Glow Sticks and Goat’s Blood: AG Writers Pick their Voodoo 2014 Favorites

Red Baraat by Erin Patrice O'Brien
Published  October 2014

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience has always served up an eclectic conflict of sound, whether it’s been Neil Young vs. Metallica, Rage Against the Machine vs. M.I.A., or this year’s lineup, which pits metal gods Slayer against EDM wonderboy Skrillex and Outkast vs. the Foo Fighters. So turnt or tortured, lasers or lucifer: whatever your thing, you’ll be sure to find it at this year’s Experience. Here’s some of the talent we’re looking forward to enjoying in City Park. (One request from the AG staff: leave the Indian headdresses at home. That’s some basic shit right there.)


 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31 

 

Red Baraat by Erin Patrice O'Brien

Red Baraat by Erin Patrice O’Brien

Red Baraat
There are plenty of brass bands who mix the New Orleans street sound with some other-cultural ingredients, but none can match the power, conviction and hypnotic heft of Brooklyn’s Bhangra-brass bangarang Red Baraat. Their sets are searing, blistering, dance and trance inducing, swooping sonic sallies from North India to South Louisiana, hitting every undulating beat between. As anyone who caught their exhaustingly awesome recent showings at Congo Square and Tip’s can tell you, these dudes absolutely love New Orleans. When they come to our town, they throw down. —Jules Bentley

Slayer
My jaw hit the ground when they announced that Slayer was on the lineup. How can you not get excited at the prospect of hearing those anthemic metal riffs tearing through the night on Halloween? This has been one of my favorite bands, literally since puberty. They’ve consistently remained brutally fast and heavy, but you can still understand the lyrics. They are truly the reigning kings of the “Big 4” thrash bands of the ‘80s, and they have been unstoppable since their inception in 1981. I’ve seen this band many times, and they never disappoint. I’m thrilled to see the lineup with Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph, both of whom have been tearing it up with Slayer off and on for years now, but whom I’ve never had the pleasure of catching live at the same time. Now, since the release of the single, “Implode” back in April (the first new song since 2009’s World Painted Blood album was released), there are sure to be a few surprises unleashed upon this unsuspecting crowd. This one act is worth the full price of admission, hands down. —Jenn Attaway

The Melvins
When I interviewed Buzz Osborne  back in May of this year, he clued me in on a closely-guarded secret from The Melvins’ camp: not only were they about to put out a new album chock- full of surprises, but they were also booked to perform at this year’s Voodoo Fest—on Halloween night. Turns out, the album, Hold It In,includes guitarist Paul Leary of The Butthole Surfers! I can’t wait to hear the new material live, in addition to the enormous catalog of great music they’ve been cranking out since 1983. Plus, it’ll be a refreshing change to see them in an open-air setting, and not be packed into a sweaty, pulsating, max-capacity venue. They always put on such a great show, sometimes incorporating a second drummer opposite Dale Crover. The addition of Pinkus (from Honky) on bass has really rounded out the line-up  perfectly. It’s so nice to have not one but two heavy bands on the Voodoo line-up this year, between Slayer’s driving thrash and the plodding, moody groove of the Melvins. —Jenn Attaway

Outkast
A blast from the not-too-distant past, Outkast was the soundtrack to much of my high school and college experience. I had the chance to see them earlier this year at Hangout Fest and it was unequivocally the best show of the weekend. Their set had great pacing and included all the hits and some great deep cuts. Andre and Big Boi’s chemistry was perfectly on point. My only sadness came from the lack of hearing “Morris Brown,” but I’m holding on to the hope that they will realize the golden opportunity of bringing a local marching band on stage with them for this song at Voodoo. Imagine how great it could be to see one of our amazing high school bands backing up that sweet chorus of “My heart is like a marching band / I’m a fan in the stands / Yes I am and I’m hollering hey baby / Sayin’ hey baby” Whether my dreams  come true or not, this set is guaranteed to be a party. Closing out the first evening of the festival, Outkast will no doubt spit the audience out into the streets of New Orleans on a Halloween night with an undeniable boogie in its step. —Erin Hall

King Buzzo of the Melvins by Cord McPhail

King Buzzo of the Melvins by Cord McPhail


 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1

 

ASTR
Offering densely layered tracks that might’ve been assembled by a gifted shut-in given unlimited access to the last three decades’ better dance-  pop and atmospheric synth, ASTR’s sound is yummy, tooth-rotting junk food, pastiche that just manages to be more than the sum of its parts. Less cerebral and less pretentious than  most of the techy-dude-and-lady- singer competition, their warm sound  balances apparently aimless nostalgia  with careful popcraft. The result is familiar without being tired, surprising without being contrived, ambient without being wallpaper: perfect downtempo head-bobbing festival music. —Jules Bentley

Death from Above 1979
A decade after their last album, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, the Toronto dance-punk duo comprised of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler reconciled their personal differences to appease the masses and release their  latest exercise, The Physical World, a decidedly more proficient and polished  record instrumentally, if not lyrically. Self-described as “Springsteen meets  Sonic Youth,” one thing ’s for certain:  the crowd for their show can expect a fresh rock experience to reminisce about. —Alex Taylor

Peelander-Z
I’m stoked every time these living, breathing, Japanese-American cartoon characters come to town. The music is really good, upbeat pop-punk; and they keep the crowd participation at a fever pitch. It’s a very interactive show, with human bowling, choreographed moves, signs to tell the crowd how to respond to call-and-answer songs and banter, and various “musical instruments” passed out to the crowd. There are different characters brought to life through costumes, and the story has the guys, Peelander Purple, Peelander Green, and Peelander Yellow, along with their female sidekick, Peelander Pink (the merch girl who assists with some of the props), here on Earth from the Peelander planet. Sometimes, they bring in an additional guitarist, Peelander Black, too. With catchy, memorable songs like, “Ninja High School,” “S.T.E.A.K.,” and “Mad Tiger,” you will find yourself singing along and dancing, and hopefully, you’ll be as hooked as I am. —Jenn Attaway

Lauryn Hill
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only 30 year old white woman who had a deep, abiding love for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill at the age of 13. I was just starting to understand the power that could hide behind a well-written verse of rapid-fire rapping and Ms. Hill blew me away with her unflinching honesty and bold call-to-arms. Ms. Lauryn Hill has had scores of personal issues over the years that have kept her out of the game, so this booking was particularly intriguing to me. I feel like it’s a 50/50 shot that we see brilliance or breakdown. The fine line that splits genius and madness seems to be the place Ms. Hill resides, but I’m betting that we see her true talent on display this time. —Erin Hall

Benjamin Booker
Inspired by years in the Florida punk scene and hours listening to WWOZ in the car, Benjamin Booker’s tunes seem familiar already—and despite his age (25), his music bleeds the kind of pain and passion the blues have always represented. Booker relocated to New Orleans from Gainesville, Florida in 2012, and if you haven’t heard from him yet, you will soon. He earned a spot on ATO Records less than a year after recording his first demos. This summer, he tore up his slot at Newport Folk Fest and introduced himself to legions of young blues-rock fans as the opening act on Jack White’s solo tour. Show up for the uncommon urgency and fiery guitar playing that propels  songs like “Have You Seen My Son?,” a mother’s lament retold in rock’n’roll. After the show, slip Booker’s soulful rasp between Josh Ritter and Alabama Shakes on your modern Americana  playlist and remember to tell your friends where you heard him first. —Anna Gaca

 

Peelander Z by Adrienne Battistella

Peelander Z by Adrienne Battistella


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2

 

CHURCH with Unicorn Fukr & Innerlign
I know you love the wub. You need the wub, don’t you? You crave it. You desire  the wub. Your fibers long to vibrate to it, your fingers and spine want to flail all herky-jerky to its high speed low-end quaver. At Voodoo, the wub is well-wuvved. But before Rehage’s wub scouts clambered aboard the wub wagon, Unicorn Fukr was already preaching the gospel of dubstep on South Louisiana radio, via improbably long club sets worldwide, and of course  at Church, the sempiternal Sunday sessions of dirty bass at Dragon’s Den. Unicorn Fukr’s hard-earned success and longevity are throbbing proof that  dubstep remains alive and well; the wub wobbles but it don’t fall down. Innerlign, a local secret so well-kept you may never have heard of him, will be on hand as well. —Jules Bentley

Quintron & Miss Pussycat
More than a decade before St. Claude suffered its current onslaught of soulless trend-chasers, one small, low-ceiling space hosted jam-packed late-night dance parties, DIY puppetry and soulful psychedelic synth-jam freakouts. Quintron and Miss Pussycat  have always obeyed their own obscure  musical and creative muses, regardless of fame, fortune, or fads. Their ever- evolving swamp-tech sound, recently revitalized live stage show and forthcoming album, Spellcaster II: Death in Space, might seem to harken back to a less yuppie-fucked era of downtown weirdo creativity, but really just exists outside any relation to it: a grimy, sweat-dripping, Spanish-moss- bedecked heart muscle beating on in a rhythm all its own. —Jules Bentley

Bo Ningen
Bo Ningen do not fit neatly into Voodoo’s staple categories of popular alt rock, EDM, and local musicians. This London-based post rock/acid punk quartet sing in their native Japanese, and their dour walls of sound and sawtoothed guitars are better suited to an avant-garde nightclub than City Park at one in the afternoon. They’re also going up against the ever-popular Quintron and Miss Pussycat, who play at 12:30. But maybe you caught Quintron’s late-night Halloween show on Friday, and also made it to Voodoo before mid-afternoon on Sunday. Congratulations—you’re way better at festival weekend time management than I am. Now go check out Bo Ningen! They’re a little bit metal, a little bit psychedelic, and unlike anything else at Voodoo this year. If they feel like matching the mood of the hour, they’ll pick songs like “Mukaeni  Ikenai,” a droney nine-minute jam with the energy level of Slowdive. But don’t count on them to play it safe: for their  latest project, they’re collaborating with austere post-punks Savages on a 37-minute “sonic simultaneous poem” both bands will perform live later this November. —Anna Gaca

John Butler  Trio
This roots-rock band has been around (in some incarnation or another) for over a decade now. Aside from regular  festival shows, they haven’t gotten a ton of acclaim. Most people would categorize them as “jam,” but I don’t, because I hate jam bands, and I do not hate John Butler Trio. The man behind  the trio is a delightful Australian hippie who plucks his 12-string with the aid of acrylic nails. On a strictly musical level, his picking is virtuosic, plain and simple. That alone would make it worth stopping by his set, but he’s also a stunning songwriter with some solid pipes. One of the earlier shows on Sunday, this set should give you ample time to recover from your hangover  before the heavy hitters grace the stage. Grab some grass and let your inner  hippie out for a little spin. —Erin Hall

Gogol Bordello
I’ve been a fan of this gypsy punk outfit since my early college days and it’s been an interesting ride to watch how the lineup has flexed and fluxed over the years. The sound and style have morphed in a more Latin direction recently, but the pure energy is still there, thanks to the center of the cyclone—lead singer Eugene Hutz. I’ve yet to attend a Gogol show where I didn’t dance myself into a sweaty frenzy, so I expect no different of their  Sunday evening set at Voodoo. Their  last record, Pura Vida Conspiracy, was released nearly two years ago, which begs the question of if we might get treated to some as-yet unreleased material. If you enjoy dancing your face off and appreciate a good accordion or fiddle solo, this show will be your happy place. —Erin Hall

 

 

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