Highlights from the Voodoo Experience on Saturday included Snoop Dogg, X, Gordon Gano and the Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Bounce Azztravaganza, Girl Talk and more. Photos by Gary LoVerde.
Pound for Pound, no one rocked harder on Saturday than X on the intimate Bingo! Stage. The band ripped through material from its landmark Los Angeles album and finished with a three-song encore that still had the crowd begging for more.
One might have expected a more massive set from Mastodon, which was sharp, but one could discern every note. The sound board crew seemed fine with that volume and at times, it seemed like Voodoo had created the first mosh pit for an orchestral performance. Entertaining nonetheless, and the band members spent the rest of the afternoon milling about the food area and grounds. The Atlanta rockers seem like the friendliest band in metal.
Jesse Hughes who uses one of his alter-ego's monikers as the band's name, Boots Electric, also put on a bizarrely friendly Voodoo debut. A veteran of the Eagles of Death Metal, whose songs the band covered, he offered to lay hands and heal audience members or to help out band members who screwed up. Hughes' persona and the band's debut release Honkey Kong are similarly wrapped in porno chic and tattooed Southern rock strains. Hughes is a Southern Californian by way of South Carolina and his stage presence is an eccentric mix of soul-saving truck stop preacher and cock-rock strut.
Also on a personal revival is Gordon Gano. The sometimes prickly former Violent Femme joined the Lost Bayou Ramblers on the Preservation Hall stage. They group played their recent single release, but for most of the set, Gano played second violin (literally, he picked at a violin through the entire set) as the Ramblers played Femmes classics. If Gano is at all tired of "Blister in the Sun," it was not evident when the they closed the set with it.
Girl Talk's set was packed, seemingly with more people than all of the Bingo!, Pres Hall and WWOZ stages combined at any given time yesterday. He showed his typical mastery of mixing snippets from songs as disparate as "The Monster Mash," Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl," Foster the People's "Pumped up Kicks," songs from The Who and a whole lot more in just the 20 minutes I was there.
In unexpected covers, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk detoured mid-set into a Nirvana phase, covering "In Bloom" and "Heart Shaped Box." Solid. Interesting.
The Ferris Wheel and amusement rides are the most conspicuous addition to Voodoo, and seem popular. But if you're looking for a Disney-style long line, try the Port-o-lets. And anyone afraid of missing today's Saints game can rest assured that the bar set up in the food area has several large-screen TVs that have been broadcasting sports all weekend. — Will Coviello