Voodoo Experience 2011: Friday In Review And Photos

3:46 pm by

My sixth Voodoo Experience has come and gone, leaving nothing but the taste of booze and debauchery in my mouth. Friday started out with a bang as BOT caught performances from headliners Soundgarden, as well as a full day card featuring the likes of Band of Horses, Steve Angello, Ani DiFranco, Major Lazer, Dirty South, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Mates Of State, The Wombats and Peelander-Z.

Read all about the day and check out a ton of photos after the jump

We woke up super early in Houston, met up with our travel partners for the day and headed off towards New Orleans. Five hours later we found ourselves parking outside of the gate, and walking in early afternoon. We headed towards the Bingo! Parlour stage to take in the last couple songs of The Wombats. We were hoping to make it for their full set, but after partying the night before at Warehouse Live for the Ghostland Observatory show, the morning didn’t come as soon as we had hoped. What we did hear from the British indie-poppers was well enough to warrant another listen, as they had the whole early crowd spending a fair share of their weekend’s energy by bouncing around to the rockers that The Wombats were putting on the table.

We headed towards the Voodoo stage, which was now the only feature stage as they removed the other main stage from years past that was always on the opposite side of the running track. In it’s place were a host of different carnival rides, and a bit further behind a new DJ stage that seemed to out of the way and lacking any worthwhile names. There were good things and bad things to the removal of the other main stage. First, the festival was limited in their bigger names as there was only one main stage to feature them on. This cut the main stage line-up to about 2/3rds of its usual in past years. The one good thing about the lack of another, alternating stage was that the main stage acts were granted longer set times than the usual hour they had before. Headliners were given a full two hours, while other acts played for up to an hour and a half. While there were less bands, the bands they did have performing were aloud to stretch out their sets which gave the feel of a true show rather than a ‘greatest hits’ festival performance.

After a bit of a walk through the park to check out all of the changes, we headed back to the Bingo! Parlour to catch Peelander-Z for the second time in just two weeks. They came out just as they did at UtopiaFest, but this time had a much bigger crowd to have fun with. It only took about two minutes into their set before Peelander Red was crowd surfing. Their songs and set remains the same, but this time, during “Mad Tiger,” New Orleans own Cheeky Black took the stage to chant the signature line as the rest of the band played limbo with the entirety of the crowd. They were, as always a good time, but we headed on after about half the perfomance to see what else Voodoo had to offer.

Landing at the Voodoo stage where Mates of State were just getting starting, we headed towards the bar to get our drinking started for the weekend. Mates of State’s brand of cutesy couple pop is always a good time, but it seemed as if maybe the stage was a bit big for them for the day. The crowd was not too terrible in size, but their sound may have been better fitted for one of the three smaller stages towards the front of the park. Still, after seeing them a bunch over the years, it’s always great to hear those ever so familiar songs like “My Only Offer” and “The Rearranger.”

We headed towards the heart of the park to check out a few different sets. First we headed towards the WWOZ/Bud Light stage to see what Ani DiFranco was working with. Her band, which featured a drummer and New Orleans-based keyboardist Ivan Neville from the band Dumpstaphunk, were on point throughout the set. I only had the chance to hear about three or four songs, but they were all classic Ani and featured her signature finger-picked guitar work.

We made our way over to the Red Bulletin stage for the first time of the week, and started getting down to the stylings of Dirty South. He was pretty good, but had the bass turned up way too high. This seemed to be a common problem at the Red Bulletin stage throughout the weekend. Either the DJ’s had crystalline sound, or they were completely muddy with the bass at full blast. Dirty South, while not one of the DJ’s I was looking forward too most, didn’t win me over mainly because of the sound issues. If it was clean, I’m sure I would’ve stuck around a bit longer, but we shipped off in favor of not torturing our ears.

After a brief stop at the Bingo! Parlour for Voodoo regulars Quintron & Miss Pussycat, we heaved over to the main stage where Band of Horses were about to start. I’ve seen BoH several times over the years, but the last time they were in my area they had to cancel because of tourmates Kings of Leon’s onstage meltdown the night before they were supposed to hit town. I always love seeing me some BoH, but this time I was needing it a bit more due to the forced cancellation earlier in the year. They were, as always, amazing. They brought both their gorgeous songs as well as their great personalities to the stage with them, and had no problem mesmerizing the early evening crowd. Classic BoH songs like “Funeral,” “The Great Salt Lake,” “Is There A Ghost” and “Ode To LRC” fit perfectly in between newer material from their latest LP Infinite Arms. This was definitely in my top three sets of the weekend, maybe even top two.

After BoH finished up at the Voodoo stage, we headed across the park to see what Major Lazer had in store for their portion of the dance party. We made it about half way through their set, and from the time we started watching until we eventually walked away, the MC that was supporting the DJ duo of Diplo and Switch mimicked doggy style sex the entire time. Whether it be with any assortment of random girls that made their way to the stage, or the super flexible dancer he had on stage with him, like a dog in heat this guy humped the shit out of anything that came near his crotch. The music was fun, but this guy was a bit over the top. I guess that’s what they’re looking for in their live show, it just amazes me how many women will put themselves on display while being molested by some random dude with a microphone. White people.

After walking around the park for a while, and dining at a few of the stellar food tents lining the north part of the walkway, we headed back towards the Red Bulletin stage to catch a bit of Steve Angello. I didn’t know much about Angello going into the festival other than him being a part of the famed DJ outfit Swedish House Mafia, but I was intrigued as everything I’ve heard by SHM always killed it. His beats were good, and had us dancing, but fatigue was noticeably starting to set in, so we headed towards the main stage to take our first seat of the day and wait for Soundgarden to begin their headlining set.

After drinking a beer, and chilling out for a little while, I headed into the pit to jockey for position to photograph Chris Cornell and company. I had never seen the 90’s rock titans, so I was pretty excited heading into it. After shooting the first three songs, which included their classic rocker “Spoonman,” I headed back toward my lady to enjoy the show from just outside of the crowd. The great thing about Voodoo is that even if you’re at the back of the crowd, you’re still super close and can watch the show and not the giant screen to the side of the stage. Feeling even more tired than before, we caught a seat for a while until the trio of “Black Hole Sun,” “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage” which found the aging rock stars ripping it up harder than they had yet to that point in the show. The rest of the set was pretty good, and included “Fell On Black Days,” “Superunknown” and the set closing “4th of July,” but as a casual fan throughout the years, I was ready to call it a night. We still made it til the end, but by the time we headed out of the park our entire group was pooped.

We made it back to the hotel, and after showering up we collectively decided on staying in and saving our energy for the next two nights of partying. Getting our well deserved sleep gave all of us the energy to explore the city before heading back to the festival the next day. We would’ve been worthless if we even tried to go out on Friday, so to all of those involved, good decision!

Check out a ton of pictures from the festival…