The Voodoo Music Experience returns to New Orleans this month for three days of rock, pop, hip hop and Louisiana’s indigenous music on Oct. 29-31. Visit 2010.thevoodooexperience.com for the complete line-up and festival details.
The voodoo religion is a confabulation of the present and the past. As things like Ray-Ban sunglasses and Darth Vader figure into the iconography for ancient gods of Haiti so too does the New Orleans’ City Park Halloween throwdown Voodoo Music Experience pull across demographics for its line-up. Among the warhorses anchoring the massive stages at City Park are Prince of Darkness-turned-Homer Simpson Ozzy Osbourne, high-octane arena-ready polymaths Muse and perennial greatest band on earth My Morning Jacket. But the real flavor of this year’s festival may be found in the lesser-known acts.
Jónsi wowed discerning listeners as the angelic voice of Sigur Rós but has recently taken an artful page from his fellow Icelander Björk’s song book with his exotic, artful pop album Go. His elaborate stage show is considered the one not to miss this season. A testament to the star power of hip-hop phenom Drake is the buzz he garnered in Los Angeles recently by not showing up to an event, though one suspects he keeps his appointment book updated now. The two greatest voices in modern soul, Janelle Monáe and Raphael Saadiq, will also be appearing, laying down lessons in how to perform a song. For some real-deal soul singing, direct your attention to the criminally undersung talents of Eli “Paperboy” Reed, who took his act from the church to the juke joint to Capitol Records.
Voodoo has the pop side of things neatly tied up with MGMT and Hot Chip, destined to craft a dance floor out of the mud, but one would be remiss to not take in the intoxicating pop of Florence and the Machine as well a local songbird Theresa Andersson. The truly inspired talent in this arena though, is South African hip-hop act Die Antwoord, one that many believe might change the landscape should they take hold in the United States. The expanded, star-studded deejay line-up ranges from grand champion Paul Oakenfold to Toronto upstart deadmau5 and Germany’s master remixer and recording artist Paul van Dyk.
For those sticklers for music played on guitars by earnest souls, Jakob Dylan and New Orleans’ own Paul Sanchez are on board. If you like things a little more melodramatic, hit up Interpol. More ramshackle and a little ridiculous? Check out Eagles of Death Metal. Bring a flask with you? Drink up Happy Talk Band.
The blues-hungry should gravitate toward Alvin Youngblood Hart and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm. Finally, for those of you who like a little Louisiana music in your Louisiana music festivals, Buckwheat Zydeco, Trombone Shorty and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band are on hand as well as the powerhouse Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars featuring Tab Benoit.
Finally, if none of these acts is capturing that this festival does so well, I recommend The New Orleans Bingo! Show and Quintron & Miss Pussycat. If they can’t move you, perhaps nothing can.