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Politically-charged folk legend leads an exceptionally
diverse alternative cast

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2012
City Park, New Orleans, LA
October 26 - 28, 2012
Neil Young
Neil Young
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins

Story and Photos by Andy Argyrakis and Billy Sparks

Ever since Voodoo Music + Arts Experience rebounded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the eclectic, alternative-minded festival has gone off without a hitch. Thankfully that tradition continued this year when the pre-Halloween weekend finally came around, though it was certainly a nail biter up until that point. After all, having headliner Green Day cancel just a few weeks before showtime left a massive hole in the schedule begging to be filled, but organizers more than rose to the occasion with Metallica serving as the last minute replacement.

But even with those metal legends, plus a return appearance from a solo Jack White (on the heels' of last year's set with The Raconteurs), it was folk rockers Neil Young & Crazy Horse who stole the show. Although not nearly as aggressive as the aforementioned, the veteran act was hands down the most seasoned and impressive of the weekend, especially considering the front man is still firing on all cylinders at a ripe old 66.

The politically-charged troupe turned in a rugged, career-spanning trip throughout the leader's treasured catalogue, including gritty tunes from the new album "Psychedelic Pill," many of which jammed with fervor for well over ten minutes. Naturally though, classics like "Powderfinger," "The Needle & The Damage Done" and "Cinnamon Girl" earned the most applause, also reaffirming their place as some of the best folk-charged experimental rockers ever written.

Though this year's line-up was somewhat thin on marquee names when compared to past blockbusters, each night's undercard was exceptionally diverse and there was plenty to be discovered outside the handful of key players. Running a close second to Young and company was opening act The Avett Brothers, who continued that rollicking, rootsy tradition for today's generation. Other earlier performers of note included socially conscious rapper Nas, shoegazing alt-rockers Silversun Pickups, neo-psychedelia experimenters The Features, electro indie rockers AWOLNATION, pop/punkers Say Anything and progressive rock revivalists Coheed and Cambria.

There were also several familiar faces from yesteryear that fit right in with the proceedings, starting with new wave/electro pop pioneer Thomas Dolby. Sure, he dusted off smash singles like "Europa And The Pirate Twins" and "She Blinded Me With Science" in all their synth pop glory, but songs off last year's return to form album "A Map Of The Floating City" were just as ingenious and infectious. From the same era, Dave Stewart came out of hibernation to freshly paint Eurythmics' grooves like the soulful "Missionary Man" and a horn-infused "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," alongside roots rockin' reflections from his last two solo albums "The Blackbird Diaries" and "The Ringmaster General."

On the funk side of the dial, Bootsy Collins truly revved up the party with his larger than life personality and equally engaging band, who were all dressed in their finest masquerade ball regalia. Other old school remembrances ranged from the swampy piano blues of Marcia Ball and the alternative metal super group Tomahawk (anchored by ex-Mr. Bungle/Faith No More front man Mike Patton and ex-The Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison).

More than any year thus far in its history, Voodoo also expanded its reach in the dance/DJ department, mixing a series of world class names and relative newcomers. Skrillex served as the strongest upperclassman, complete with an astounding visual onslaught that helped bring the necessary facets of the club culture to an otherwise humble field. In the end, it was the ideal addition to an already well-rounded extravaganza that's quickly growing beyond a mere CrescentCity celebration into a national concert destination.

Related articles:

Voodoo Music Experience 2011
Voodoo Music Experience 2010
Voodoo Music Experience 2009
Voodoo Music Experience 2008
Voodoo Music Experience 2007
Voodoo Music Experience 2006
Voodoo Music Experience 2005
Voodoo Music Experience 2002

The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers/
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Young
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Bootsy Collins
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Say Anything
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby

Voodoo Photo Gallery #1

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