Review and Photos by Jason SquiresGators and gumbo, crawdads and crab legs, exposed breasts and bare bellies - "Girls Gone Wild," step aside...Mardi Gras, move over. The 4th Annual Voodoo Festival conjured up some hardcore Halloween havoc at the New Orleans City Park on November 2nd. Now that the cheesy voodoo Halloween word play is out of the way, let's move on to the details of what has become a staple in the yearly concert schedule.
The Voodoo Music Experience kicked off on an unusually cool Louisiana morning, toting the phrase "Worship the music." With a lineup that included 311, No Doubt, Garbage, Sum 41 and Counting Crows it wasn't hard to please the voodoo gods. Likewise, these heavy hitters made it easy to overlook the lesser known acts, such as Nappy Roots, (hed)pe, Jurassic 5 and the North Mississippi Allstars.
The event took place on two main stages; meanwhile the DJ sets were performed in a large smoke-filled tent. At times the trance music from the tent flooded the peaceful park with more stimulation than even the Blind Boys of Alabama could handle.
Early in the day, (hed)pe took the stage hoping to become a heavy metal household name. Next up was the increasingly popular Nappy Roots, proving that down home hip hop + 30 men onstage with a microphone = overnight success. The mention of marijuana on every other word is optional. Sum 41 exploded onstage bringing with them the pop punk energy that catapulted them into the spotlight. Reminding some of Billy Joe from Green Day, Sum 41's front man, Bizzy D, packed a powerful punch for such a tiny person.
Taking a break from the hip hop, metal, and pop punk, the crowd got a dose of the acoustic folk sounds of Jack Johnson. Trying to shake off the small club scene, Jack Johnson took the reigns and looked at home playing to one of the largest crowds he's ever played for. This former surfer took on the crowd solo with three very mellow songs, later being joined by a band to awaken those voodoo gods that are hard of hearing.
Counting down the last few hours of this long concert day were a flurry of female phenoms. Scottish favorites, Garbage embraced their first time in New Orleans. The crowd didn't quite know how to respond when the voice of Garbage, Shirley Manson, claimed they'd been eating red beans and rice all day. It just somehow doesn't fit with a thick Scottish accent.
Meanwhile, on another festival stage were the scratchy, soulful sounds of Macy Gray. Taking the stage amidst a bone-chilling November rain, Macy and her clan all sported matching white afro wigs. The only thing surprising about the afro wigs is the stark white color, as Ms. Gray is infamous for adding wigs to stage wardrobe.
Although it wasn't quite red beans and rice, No Doubt served up their new rocksteady flavor shortly after Garbage left the stage. Bare bellied as always, Gwen Stefani rocked the house for a crowd that mostly seemed in attendance to see their favorite SoCalers in action. No Doubt immediately warmed up and dried off this rain-soaked crowd.
Like all good things that must come to an end, Voodoo wrapped up the daylong festivities with Counting Crows and 311 while 85,000 people were wishing it would last another day.
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