New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience continued its Halloween weekend tradition at the end of October, with celebrated sets from Soundgarden, TV on the Radio, Mastodon, My Chemical Romance and many more. Thousands gathered at New Orleans City Park for the 13th annual 2011 Voodoo Art and Music Experience, held every year on Halloween weekend to mix food and art from the local area and music from around the world into one massive "Voodoo Experience."
The three-day musical marathon was home to tens of thousands of mainly Rock revelers, who flocked to City Park to catch Jack White reunite with The Raconteurs, watch Snoop Dogg blaze up the joint and the ever-detestable Odd Future slapping a female photographer, among other things.
Soundgarden was the overall headliner and the first band announced when the line-up began its realtime debut earlier this Summer, and after hitting the stage just past 9pm on Friday, the band displayed a versatility and proficiency that indicates promising things for their upcoming new album.
Running through hits like "Outshined" and diehard favorites such as "Loud Love," the band delivered a nearly two-hour set that hit all the anticipated high notes, including smash tracks "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun". They closed with the double-fisted encore of "Beyond the Wheel" and "Slaves and Bulldozers," leaving the thousands of revelers to scoop their jaws from the floor.
Blink 182's headlining performance on Saturday drew a remarkably strong reaction from an audience that is old enough to remember their goofy days, but clearly young enough to get back in touch with the feeling.
My Chemical Romance
Some of the acts on the bill were in the Halloween spirit and weren't afraid to show it, with members of My Chemical Romance engaging in a little Medieval/fantasy theme with costumes like knights, wizards and elves. Girl Talk nucleus Gregg Gillis hit the stage dressed as the dream killer Freddy Krueger, while sampling the theme from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” in his intro.
Sunday night's lineup was a changeup from the typically slower-paced final day of the festival, with acts including Fatboy Slim and The Raconteurs making their marks in epic fashion. The Raconteurs took the stage to thunderous cheers, with former White Stripes centerpiece Jack White and co-leader Brendan Benson trading smirks and furious blues riffs all the while.
A mix of raw inspiring talent and classy showmanship, the dually-led Raconteurs delivered a career-spanning, festival-closing set that left fans exhilarated and eager for more. With any luck, we'll be seeing a whole lot more from them in 2012. One thing's for certain, however: we're definitely not missing Voodoo Experience next year!
Photos: Ben Bubbett