Voodoo Experience 2010: Sunday In Review
We partied pretty hard on Saturday night/Sunday morning, eventually stumbling back into our hotel room at 7 in the morning just in time for continental breakfast. Our goal was to try and make it early enough for Janelle Monae, but those were pipe dreams. Strolling into the festival at 3:30 with a serious Four Loko hangover, we headed to the closest music we could find.
Walking by Le Plur, the beats of Ferry Corsten were bumping, and the dance party was lively, bu my head was still hurting a bit so we wandered towards something more easy going. We found that in The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Having their own tent on a yearly basis, they always hold down the Sunday afternoon spot, drawing in a very large crowd year in and year out. Knowing that Jim James was at the festival due to My Morning Jacket’s set later in the day, I also figured he might be stepping on stage to join the PHJB. James produced one of their latest efforts, and has guested with them in the past numerous times, so the chances were high. A few songs into their set, sure enough James made his way to an awaiting microphone side stage, and belted his way through three old-timey numbers. It was a brilliant way to start the day, and instantly cured my hangover from earlier.
Our next step was to catch a bit of the Voice Of The Wetlands Allstars, a New Orleans supergroup of players, many who we’d already seen at the festival so far. Fronting the group were the guitarist duo of Tab Benoit and Anders Osborne, who thrilled us at the beginning of the weekend with his guitar work during Stanton Moore’s set. Another famed NOLA drummer, Johnny Vidacovich, was hitting the skins, with percussion support from Cyrill Neville who performed with Galactic the night before. Big Sam lent his trombone support, while harmonica player Johnny Sansone performed next to him. Dual fiddlers in Waylon Thibodeaux and Beau Soleil’s Michael Doucet performed right next to the one and only Dr. John on keys. I was excited to see what this group could do, and was hoping to get at least an “Iko Iko” out of Dr. John, but after a few songs I left without hearing John’s trademark vocals. I really wanted to catch Paul Oakenfold before photographing MGMT so I shipped off on a walk about the park.
Oakenfold was having no problem destroying eardrums of the excited patrons riding the rail, and had a huge crowd of drug influenced kids jumping around throughout the entire Le Plur area. After taking my shots in the photo pit, I headed out of the crowd to take in the music from a less stuffy vantage point. After a good twenty minutes, though, I had seen my share and headed towards the main stage for the start of MGMT. They made it to stage with full-on costumes of the entire gang from Scooby Doo. With the amount of band members, it worked perfectly, each one with a different members digs. They opened their set with a number from their latest album, Congratulations, which was immediately followed up by their first single, “Time To Pretend,” from their original album Oracular Spectacular. After “TTP,” I headed out of the pit to meet up with Bacon to watch a few more songs. After being somewhat bored with the performance, as I have been before, we made our way across the park to catch one of several acts playing.
After running into a photographer friend, and bragging to him about the Jim James guest spot with the Preservation Hall earlier (he’s a huge MMJ fan), we headed back towards Le Plur where current DJ phenomenon Deadmau5 was about to start his set. Starting a bit later than listed, I took the time to drink my first beer of the day while snapping crowd shots in the pit. Le Plur was the perfect place for taking people pictures – so many interesting and colorful get-ups. Soon, though, the ears of the mouse mask poked above his massive light cube that he performs from, and the set was off and running. There’s a reason this particular DJ is getting so much hype, and that is because his beats are ridiculous. It was by far the strongest DJ performance I saw that weekend (with Rusko a distant second), and possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen. Knowing that the final headliner, and one of my favorite bands was about to perform, I headed out of Le Plur for the final time that weekend full of fond memories and worn out dancing shoes.
Our final show of the weekend was upon us – one I’d been looking forward to for quite some time. My Morning Jacket were set to close down the main stage, and knowing how good they are live, it was the right choice of bands do do just that. Right at the drop of 7pm, easy-time NOLA jazz came on the loudspeakers, and the boys of MMJ came to stage dawning full white costumes including beards and whigs finished off by white masks surrounded by gold crescent moons. They slowly grouped around the front of the stage, daintily waving their arms about and bowing to the crowd. A few minutes of that, and they finally adorned their instruments, still fully costumed, and started into “Wordless Chorus.” Soon the rocker “Anytime” came, and during so the costumes began to shed. As soon as they made their way into “Off The Record,” they were back into their normal gear and costume free. With a solid only-Z start, they finally moved past the groundbreaking album and into other material with a run from “Mahgeetah” into “Gideon” followed by “Golden,” all three coming off very strong. A new song, “Circuital,” which has been road tested for a good chunk of this year, sounded a whole lot like Kings of Leon’s “Fans,” only better. Then came a run of material from their latest effort, Evil Urges with “I’m Amazed,” “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part 1,” “Smoking From Shooting,” and “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part 2,” all sandwiching the epic Z closer “Dondante.” Skipping through the actual song part of “Lay Low,” they ripped the outro to the song which led into the treat of the evening for me, a rocking take on “Phone Went West.”
With only about a half-an-hour left of their set time, MMJ reminded us just where we were by bringing up the Preservation Hall Jazz Band who returned the favor by guesting on a slew of MMJ songs and covers. Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” was followed by their own “Evil Urges” and “Highly Suspicious” finally finishing Preservation Hall’s segment with a spirited take on Al Jolson’s “Carnival Time” after tempting people to try and sing along. It seemed as if they were supposed to stay on stage for another song or two, but were soon rushed off with MMJ to return with set-closer “One Big Holiday.” We found out later that the setlist had both their own “Dancefloors” as well as Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” before “One Big Holiday” was supposed to close. While it’s disappointing that we couldn’t get those tunes, it was already several minutes past 9 when they started their final number. It just gives them more reason to return to New Orleans so they can finish up where they left off. Even without those tunes, though, it was still by far the best set of the weekend.
With three full days of music in the history books, Bacon and I shipped off back to Houston in favor of sleeping in our own beds. We made it home full of great memories and some pretty funny stories from both the festival and the New Orleans late night. I’m already counting down the days until the next Voodoo Experience, as I will never ever miss this festival in the foreseeable future. See you there next year?