Posts Tagged ‘Voodoo Experience’

Voodoo Experience Day 1

October 31, 2009

I had things to do, and was late getting out the door (is that not always the case with me and the first day of a festival? Why would I ever think it would be different?) but the one artist I wanted to see for sure fer shur today was Eminem. Yes, Eminem in his only concert this year. Me, the non Eminem fan, thrilled to see him.

It was raining when I left, so the less time spent outdoors, the better. It continued to drizzle, with spats of heavier rains, but no actual downpours. So wet feet, wet jeans, and cold, but not miserable. I bought a heavy duty rain poncho for the downpour, but the deluge did not come, perhaps because I bought the poncho for the downpour and thus jinxed it.

I walked in and Justice was playing. Because of the rain and cold, the crowd was thin-ish, but no less enthusiastic. The nice thing about the main stages at Voodoo in City Park, is the audience gets to stand on a paved track, so it may have been muddy elsewhere, and treacherous footing where the lighting was insufficient, but here it was solid footing, perfect for dancing. And dancing there was. In fact, the Man from Burning Man was there, a larger than life marionette, done up in El Wire. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, since Burners Without Borders were originally formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Burning Man participants wanting to come down to Louisiana and contribute enthusiasm and work to rebuilding the devastated communities. They specifically helped rebuild a Buddhist monastery, in a documentary I saw detailing it. Anyway, here’s the Man enjoying Justice. Justice was cut off, their sound turned off, but you could tell both they and their fans could have easily gone on for another few hours. Besides, dancing in the rain kept one warm!

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The Burning Man Man Dancing to Justice

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Another nice feature Voodoo does is specifically geared towards large crowds and camping in front of one stage exclusively: cameramen capture the main act playing, and project it onto the screens of the other stage. For Justice, with an excessive amount of fog/smoke from machines, I rarely could even see the two artists. But I could usually see the cameramen, because their white bags protected their cameras. But if I turned around, and looked at the other stage, I saw a perfect image of what I could not see!

And then it was time to move over to the other stage and watch Eminem. Perhaps it is a good thing I am not a huge fan, as everything was new to me. His visuals were great, showing videos throughout, and his band was dressed in skeleton costumes. The opening were a few quotes that I didn’t quite catch, and then it launched into a video involving blood and death and corpses, appropriate for Halloween horror. Other videos had a comic book theme, toy soldiers by computer animation, computer graphics, etc. They may have been videos aired on MTV, I have no idea, they were all new to me. The advantages of being a casual fan.

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I can’t help it, I like Eminem. He makes me laugh. I can’t take him seriously. Despite his bravado and bluff, what lyrics I catch just amuse. “The FCC / won’t let me be!” Sure, he swears a lot, is offensive on purpose, but given the subject matter of some of his songs, it is obvious this is all just for show. It is his stage persona. What with him having the numerous alter egos Eminem, Slim Shady, Big Proof, etc., it is obvious that he is clear he as a performer is not the same as he as a person. “Ever since I broke up with / What’s-Her-Name…” Sure, we know more about his personal life because he is a celebrity who has had relationship issues, but chances are for most of us that if we were celebrities, people would know far too much about our relationship issues too. Why should he be different?

Anyway, he did not disappoint. I continued dancing the night away, and he ended the show. With an encore. (Come on people, if the house lights and roadies do not come out, the show is not over yet!) Eminem, with his sad, world weary, mischevious eyes, willing to play with different musicians, musical stylings and dance styles, put on an excellent show. I am so glad to have had the chance to see him.

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And off we all trudged, through the mud towards the other lights and music, to see the last song of Ween on the way out.

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Ween Performing the Last Song of the Day

More tomorrow, as tomorrow is KISS. Thank you Henry Rollins for putting the image of KISS Nation in my head, making me curious to want to see The Nation.


October 30, 2009

I am presently in New Orleans for the Voodoo Experience. This year it happens during Halloween weekend, and I thought, what better place to be than in New Orleans for Halloween, a city that definitely never needs an excuse to dress up in costume, nor any reason at all to party.

And the headliner for Halloween? KISS, the penultimate dress up costumed band.

But already, last night, Thursday night, I have accomplished that which I came to this city for. I went to a dive bar where the drinks are so cheap, I couldn’t resist getting a few, staying well within my budget, and heard a band play I had accidentally thought I would get to see at their CD release party at a bar I had been to last year. Alas, I mis-read the schedule, but when I got into town, saw they were playing at The Saturn Bar, mere blocks from the place I had mistakenly thought I would see them. The band, I, Octopus, fits into my favorite genre of Post-Rock Instrumental, and were excellent. I even bought their CD and am now listening to them as I type this.

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I, Octopus

But the other two bands I saw before they played were excellent too. They were The AcropoLions and The Dives. I am sorry to say that I left as the fourth band took to playing, Sista Otis, but having only gotten a few hours of sleep in the previous 48 hour span with a 3 mile walk back to my hotel, I thought it best to leave. I know, against my policy of staying for all bands because you never know what new gem you will find, but I was really tired.

I say this is what I came to accomplish, and it is true. I got to rub shoulders with the locals, hear local bands, walk and breathe the local area, take lots of photos, have fun! And the total cost? $8 cover charge, $14.50 for the drinks, including tip, and $5 for the CD of the band I wanted to hear live. Plus I got to hear 2 and a half other bands in the bargain, and get hit on by a drunk person who I had no idea what language he was speaking. What a great night! Let’s forget about the Voodoo Fest ticket, plane fare, the hotel price and any meals I consume here, and just call it a bargain. As it is. A unique, once in a lifetime experience is always priceless, isn’t it? The Voodoo Experience and Halloween are just added bonuses.

And walking out of a drug store at 3 in the morning, with something to eat because I was starving, and having my glasses fog up because of the difference in humidity from air conditioned store to the outdoors at the end of October just made me laugh. Only growing up with winter time in upstate New York had me experience the fogging of the glasses before, and I just wasn’t expecting the humidity to still be so high here in the bayou, when it is nearly November.

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Condensation Due to Humidity in the Bayou

There is so much to enjoy about New Orleans, and even though I can’t enjoy its famous cuisine, being seafood heavy not amenable for a vegetarian, I get to enjoy it on my terms. I walk back, taking pictures of random things, scare the numerous cats out for strolls, get whistled and talked to by random males of all types, and avoid the lurching tourist drunks also returning home. This is a city full of life, full of decay, and is entirely exquisitely intoxicating in its contradictions. This is what I came to New Orleans to explore more, and can easily see myself coming back for years to come.

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Abandoned Church, Oozing Gothic Intrigue

Two More to Go

October 9, 2009

I am starting to mentally get ready for the remaining two music festivals on my plate for the year. And no, I did not go to rainy Austin City Limits of last weekend. Rain definitely seems to be the theme for the majority of music festivals I attended this year. Let’s hope it doesn’t continue! 

Next weekend (October 17 & 18) is Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco.

I will be volunteering there, which should be great, at a little two stage festival, no possibility of missing the bands. What a great place to get a volunteering gig! I still have to work out the details of getting to the festival once in SF via public transit (limited parking allowed on the island, which actually has a really cool and varied history involving visions as a transportation hub with airport/marina and realities as World’s Fair site and military installation), what is the actual address of where it is that I will be staying, and finally, making arrangements to get back to LA. That’s what the next week will consist of, making sure those details get handled. But I am definitely looking forward to the lineup. I am looking forward to hearing Murs, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Passion Pit again, Grizzly Bear again, Beirut, MSTRKRFT, The Decembrists yet again, Girl Talk always, and finally, The Flaming Lips. That’s about half the lineup, so I should be happy, no matter what. The other half are just bands I’m not familiar with yet. But I’m looking forward to it.

Fortunately, the festival that closes out the season has all its details handled, since I went to the same fest last year, and already know the lay of the land. I’m actually not as thrilled about the lineup, but bought the ticket to see two bands in particular, and to experience Halloween in New Orleans. I can’t think of a city more conducive to dressing up as a character and no one thinking a thing of it. (Besides Black Rock City.) Yes, I’m talking about VOODOO Experience, in beautiful NOLA. I have ticket, plane fare, hotel, and know where to go buy the three day pass to get around on the street cars. Just add meals and I am all set. In fact, I even get a paycheck before I leave, so I will have some spending money to take in the sights, say a swamp tour. Or the Botanical Gardens. Or actually visiting the Art Museum that the festival grounds sit next to.

The two bands I am eager to see? Kiss and Eminem. Yes, you read that right. Sure, I’ll enjoy The Knux, Silversun Pickups, Gogol Bordello, The Pogues, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Meat Puppets, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, MarchFourth Marching Band, The Flaming Lips again and whomever else I stumble across, but Eminem and Kiss were the bands that had me buy the extremely inexpensive 3 day pass. I am neither a Kiss nor an Eminem fan, not fan enough to ever buy a ticket to their own shows or even buy their albums, but Kiss on Halloween? In New Orleans? C’mon. I just expect it to be a very memorable experience, if only how colorful I expect the actual fans to be. And Eminem just makes me laugh, some of his song lyrics and even his persona. I actually own an album of each of these artists. But I’m not what I would call a fan. Really. Just curious enough to see their live shows, given the opportunity.

And, I come with plans for disguises. I wouldn’t call them costumes, just alterations of my existence. The first is I found one of my masks. I can’t wear it for very long, since it is latex and makes everything around it moist, and steams up my glasses. But here’s an old photo of me wearing it, actually taken on a Halloween years past.

The Long Beak Mask

The Long Beak Mask

Sorry for the crappy quality, it’s actually a scanned 35mm photograph, digitized. My old antique Japanese 35mm camera there, RIP.

I just went to Robinson’s Beautilities on Venice in Mar Vista, an LA landmark, and bought a wig. Long, black, straight hair. For some reason, I’ve never yearned to be a blonde, but a black-haired, green eyed woman has interested me. So now I have a mask, and a wig. I intend to dig out some old contacts I have, get my eyes used to them again, so I can ditch the fogging eyeglasses.

And what would be really cool would be to do this sort of simple makeup, and have that be the whole thing:

However, Fever Ray‘s Karin Dreijer Andersson has professional make up artists, and more importantly, someone else to do this to her, so I don’t think I’ll quite be able to manage it. But it would be awesome! Imagine walking anywhere in a city with that face.

So, as you can see, there is much to plan, the all important what to pack, and the actual what am I allowed to pack? What to wear, and what parts of a costume should I take with me?

And I’ve started hunting for things to do while in New Orleans, and one of the dive bar/off the beaten path venues I found is hosting a CD release party of a band that sounds interesting: I, Octopus. I hope to go check them out while there.

Voodoo Experience – The 10th Ritual and other news

April 16, 2009

Voodoo Experience tickets went on sale today, through Ticketmaster. (How do I know this? Because a little bird twittered it to me. As you can see, the website is not so useful in that department.) This year’s fest will be during the Halloween weekend. In New Orleans. Great excuse to play dress up. Daylight Savings time also ends that Sunday, so don’t forget to factor that in when arriving for your favorite band, and realizing it isn’t the time you thought it was. Oh, but what with our cell phones all talking to the satellites, constantly updating the time for the time zone you are in, and no one wearing watches or using alarm clocks other than their cell phones, that never would happen anymore, right?

The most awesome part of the tickets being on sale? There are no extra charges. You heard me right. It’s through Ticketmaster, but the ticket is an extremely reasonable and affordable $103 and nothing more (unless you add on some way of getting the tickets other than US Mail delivery). No additional Ticketmaster charges after the announced ticket price. 3 days of music, one very cheap ticket. And an excuse to party in New Orleans. During Halloween. A city that never needs an excuse to throw a party or play dress up, and whose drinking laws are a mystery to me, other than any time, any place seems to be de riguer. Come join the fun!

Also, tickets of San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival went on sale yesterday, but only if you happen to have a Visa card to charge it on. Otherwise, you have to wait until Sunday, April 19th at 10 am PST to get your chance to purchase. But I will be either eating breakfast or just getting in my car  to park, trek and get through security to see Mexican Institute of Sound playing at 12:45 at Coachella, thinks I. Coachella’s set lists are now up, yes indeedy! I had best get those tickets now, while I am thinking about it.  Though the currently listed eager beaver price of $199.50 is what is posted, this is classic Ticketmaster in action, and really, there is an additional $22.50 “convenience charge,” and a $4.50 “order processing fee,” for a grand total of $229.40 for a single ticket. Yay, Ticketmaster! Glad to know you’ve covered your salaries. Glad to know you have the extra cash to not be downsizing any time soon, right? Not so glad to have helped.

Let’s have Mexican Institute of Sound takes us out… Time to really be packing for Coachella, not merely thinking about packing. For me, a non-lyrics listener, singers in Spanish occur for me exactly the same as those in English – another instrument is playing to be listened to, nothing more. And with the demise of Indie 103.1 off the airwaves, and its replacement a more traditional Spanish speaking station (better match for the LA demographics,) tell me why is there no station in LA playing Spanish speaking dance music/alternatives like this? It’s fun, it’s infectious, it’s gotta beat!

Voodoo Fest

February 26, 2009

The big announcement is Voodoo Experience down in New Orleans will be held over the Halloween Weekend this year.

The Tenth Ritual - Voodoo Experience 2008

The Tenth Ritual - Voodoo Experience 2008

Guess that means Vegoose won’t be happening again, is my guess. Vegoose was a music festival that took place in Las Vegas as close to the Halloween Weekend as possible. A three stage festival, with celebrity impersonators, wedding chapel and encouragement to wear costumes, Vegas embraced music festival, done its way. It was organized by the same folk as do Bonnaroo, complete with the trademark ferris wheel, and did not take place this last year.

With Voodoo moving to Halloween, and costumes and parties already in the mindset of those who visit New Orleans as tourists, I think there will be no competition of where to go that weekend, for music fans. Kinda won’t even matter if the line up isn’t so great, what do you think, if everyone is already freely uninhibited and drunk, as the grown up version of Halloween really is an excuse for….