Zevon, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Jim Croce, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys), it has always been filled with passion, wit and fun. On Sunday evening the crowd was treated not only to a performance of this musical gumbo of sound by Kid Rock the singer, but a performance by Kid Rock, the DJ, on which he scratched and blended tracks while smoking a huge cigar and sporting a shit-eating grin. The stellar performance was the perfect warm-up to the Cure, who followed.

While Kid Rock was setting the Ritual Stage on fire, the Carnival Stage was experiencing some technical issues. The initial sound problems couldn't break the spirits of Moon Taxi, the indie prog rock band based in Nashville, TN. Founded in 2006 while attending Belmont University, Moon Taxi is Trevor Terndrup (vocals, guitar), Tommy Putnam (bass), Spencer Thomson (guitar, programming), Tyler Ritter (drums) and Wes Bailey (keyboards). With stage lights that weren't totally conducive to actually seeing the members of the band on the Carnival Stage, as it was early evening, Moon Taxi gave an enthusiastic and solid set, including a memorable cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" as well as its own hits "Hypnus," "All the Rage," and "Mercury." If its set is any indication, these guys will be around for a good long time.

During the mid-afternoon, Robert DeLong of Seattle lit up the Le Plur Stage for over an hour. DeLong was a frenetic ball of energy who touched every instrument on the stage and commanded them all. Whether it was the drums, the first instrument he played professionally, keyboard or the microphone, DeLong owned it. Raised in Bothell, Washington, just outside of Seattle, DeLong has been successful in creating a sound using rock 'n' roll melodies in conjunction with electronic dance beats using Wii-motes and Sega Genesis controllers, laptops, keyboards and drum pads. Perspiring in the New Orleans midday sun, DeLong proclaimed that he would make the crowd "fucking dance" and he did just that.

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