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Voodoo Children 

AM

2:30 p.m. Friday

Voodoo Stage

click to enlarge AM
  • AM

Though his family moved from Tulsa, Okla., to the Northshore when he was 13, he studied philosophy at Loyola University and claims New Orleans as a cherished former home, AM prefers the more mysterious persona he's taken on since relocating to Los Angeles in the early 2000s — he wouldn't identify an exact year. He also declines to name the year he graduated and the names of bands he played in locally, saying he took backseat roles in other musicians' projects. But the professed fan of Walter "Wolfman" Washington does claim at least one link to his days in New Orleans:

  "The laid-back grooviness is what I got."

  His recent release Future Sons & Daughters (Filter) is groovy, though one might not identify it as a Crescent City vibe. AM calls it "indie lounge pop," and that's an accurate enough label. Its mellow crooning is sometimes sunny, sometimes melancholy, and occasionally contemplative lyrics match brooding, moody vibes.

  If going west offers any promise in American culture, it's the opportunity to remake one's identity. The album complements a persona that's been thoroughly tie-dyed in urbane Los Angeles sophistication with a mix of psychedelia, muted guitar rock and tambourine static. AM used only guitars made before 1970 on the project, and the album art and fonts suggest some hippie-era California dreaming. There also are lurking Latin vibes that he attributes both to Southern California living and an interest in 1960s and '70s Brazilian tropicalia.

  AM found his break into recording by landing songs on TV and film soundtracks. "Playing the Game" was used on Life As We Know It and "Gone Away" was on HBO's Big Love. Many of the songs that became part of 2006's Troubled Times (Defend Music) landed on screen. He also gained expsure via the tastemaking Los Angeles radio station KCRW. The basis for many of those songs came from tapes he made while at Loyola.

  "Music was more of a bedroom activity then," he says. "I got into composition. It was collegiate noodling."

  He may not want to claim it, but the Loyola philosophy department website lists Anthony Miller as one of their successful recent graduates. — Will Coviello


Jonsi

5:30 p.m. Friday

Sony Make.Believe Stage

While Bjork made the world believe Iceland was populated by screaming aliens, Sigur Ros convinced us it was full of weeping angels. Such is the power and peculiarity of the Reykjavik pop deconstructionists, in particular bandleader Jon Thor Birgisson. As Jonsi, his pseudo-solo side project launched during his supporting cast's indefinite hiatus, Birgisson loses none of the chest-thwacking impact of Sigur Ros' softly roaring 10-minute meditations. If anything, these new stagehands — boyfriend and Sigur Ros design guru Alex Somers, Finnish drummer Samuli Kosminen and do-everything New York composer Nico Muhly — seem to have caffeinated and focused the sometimes sleep-deprived, often overly patient singer/guitarist. There's a persistent vigor to April debut Go (XL) that only occasionally peeks out from behind Sigur Ros' blanketing textural quilts. Kosminen's percussion is an EKG-spiking sprint, setting the pace for an album marked by breathless percussive touches. In Jonsi's beehive world, everything hums: the intermittent vocals and flutes that open "Go Do" like chirping birds announcing a sunrise, the cut-up and pieced-together chorale and piano that underpins "Sinking Friendships," the tinkling bells and whistling singing on "Around Us" propelled then eviscerated by a thousand-horsepower, sidewalk-cracking rhythm.

  But does it sound like Sigur Ros? Both devotees and detractors, of which the band has many, could be contented. There's no denying that voice — Birgisson's throat houses one of the most dramatic instruments in pop music, capable of pinging sonar to the depths of the ocean or taking flight in a falsetto that challenges operatic sopranos. Nor his melodic turns, a brand of decidedly Scandinavian twee that may cloy the jaded but appear to have been engineered to provoke some emotional response, whatever it may be. But it's the heart-racing velocity on most Jonsi tracks that elevates them from Birgisson's previous work. Arching on parabolas — fast at first, slowing for a moment, then quicker still — it's as if he's punting each song in the air. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


Weezer

7:45 p.m. Friday

Sony Make.Believe Stage

click to enlarge Weezer
  • Weezer

Years after releasing two stellar LPs — the debut self-titled "blue" album and Pinkerton — Weezer's Rivers Cuomo stopped growing up. Well, he grew backwards. During a musical mid-career crisis, Cuomo was rock's Toys R Us kid, signing to juvenile-friendly punk rock label Epitaph and committing to live shows with his crew dressed in matching, Imagination Movers-worthy white jumpsuits while jumping on trampolines and coasting through arena-rock versions of "blue" album cuts "Buddy Holly" and "Undone — The Sweater Song." Drummer Pat Wilson turned in his skins for guitar, and Cuomo ditched his guitar entirely.

  Inking a deal with the longstanding independent punk rock label and ending a longtime partnership with Geffen Records may have been what Cuomo needed to snap out of a mid-career funk. Epitaph announced the re-release of Pinkerton, along with Death to False Metal, a collection of 10 unreleased Weezer cuts from the early '90s up to now. To top it off, the band's Voodoo Experience appearance kicks off a string of dates featuring only the blue album and Pinkerton.

  Between the releases of Pinkerton, the landmark foundation for indie crossover successes, and the band's latest Hurley, the band has tinkered with several releases, all met almost unanimously with a "What happened to this band?" from critics and fans alike — to the point where some consider Weezer a fluke. Earlier this year, one fan tried to raise enough money to convince the band to stop making music altogether.

  The band traded its timeless early '90s power-pop hooks and introverted garage rock — songs showing serious promise and drawing a devoted cult following — for songs like "Beverly Hills" and collaborations with Lil Wayne and sad blanket manufacturer Snuggie. There also were Shrek Forever After soundtrack contributions, a tour with Blink-182, and an album called Raditude. There were occasional hits — 2008's "Pork and Beans" and "Troublemaker" from the band's third self-titled album (the "red" one), and a lukewarm response to the 2001 "comeback" album (the band's second self-titled album, or the "green" one), and its follow-up Maladroit.

  But there were mostly misses, or at least nothing up to par with the universally acclaimed Weezer of 1994 to 1996 — now Hurley picks up where Pinkerton left off. With Lost actor Jorge Garcia's perpetually grinning mug on the album's cover, Hurley has Cuomo waxing nostalgia and dropping the gimmicks. On "Memories," he sings "I want to be there again." — Alex Woodward


Hot Chip

7:45 p.m. Friday

Le Plur Tent

Hot Chip makes paradoxical club music for people who rarely enter clubs, after-midnight headphone fodder about prep school crushes and cruising with the top down on 20-inch rims, blazing to introverted indie rockers Yo La Tengo. Like Canadian counterparts Junior Boys, the Londoners are born studio arrangers and in-demand international DJs, and their meticulously groomed, coolly aloof synth-pop singles are a catwalk of sonic knockouts: crisply produced, carelessly stylish and not a hi-hat or cowbell out of place. Stringing together three of them at the start of sophomore LP The Warning — the wistful, shape-shifting triptych "And I Was a Boy From School," "Colours" and "Over & Over" — catapulted the group to the frontline of new electronic recording artists. The 2006 release, still Hot Chip's most consistent from start to finish, frequented year-end lists and was a finalist for the Mercury Prize, the U.K.'s annual honor for best homegrown album.

  The uppercuts on the group's two follow-up records aren't so juxtaposed, but they more than justify the occasional filler. "I Feel Better," off February's One Life Stand, could be a B-side retrofit to Madonna's "Like a Prayer," strapping singer Alexis Taylor's effeminate-robot vocals onto digitized sidewinder strings; "Ready for the Floor," from 2008's Made in the Dark, is an out-and-out hit, an undeniable dance-floor instigator that throws hook after hook at curlicue synths and fat racquetball beats. But Hot Chip's best songs may be the ones it didn't write, just roused. In Taylor and partner Joe Goddard's hands, Amy Winehouse's smash "Rehab" becomes a high-stepping marching band's R&B anthem; Junior Boys' breathy, bassy "In the Morning" gets pelted with metallurgic raindrops and audible laser beams. The pair's most recent endeavor is re-examining themselves: September EP We Have Remixes (Astralwerks) is a One Life Stand redux, on which a slew of similarly talented friends (Hot City, Caribou) return the favor. (Fun fact: You can upload your own at www.astralwerks.com/hot_chip.) — Pais


Die Antwoord

6:15 p.m., Saturday

Le Plur TENT

"Are they for real?" That's the most common question aimed at Cape Town, South Africa, rap outfit Die Antwoord. It also could be asked more directly: Who are these people?

  Rapid-fire South African accents gush a multitude of personas, voices, characters, obscenities, Afrikaans slang and Khosa clicks — all blasting in and out of overblown synth orchestras and booming club bass. Its self-described "rave rap" exploits and enjoys the "zef" style — a working-class, gold chains-and-tracksuits hip-hop counterculture. Die Antwoord identifies with "blacks, whites, coloureds, English, Afrikaans, Khosa, Zulu."

  "I'm like all of different people, f—d into one person," says the lanky, tattooed frontman Ninja in the video for "Enter the Ninja," a nightmarish, hip-hop-meets-Aphex Twin visual overload that looks like H.R. Pufnstuf compared to the giant penis pendulum-filled video for "Evil Boy."

  Ninja's persona meets his match in Yo-Landi Vi$$er, his pint-sized, super-blonde co-pilot steering songs into even weirder and more sexually aggressive themes. Their self-released debut $O$ (Interscope) is equal parts Rick Rubin for Def Jam, marijuana- and Ecstasy-fueled rave music, hyper-aggressive lewd rap, and psychedelic South African tribalism. Bass heavy '90s club music backs the eight-and-a-half-minute "Beat Boy," a graphically detailed Hellraiser-meets-Twin Peaks epic — and it's kind of hilarious.

  Is it supposed to be funny? Not really. Ninja is Waddy Jones, a longtime presence in conceptual (and comedic) South African hip-hop, who has inhabited his Ninja persona permanently, like a musically and socially capable Ali G made real. He spins ultraviolent Wu-Tang Clan-like tales, preludes a global zef takeover, and could fill books with Afrikaans slang not friendly for print or the English language. Internet message boards declare them a hoax or an elaborate performance art piece, though nobody knows who or what the joke is on. Die Antwoord swears it's for real.

  In a short, pseudo-documentary clip, "Zef Side," Ninja breaks down the band dynamic: "DJ Hi-Tek lives with his granny, I live with my mom down the road, and Yo-Landi, she's the next-door neighbor across the road. ... DJ Hi-Tek makes, like, he's got a PC computer. He makes next-level beats, and basically, I've got some serious, like, gangsta skill on the mic."

  Ninja explains Die Antwoord, translated, means, "The Answer."

  "Answer to what?" asks the filmmaker.

  Ninja answers, "Whatever, man. F—k." — Woodward


Drake

7 p.m. Saturday

Voodoo Stage

click to enlarge Drake
  • Drake

Aubrey Drake Graham, better known simply as Drake, is a former Canadian teen soap opera star turned Lil' Wayne protege and platinum-selling rap artist. At 23 years old, he dropped the most anticipated and universally acclaimed hip-hop album of 2010, and it's not his freshman effort. Before finding a home at Wayne's Young Money Entertainment (a part of Universal), Drake released a string of mixtapes and collaborations with Kanye West, Diplo, Trey Songz, Santigold and Bun B, among others.

  On June's Thank Me Later, his major label debut, there are no guns-drawn street stories, no drug-dealing posturing. Drake outlines one young star's quick rise to fame and how he deals with its best and worst — his mantra is "I'm doin' me," as he repeats on the album's first single "Over," the album's mission statement. He masks his fears of the spotlight with typical rap bravado, but he's overwhelmed (and schizophrenic) in the rat race to the top of the rap game. "Man, they treat me like a legend. Am I really that cold?" he raps on "Over." "I'm really too young to be feeling this old."

  He shifts from chest-puffing blunt confidence (on "Up All Night") to social anxiety and relationship paranoia (on "Karaoke"), or, sometimes, both (on "Miss Me" he raps, "She right here getting naked./ I don't judge her, I don't judge her, but I could never love her/ 'cause to her I'm just a rapper, and soon she'll have met another.").

  Thank Me Later is padded with syrupy, dreamy synth blips and minimal percussion, a few well-placed orchestral interludes and top-notch production from longtime-collaborator Noah "40" Shebib and a slew of reliable hit-makers (Timbaland, Swizz Beatz). But it's Drake's Everyman heartbreak — to which he devotes thousands of words, making him more verbose on the subject than Morrissey — that sets him apart from his peers, despite his VIP club status and designer everything. — Woodward


Eagles of Death Metal

9:30 p.m. Saturday

Bingo! TENT

click to enlarge Eagles of Death Metal
  • Eagles of Death Metal

Don't let the name fool you: The Eagles of Death Metal are about as grim as ABBA. Armed with one of the more deceptive names around, these Southern California cool cats are only interested in getting the dance floor moving.

  In some hyper-'70s universe, the Eagles of Death Metal come at you with falsettos, crunching guitar chords and hip swivels. It's an express ride of stripper beats mixed with glam rock a la T. Rex and the New York Dolls — bellowing bravado and sex appeal.

  "Our sound is like if Bachman Turner Overdrive and Chuck Berry raped Little Richard's and Keith Richards' small intestines," says Eagles co-founder Jesse Hughes. "There's definitely some sound-rapage going on with us."

  They use stripped down Rolling Stones-like guitar riffs, circa Some Girls, drop in a little of the Big Bopper on the refrains, and add a huge dose of Bon Scott-era AC/DC.

  The band is the brainchild of Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh "Baby Duck" Homme, and South Carolinian Hughes. Like Queens, the Eagles have a revolving cast of characters, sometimes including Dave Grohl and Jack Black.

  "Eagles of Death Metal is like the special forces of rock 'n' roll," Hughes says. "All the associated bands are one big family, and we all have our role to play when called upon — besides, who wants to say no to playing the fun show."

  Hughes handles vocals and rhythm guitar, joined by Dave Catching on lead guitar. Abby Travis is sitting in on bass for Brian O'Connor, who has been sidelined recently, undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer. Joey "The Sexy-Mexy" Castillo is on drums.

  The band formed in 1998 in Palm Desert, Calif., and recorded that year on Volumes 3 & 4 of The Desert Sessions (Man's Ruin), Homme's now legendary eclectic recording project started in 1997, at a vintage studio in Joshua Tree, Calif.

  Eagles was put on hold when Queens of the Stone Age took off, but refocused, and in 2004 the tongue-in-cheek Peace Love Death Metal (Ant Acid Audio) was released. While successful with advertisers, it was not until their 2006 follow-up Death by Sexy that the band found its alt-garage desert rock stride. That sound was distilled to a higher grade on the most recent release, Heart On (Downtown Recordings), in 2008.

  The band name and some song titles are full of campy innuendo about the pompous trappings of rock stardom. Hughes blows out all the stereotypes with an outrageous pompadour, thick porn-star mustache and tighter-than-tight jeans.

  "Man, I was a right-wing square growing up and didn't get laid much in high school," Hughes says. "I was over at the porn star karaoke show Tuesday night — I'm trying to make up for lost time now."

  With song titles such as "Whorehoppin' (Shit, Goddam)," "I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen)" and "I'm Your Torpedo," this isn't poetry, just booty-moving tracks about getting laid.

  The Eagles of Death Metal are particularly recognized for their incendiary live performances and Hughes' charismatic interaction with the crowd.

  "Our shows are the best part of getting your girlfriend pregnant," Hughes says.

  The band was unable to perform at Voodoo last year but will have two shows this weekend. Friday night's Voodoo-After Party at One Eyed Jacks features the Eagles of Death Metal, Fitz and the Tantrums and Cary Ann Hearst.

  "We had to pull out of Voodoo last year because I had to go to rehab, so I'm really looking forward to both these shows in New Orleans, to see which one ends up being better." — Peter Wilson


White Rabbits

12:15 p.m. Sunday

Voodoo Stage

Sometimes a little serendipity is all a band really needs. Take Brooklyn's White Rabbits, who in 2007 found themselves trying to figure out exactly how to follow up their well-received debut album, Fort Nightly. The main goal was to capture more of the band's widely noted onstage energy. One night, the band was throwing out names of potential producers and Britt Daniel, mastermind of indie rock darlings Spoon, was suggested. Spoon's and White Rabbits' paths had crossed while on tour, and the band members had recently become friends. White Rabbits' drummer Jamie Levinson texted a pal to get his thoughts on the Britt Daniel idea — a friend whose name happened to begin with "B." Fate intervened when Levinson accidentally sent his text to Daniel, who was understandably intrigued.

  Daniel accepted the producer's role and the result was last year's It's Frightening, which won the band new fans and widespread praise from tastemakers like online magazine Pitchfork. The ska-inflected dance-rock of Fort Nightly (which the band dubbed "honky-tonk calypso") was replaced by stark arrangements, atmospheric effects, strong melodic hooks and remarkable overall crispness, all of which can be used to describe Spoon's music. But Daniel's production work also sharpens the band's dual-drummer, dual singer/songwriter attack, giving its sound a distinctive edge that helps set it apart in an overcrowded national indie rock scene.

  Recent success has rendered White Rabbits no strangers to large, attentive audiences. This spring, the band performed on the main stage at California's mammoth Coachella Festival, and last month it opened for Muse at London's 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium. It will be interesting to see if the band's considerable drive can roust a predictably weary, late-weekend crowd with its early set. — Ken Korman


Janelle Monae

2:15 p.m. Sunday

Soco/WWOZ Stage

In a perfect world, all mainstream artists would be like Janelle Monae: adventurous, eclectic, fun yet truly artistic,

  Monae moved from Kansas City, Mo., to Atlanta, inspired by how that city had embraced the equally hard-to-define duo OutKast. She got her first big break after OutKast's Big Boi saw her at an Atlanta open-mic event and proceeded to feature her on the soundtrack to the OutKast movie Idlewild. Her song "Many Moons" from her first EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition), was later nominated for a Best Urban/Alternative Performance Grammy, but her career really took hold upon signing with mediocre rapper but excellent businessman Sean "Diddy" Combs, whose Bad Boy label released Monae's wonderfully ambitious first official concept album The ArchAndroid.

  Monae cites the Fritz Lang movie Metropolis as the major inspiration for her Afro-futuristic album, the concept of which revolves around an android who becomes an outcast after falling in love with a human. Influences from Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie to Disney's Fantasia are equally apparent. The ArchAndroid belies Monae's original plan to overtake Broadway, but also touches upon hip-hop, classical music, hard rock and big-band jazz. Amazingly, Monae manages all this without seeming contrived or heavy-handed.

  The record even includes an electro-funk collaboration with psychedelic indie pop darlings Of Montreal, who also fly under Monae's Wondaland Arts Society banner. Wondaland serves as Monae's boutique label of artists, designers, musicians and other "artists with superpowers," all of whom reportedly dress in Monae's signature black and white equestrian style. Because colors can cause too much distraction, Monae says, the collective creative space at the Wondaland headquarters is trimmed almost exclusively in black and white. Monae described her cadre's Hall of Justice to Honeymag this way: "We have floating bookshelves, green grass, very beautiful pianos that we write songs on. It's a very peaceful environment. We have lots of fish mounted on the wall; more importantly we just have really interesting people. We wear black and white and we try to lead by example to change the world. Sometimes when we create music it gets very rowdy. It feels like an African tribe. When you're an artist, you don't go home, you stay there and you create all day and night."

  In December, Monae joins Prince on tour. — Michael Patrick Welch


Paul Oakenfold

4:15 p.m. Sunday

Le Plur Tent

click to enlarge Paul Oakenfold
  • Paul Oakenfold

The terms "progressive house," "progressive trance," "breakbeat" and "downtempo," may not mean much to Ozzy Osbourne or Weezer fans at Voodoo, but Paul Oakenfold became a global celebrity DJ working in those genres since the late 1970s. Or as Guinness World Records lists him: The World's Most Popular DJ.

  In his earliest days as a record label talent scout, he foresaw the future of rap music and signed DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, as well as Salt-N-Pepa, and acted as the British agent for the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. On the side, Oakenfold began spinning soul records and eventually moved into more innovative, modern territory. He planted his first real flag as a DJ with the "Balearic trance" sound inspired by the party season on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza. His jet-setting DJ life also took him to the Indian beaches of Goa, where he began blending the indigenous music there with European dance music, creating yet another signature sound.

  Over the years, his career has taken him around the globe, from a famous stint as resident DJ at Liverpool's famous club Cream to opening tours for U2 and Madonna (whose Maverick label released Oakenfold's Grammy-nominated 2006 album A Lively Mind) to pioneering DJ gigs at the Hollywood Bowl and atop the Great Wall of China. He met Nelson Mandela and was awarded the Pioneer of the Nation award at Buckingham Palace by the Queen herself. More recently, he has occupied himself with movie soundtracks, and he moved to Los Angeles to score films including The Matrix Reloaded, Pirates of the Caribbean and Shrek II. His soundtracks often include live embellishments of his programmed drum and piano tracks.

  Oakenfold is currently on a two-month DJ tour of the U.S., which he has criticized for its lack of interest in electronic music. In his hometown of London, techno pounds from every speaker. In America, Oakenfold has often felt his music went over our heads. But that's changed recently, he told Gambit: "Electronic music has finally really exploded in America; it's the future of music there now. Even the rappers are now rapping over electronic beats. It's changed a lot." As further proof, Oakenfold points to his latest two-year DJ residency in Las Vegas, where he performs three Saturdays a month with Cirque du Soleil performers, rocking crowds of 3,000 people per show. "It's really putting electronic music on the map in America," he says.

  His Voodoo gig takes him back to his bread and butter: moving the masses by blending his original dance music with tracks by artists he has helped popularize over the years. A culinary school graduate, Oakenfold is not a fan of New Orleans cuisine — which he considers "too heavy" — but he does appreciate the city.

  "There doesn't seem to be anything new coming out of New Orleans now," he says. "But people are still dancing in the streets and musicians are playing on the street corners. I've been there about 10 times and the crowds are very open to new music. America in general is just getting into what I'm doing, so there's plenty left for me to do here." — Welch


MGMT

5:30 p.m. Sunday

Sony Make.Believe Stage

Touring in support of Congratulations, MGMT bring an ever-expanding electro-psychedelic pop sound to the stage, along with party-favor induced hallucinations, fables of disenfranchisement and tribal bonding with young audiences.

  Founding members Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser were freshman at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Conn., when their sonic collaboration began. By the time they graduated in 2005, what started as dorm room experimentation with noise-based electronica had developed into a full-blown psychedelic pop universe.

  After touring extensively in support of its Time to Pretend EP, the band was signed by Columbia records in 2007 and paired with Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann. The result was their smash debut album Oracular Spectacular.

  That tripped out, acid-singed journey into MGMT's three-dimensional imagination gave listeners a glimpse into the bands parallel land of pleasure and spite. While the surface sound is filled with happy swirls of David Bowie-esque falsetto, the lyrics depict a darker reality. "Weekend Wars" is about realizing that a sense of self-entitlement can be counterproductive. The band also pokes fun at the excesses that comes with rock stardom, as in "Time to Pretend": "Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives. I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and f—k the stars."

  After moving to Brooklyn, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser recruited producer Sonic Boom, from the space-rock band Spaceman 3, to release Congratulations.

  While their sophomore effort has been greeted with mixed reviews, it continues to gain traction. Much of the criticism stems from MGMT not following the formula of Oracular Spectacular to produce another batch of hit-laden psych-pop. Congratulations has a heftier feel to it, with less trance-pop and more substantial underpinnings of bass, guitar and drums, which are handled by three additional musicians when MGMT is on tour.

  Drug use is up front on both recordings, and the sense of pleasure and abandon is part of the band's appeal. Like one of their art-rock forefathers, the Velvet Underground, MGMT shares Lou Reed's affinity for living in the moment. As "Time to Pretend" explains: "This is our decision, to live fast and die young/ We've got the vision, now let's have some fun." — Wilson


Deadmau5

6:15 p.m. Sunday

Le Plur Stage

Although almost no electronic music is considered mainstream in America, Canadian progressive and electro house producer Joel Thomas Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, may be as close as one can come. Whereas musicians used to win Grammys, Deadmau5 offers a new model for finding a presence in all sorts of media. The infiltration starts with the musical superstar's chatroom-inspired stagename, and his music reaches audiences via his dedicated radio station within the videogame Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and the Touch Mix iPhone application he helped write, which allows users to mix tracks on their mobile phones. He also was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Remix Non-Classical category for his version of "The Longest Road" by house producer Morgan Page, featuring Lissie. To the ceremony, he wore a crystal-encrusted version of the giant mouse-head helmet that has become his trademark. When Deadmau5 concerts really get going and the four-on-the-floor bass drum goes deep, lights inside the mouse head blink.

  Though akin in some ways to a DJ, Deadmau5 — who refers to himself as "a club conductor/electronic music maker guy" — plays mostly original, minimalist techno on equipment and software of his own design. At the age of 15, he figured out how to dismantle his Nintendo and use the computer chips to create new music. Eventually he was hired by the Belgian loop library company Image Line, which created the Fruity Loops (FL Studios) virtual studio program. At 18, Zimmerman's "chip tunes" made him a small phenomenon in Los Angeles, where he eventually collaborated with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee on Lee's Methods Of Mayhem and W.T.F.? projects.

  But the legend was forged later when, while working at his own web development business, he opened up his computer and found a dead mouse inside. Hence the name.

  Deadmau5 performs epic live shows, often as one of the only electronic headliners at major festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella. At these "technological orgies," as he calls them, the giant mouse head interacts with vast video screens as Deadmau5 pounds on his main instrument, the Monome, which he described to the Resident Advisor blog as "a modern art installation piece gone functional. It came in the mail with just a power supply and a USB cable. No manual, no logo stamped on it, just a piece of wood with some buttons ... so that you're forced to be innovative with it. You have to make your own software for it. You can permutate it in so many different ways that you can really jam on it."

  Deadmau5 brings his updated take on classic rave culture to Voodoo's new all-electronic stage on Halloween day. — Welch


My Morning Jacket

7 p.m. Sunday

Voodoo stage

click to enlarge My Morning Jacket
  • My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket's Jim James found his mecca in Preservation Hall. Last year, James texted with Preservation Hall Jazz Band director Ben Jaffe about song ideas for Preservation, a benefit compilation released in February. James also took the Preservation Hall band on My Morning Jacket's spring tour as the opening act and on-stage collaborators. When the two groups arrived at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April, James joined the legendary jazz band for a morning slot, and they appeared on My Morning Jacket's headlining evening slot, performing Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-in-Law" and Al "Carnival Time" Johnson's eponymous hit (with Johnson himself singing). MMJ's Flying V guitars, long hair and mega-beards flailed alongside the jazz band's suited horn players as the bands met in the middle with a cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up." The honeymoon continued with an intimate, packed-house performance at the jazz band's stomping grounds that night. The two bands cross paths again on Voodoo's final day — and both are in the middle of a tour, although not together.

  Earlier this month, members of My Morning Jacket locked themselves in rehearsals to prepare for a string of dates at New York's Terminal 5 — where they unloaded every song from every album in their catalogue, the last being's 2008's Evil Urges (ATO). Meanwhile, new songs are cropping up for an anticipated 2011 release. Beginning with 1999's The Tennessee Fire, My Morning Jacket has absorbed reverb-dripping alt-country, '70s guitar god rock 'n' roll and jam band future funk. But James' cuts on Preservation, "St. James Infirmary" and "Louisiana Fairytale," roped the band into a New Orleans vision quest. This year the Kentucky-based band also contributed to the Dear New Orleans compilation to benefit the Gulf Restoration Network and Sweet Home New Orleans, and the Terminal 5 gigs also featured raffle drawings benefiting the nonprofits. — Woodward

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