Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 Voodoo Experience Review Part 1

The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going.

You said it Bob.  

This town just drips intrigue, it infects your blood like a drug and reeks havoc with your mind.  Worlds are swallowed with every drop of spirits and eons flow by in hours.  The 2011 Voodoo Experience was no exception, it rushed by but felt suspended in time while combusting in the air above City Park.

After some effervescent lunch time Gin Gin Mules at the Swizzle Stick Bar in the Loews Hotel we made our way into the dazzling City Park Landscape, which has to rank as one of the most magnificent locations to host a concert in the country.
Weeping willows extend over fairgrounds, offering shade and relaxation beneath sunny skies.  The New Orleans weather was intensely schizophrenic on this journey as Day time set's were held under burning suns while night fall brought forceful winds chilling the crowd, there were many costumed revelers unprepared for the drastic changes.  In the shadow of a hurricane that blew by one couldn't help but be grateful for all the dry nights presented though.

Besides being blown away by the venue, the 5+ stages were all humming with vibrant performers from noon until midnight.  Friday had a few bright spots, one was the LA soul outfit Fitz & The Tantrums who had the Bingo Parlor Stage grooving to their smooth jazzy soulscapes:

The constant delight of Band of Horse's was also appreciated by the masses as the group controlled the main stage with ease and delivered a heart warming set.  Looking as if they just walked off of Frenchman the group blasted off into "The Great Salt Lake", got expansive with the title track off it's most recent album "Infinite Arms" and dripped with emotion over "No One's Gonna Love You".  "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands" was a crowd-pleaser as well:

The band had masses of fans singing along and with their new album almost finished up here's hoping they continue their upward trajectory.  Soundgarden ended the night via their metal/grunge ways playing crowd favorites like "Spoonman" "Beyond The Wheel" and "Fell On Black Days".  The group added an "event" feel to what just felt like a fantastic day in the park.

Saturday started early for RtBE as we got to the fairgrounds before noon to catch the gutter gospel styling of the one and only Rough Seven .  
 Click on the pic to expand (more Rough Seven pictures below)

While not packed to the gills, it didn't matter as the band easily put on one of our favorite sets of the whole weekend with their winning mix of gospel, rock, mayhem and energy.  Their late night Checkpoint Charlies set (while lacking a female touch) ramped up the energy even more 12 hours later...these kids are a must see attraction whenever they grace the stage in New Orleans.  
Because Voodoo won't let me embed the offical videos, you need to click on these links but they are worth it Here is "Had A Home" and one of RtBE's favorite songs from any band, "Meltdown"

After that delicious set it was time to check out the food selection at Voodoo, and while light years better then most festivals, there did seem to be a lot of the same food, just prepared by different local stations.  We scarfed down a Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Po'Boy as friends tried out a host of different entrees such as the Vegan Black Beans and Rice and Crawfish Bread Bowls.  

To digest we strolled the park grounds following the Noisician Coalition Parade, which was a hoot as they laid down in front of concert goers and freaked out everyone they could.

When we got back around to the stages we were just in time to catch The Soul Rebels Brass Band and start getting funky!

The beauty of a festival like this was the proximity of the stages but never a mixing of sound.  You have the ability to wander between the blasting funk of the Soul Rebels and the piano based rock and roll of the Happy Talk Band:
The Song "Mayday" from this years Voodoo:

We took full advantage of this checking out bands for a song here or there before settling down to get down.  This would come in very handy for Sunday night, but we aren't even through with Saturday yet!  For that and more  you will just have to wait for part 2 of the review.   Until then a few more RtBE Pics from the Rough Seven set, click to expand:

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