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The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2013

Mike Perciaccante By

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German born, New Orleans resident Quintron took the Carnival Stage mid-afternoon with his wife, musician and puppeteer Panacea Pussycat (owner of the now defunct Pussycat Caverns in New Orleans) played maracas and sang backup. Quintron owns his own club, the Spellcaster Lodge in the 9th Ward, which sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Katrina, but reopened in 2006. Clearly one of the most eccentric acts (and mind you this was in New Orleans on Halloween weekend), Quintron and Miss Pussycat stood out with a bright backdrop with Quintron stationed behind a custom-made Hammond organ/Fender Rhodes synthesizer combo he had custom outfitted to resemble the body of a car—complete with working headlights and a Louisiana license plate bearing his name. Colorful doesn't even begin to cover their energetic set, with the crowd whipped into a frenzy from the very start.

On Sunday afternoon, Beats Antique appeared on the le Plur Stage. Tommy Cappel's and David Satori's multi-media performance featured belly dancer Zoe Jakes and a fusion of electronic beats, jazz, funk, blues, pop, hip-hop, brass band, strings and a touch of rock 'n' roll. The show was a high-tech rocking performance art spectacle in a music festival setting. Wow!

As the afternoon turned to early evening the Flambeau Stage was home to three very diverse acts. Good things are predicted for these up-and-coming local heroes. C.C. Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis commanded the stage with its patented brand of swamp-infused, southern-fried, boogie-woogie guitar-based blues. Highlights of its set included "Meson Creole" and "Bleed 2 Feed" from the True Blood: Music From The HBO Original Series soundtrack (Elektra Records, 2009). Fleur Debris, featuring David Torkanowsky, Nichols Payton and Will Bernard played some of the trippiest fusion jazz heard at the festival. These guys, however, are not to be thought of as one-trick ponies.

The music quickly and smoothly morphed from jazz to cool, swampy, dirty funk when George Porter, Jr. joined them on stage. Another New Orleans-based band, the Revivalists proved that the rumors that it was getting ready to sign a contract with a major label were well-deserved (a few days after the festival ended, it was announced that they had signed with Wind-up Records, home of Evanescence, Civil Twilight, Filter, The Virginmarys and O.A.R.). The band's nine-song set consisting of "Bullet Proof Vest," "Stand Up," "When I'm Able," "Keep Going, "Sunny Days," "Soulfight," "Catching Fireflies," "All In The Family" and "Criminal" brought down the house.

There were many other amazing performances at this year's festival. Allen Stone delivered a high-powered soul, gospel, pop and R&B flavored set on the Flambeau Stage on Friday evening. The son of a preacher, Stone obviously paid attention to his dad, and learned how to work a crowd. He whipped the crowd into a dancing, arm-waving frenzy of musical abandon. Stone's show also featured a magical cover of Bob Marley's "Is This Love?" George Porter Jr. seemed to be everywhere. In addition to his performances with Dr. John and Fleur Debris, Porter also guested Saturday, along with Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, with Leslie Blackshear Smith & Double Black. Rudimental and Big Gigantic brought actual instruments to the Le Plur Stage on Saturday. Each delivered a full musical performance rather than just a light show over EDM flavored beats. Fans still danced, but it was the musicianship that made these truly amazing performances memorable. On Sunday afternoon, Sports & Leisure, a six-piece alternative pop band from New Orleans delivered a tight and energetic set. On Sunday afternoon on the Ritual Stage, Brooklyn based duo Matt & Kim—self-proclaimed "partners in music and partners in sex" put on a fantastic show. Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino's set was what a rock show should be—a whole lot of fun!

In addition to bringing Pearl Jam and the Cure into its family of headlining acts, the fifteenth installment of the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience will always be known as the festival of transition. Now moved along Wisner Boulevard, on the south side of Interstate 610, the festival space has changed drastically. The paths are gone—replaced by open fields. As a result the Noisican coalition was no longer roaming the festival grounds playing and forming their own special New Orleans Second Line. In addition to the loss of the Noisicans, the fire-breathing robot and some other festival staples will forever be relegated to memories of the original space along the Roosevelt Mall.

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