Photos: Voodoo Festival 10-28-07 at City Park – New Orleans, LA

Christian Scott

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Good Guys

Quintron and Miss Pussycat

Wilco

Live Review: Voodoo Music Experience

The weekend before Halloween, we went down to New Orleans to catch Voodoo Fest. We arrived downtown early Friday, checked into the bed and breakfast we were staying at, hung out for a second, and headed down to City Park where the fest was located. Since the line-up had been announced, one of the acts I was most excited about seeing was Ghost, whose album from this year, In Stormy Nights, I’ve loved. Unfortunately, when we went to set up to catch them, they weren’t the Japanese noise-rock group Ghost, they were the New Orleans nu-metal, rap-funk group Ghost. We felt like we had just got punked. After that debacle, I went to catch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and they were ok, but nothing really special.

Next up was Porcupine Tree, who put on a hell of a show jamming out hard. There was a relatively small crowd for this show and even Steven Wilson joked around about no one there knowing who they were. If you still haven’t looked into this band, do it now!

After wandering around the fest for a little while, we caught M.I.A. from afar while we waited for Rage. I was disappointed with her sound live, but hip-hop live almost always leaves me wanting and i was pretty far from the stage, so I won’t hold it against her, but I just don’t think I understand completely why everyone is so into her. Her rap style is so monotone and repetitive. I’ve listened to her new album a few times and I just don’t think she sounds that special.

After that, it was time for the main event, Rage Against The Machine. I had caught them at Phillips Arena back when they were touring for Battle Of Los Angeles and had loved that show so I was very excited to catch them here. They played a little longer than an hour, went through most of the hits, and by the end, I didn’t think it compared to the first time I saw them at all. They were very sloppy and didn’t sound like they were together at all, which is surprising to me since most of them have been playing together in Audioslave. The other main problem was the crowd didn’t really seem to be into them at all. When I caught them before, my favorite part of the show was watching the entire crowd go nuts, and this time it just didn’t seem to inspire that sort of reaction. Overall, though, it was still great seeing them again.

When we got back to our place Friday night, before heading down to Bourbon St. until 5am, we found a note from the woman running the bed and breakfast accusing us of eating her food in the freezer. The next morning, Biggie C woke up first to go through his photos from the day before and the woman came out and started screaming at him about the supposed missing food. After about an hour and a half of drama, the end game was that she was mistaken about the food and since Biggie C didn’t apologize for disagreeing with her about the fact that we didn’t eat the food, she kicked him out of the bed and breakfast. So we then had to waste another hour finding hotel to stay at for the rest of the weekend. The crappy B&B‘s email is hosts@ArtsBandB.com, so we urge all our readers to have some fun with that.

Saturday I didn’t really get to catch much music because of the above fiasco, but i caught a little bit of Ghostland Observatory, Ben Harper, and Spoon, who were all decent but not inspiring.

The best show of the weekend in my opinion was next, The Smashing Pumpkins. While I had some trouble enjoying the Asheville show I had caught over the summer because I didn’t know most of the songs they played, now that i know and love Zeitgeist, they were simply amazing. The almost two-hour set contained very little old-school hit songs you would expect from the typical festival show, but rather put on a compelling display of why the nu-Smashing Pumpkins are phenomenal in their own retro-rock ‘n’ roll way. If you can score a ticket to one of the make-up Atlanta shows this month, do it. For all of the music critic masses that just won’t take the new album seriously, you’re only depriving yourself of some great tunes.

After that, I caught the Tiesto set, who did some pretty good trance, capped by a Tegan And Sara remix that was, for better or worse, stuck in all of our heads for the rest of the weekend.

Sunday I started on the tiny stage to check out Good Guys, I really interesting hybrid of metal and Lounge music. This New Orleans native band came out dressed in Ghostbuster uniforms and were really cool and weird. If you want to hear something unlike anything you’ve heard before, i recommend checking them out.

Next up I checked out Quintron And Miss Pussycat. Despite the fact that Miss Pussycat , Quintron‘s wife, seemed more like a prop than a musician, Quintron tore it up with a really interesting array of instrumentation that apparently he has invented or built. I was way in the back for the show so I didn’t really get to see everything he was using, but I hope to catch this New Orleans act again, maybe at one of their upcoming Mardi Gras shows.

After that I caught the end of the Black Crowes show, and it was better than the first time I saw them at Bonnaroo, which was terrible, but they just aren’t my thing. Common came on next and I thought he put on a really great show, with a full band backing him. After that I caught Wilco to close out the fest and they rocked just as hard as their spectacular Bonnaroo set earlier this year, but I didn’t quite like the song selection as much. There is no denying that Wilco as it is now is a pretty top-notch band and I will go see them every chance I get.

My overall impression of my second Voodoo experience was overwhelmingly positive. I’m a big fan of the two opposing stages going back and forth keeping music constantly going that both Pitchfork Fest and Lollapalooza also employ. The sound systems seemed to have a minimal amount of problems, although I did hear a few. My biggest complaint about the weekend would be the crowd. At the peak times on Friday and Saturday, there were ridiculously long lines for the bathrooms and food and beer outlets, but the Voodoo Fest’s estimates on attendance were over 150,000 people for the weekend, up over 50% from the previous year’s 93,000, so i don’t think they were fully prepared for so many people. Also, the crowd seemed to remind me most of the Music Midtown crowds of a few years ago that don’t exude the same level of respect for their fellow festival goers you expect at hippy fests like Echo Project and Bonnaroo. But for me, those were only minor annoyances that did very little to curb the fun I had this year at Voodoo and I’m looking forward to checking it out again next year.

Photos: Voodoo Festival 10-27-07 at City Park – New Orleans, LA

Spoon

Tiesto

The Smashing Pumpkins

Photos: Voodoo Festival 10-26-07 at City Park – New Orleans, LA

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Porcupine Tree

M.I.A.

Rage Against The Machine