Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Best Weekend Ever.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 11:59 PM

For New Orleans, at least. And let's be fair: Monday may as well get in on this, too.

One where rock monsters flew, Irish punks fought, fuzzy garage rockers went Pilgrim, psychedelics inspired nudity, and nudity prevailed elsewhere. One where Halloween is mistaken for Mardi Gras. One where fleet-footed athletes outpaced and outjumped real-life ogres and sent an entire city reaching for the Bayer one moment and then damn near burning the place down the next.

You couldn't have been within city limits this weekend and not been under the spell of the 2009 Voodoo Experience nor the pre-game enthusiasm and post-win ecstasy of the New Orleans Saints victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Here are the moments you may have missed.

Despite potentially disruptive mud floods and weekend-long swamps, Friday's performers weren't missing anyone in their crowd — Black Keys led a mud-caked blues orgy, Justice jockeyed to an army of sloshing disco dancers, and MyNameIsJohnMichael, as temperatures dropped 20 degrees in pouring rain, brought the mercury to a fever.

Saturday's skies were more than clear, and the mud turned to soft pavement. With the sun dialed up to sunburn, temperatures rose within the Black Lips camp. Q: What do we play next? A: "That’s why we have a set list.” Yikes. Guitarist Cole Alexander, in the Halloween spirit, dressed something like a Liberace-inspired Pilgrim. Mates of State, as Captain and Tennille, offered the Black Lips antithesis: cute, doped-up-on-love bubblegum. All of this, of course, pre-empting the KISS chokehold. Arguably Voodoo's best performance in years. Fireworks, fire, blood, sparks — before, during, and after every song. Playing hits from across the KISS catalogue, the band eclipsed self-parody and ironic excess to become "totally awesome" again. Paul Stanley, ribbing Jane's Addiction and others who wanted to get "serious" about global warming and the world at large, prefaced "Rock and Roll All Nite" with a bombardment of confetti. This is the world in which KISS lives.

The Pogues, (sort of) led by Shane MacGowan (who seems to be perpetually recovering from the night before), were no less dirty, rambunctious and rude (all in a good way, of course). Nearing fisticuffs, the band raced through a history lesson in its classic folk-punk vernacular. Mr. MacGowan was escorted on-and off-stage throughout the set, and joined mostly seated with Miller Lite in hand.  This is a band teetering on self-destruction, and it makes it all the better.

If Fleur de Tease and Squirrel Nut Zippers held down the remainder of that afternoon, The Flaming Lips lifted the anchor. With a post-Halloween full moon looming overhead, the band emerged onstage from a screen's pulsating, technicolor birth canal and relished in a world of psychedelics and recent cuts from Embryonic, War of the Mystics and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Though the Lips recycled their opening cut from 2007's Voodoo (endless confetti, human hamster ball, "Race for the Prize"), it was like a secret handshake with us. We know what we're getting into.

As for Monday? Let's just say that if this is how frenzied New Orleans gets during the regular season at 7-0, I invite scientists to the city to observe spontaneous human combustion in real time.

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