Voodoo Experience: The Music

Over Halloween weekend I flew down to New Orleans for the Voodoo Experience, a 3 day music and art festival. This was incredibly exciting for me because I love costumes, I love NOLA, and I love festivals. And now that I have this blog, this is extra exciting because I really love analyzing festival logistics (which I will do more in my next post). For now, I want to talk about all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) music that I heard.

Friday, October 31st

Twenty One Pilots – my friends and I passively and accidentally listened to this band while we were exploring the insides of a cone-shaped cage, one of the many art installations on the festival grounds. I don’t fully remember what they sounded like but I know I liked it. More, please.

MAKJ – he managed to rise above his early time slot and the fact that it was still daylight out during his set, something not usually conducive to listening to thumping electro house. He got the crowd super pumped and we danced liked it wasn’t 4pm. Definitely a weekend favorite. He brought that untz untz.

Galantis – their street team went around the crowd handing out cat masks, to match the cover of their most recent album. A+ for that and A+ for their performance. I loved Galantis before but after seeing their fun, dancey progressive house tunes live, I love them even more meow. (The previous sentence constructed solely so I could throw in the cat pun. Which, full disclosure, I have already used on social media at least twice).

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Action Bronson – AB is a white rapper who sells out shows all over the place. I don’t get it. My friend said that real hip hop heads are into him and I am apparently not one. I’m okay with this. He bored me.

Zedd – I don’t give Zedd a lot of credit because his huge song, “Clarity,” is corny and overplayed. But the man knows how to throw a good party. Bonus: as we walked through the festival on Friday, my friend and I commented on someone in the crowd who was dressed as Skrillex for Halloween. The next day we realized that it was Zedd.

Outkast – Outkast frontloaded their set with all their hits, which was wonderful because it was way too cold at the festival and so I felt no shame at leaving early. After “Rosa Parks,” “Hey Ya,” and “Bombs Over Baghdad,” what else do you even need?

Saturday, November 1st

Pete Tong – whatever brand of house music his is, I don’t like it.

Claude Vonstroke – no. No no no. I hate deep house. It is SO BORING. No. Seriously, no.

Flux Pavilion – after 2 hours of pain at the EDM stage, this was such a welcome treat. Flux Pavilion’s type of dubstep is so jumpy and lively, and if you don’t think you know his music, think again. Unless you’ve never heard “Who Gon Stop Me,” by Jay-Z and Kanye West. And if that’s the case, go listen to it right now. Go listen to the entire “Watch the Throne” album, actually. It’s magic.

Skrillex – like Zedd, people don’t give Skrillex credit because he’s too mainstream. But very few DJs come out with his level of energy. Plus, there was a camera behind his tables watching him work, and it was a really nice way of showing that he doesn’t just stand there and press “Play,” like so many people think dance DJs do. I left his set early and was devastated to learn that he played “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” after I left. PBJ Time is one of my favorite songs to dance to in my bedroom.

Ms. Lauryn Hill – she was running late, which, if you’ve ever read a review of one of her shows, is apparently her MO. I wanted not to like her but I loved her funkiness and reggae vibe.

Arctic Monkeys – I barely listened to them but one day I will regale you all with the tale of the ridiculous argument I had with someone at our hostel about the Arctic Monkeys. Teaser: this person called them the Rolling Stones of our generation. This statement makes me want to throw things.

Sunday, November 2nd

Lindsay Lowend – I always forget that Lindsay Lowend is a relative unknown, because I see his name everywhere. His sound is chock fulla bass and was a great way to start Sunday.

Manic Focus – I love Manic Focus. In case you don’t believe me, you should know that I loved his set so much that I proposed to him on Twitter (he didn’t technically respond, but he did favorite my tweet and start following me so I think this is a good start to our relationship). His electro hip-hop is so funky and dancey and he’s going to blow up. Just watch. One of the best sets of the weekend.

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AWOLNATION – I had only heard their song “Sail,” which always pops up on my EDMish Pandora stations. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear they were a lot more rock than I expected.

Trombone Shorty – this New Orleans jazz musician exudes so much coolness it’s kind of amazing. He looks super slick in his sunglasses and head to toe black outfit. I don’t really like jazz, but his brand of NOLA jazz is just too catchy, even for a hater like me.

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GRiZ – I caught the last half of his set and it was as amazing as I thought it would be. I love electro-funk but sometimes it gets a little too mellow, and Griz is anything but. I’ve seen him a few times this year and I will never tire of hearing The Isley Brothers’ “Shout” during his sets.

Gogol Bordello – popped over to their stage for a few of their songs since my friends are really into them. Their gypsy punk is so unique and weirdly cool that I hope to see a full show of theirs one day.

Foo Fighters – in case you weren’t aware, I love Dave Grohl and was anxiously awaiting the Foo Fighters’ performance. The only part that disappointed was the fact that I left early. It broke my heart a little because frankly, I don’t go to nearly enough badass rock concerts anymore.

Pretty Lights – I’ve already gone into some detail about the emotional connection I have to Pretty Lights. I’ve seen him live 3 times in the last year and so I knew what to expect for the 4th. Or so I thought. This performance blew every expectation I had out of the water. It wasn’t just the bet set of Voodoo but it was hands down one of the best shows I’ve seen in my entire life. Honestly, the light pollution at the festival made his lasers the weakest I’ve ever seen them, but it didn’t matter. His music, especially when you get his live band involved, is just beautiful. I thought about this set for days afterward, and I’m still listening to him excessively, trying to recreate the feeling of being at Voodoo. It was the only thing that could have made abandoning the Foo Fighters worth it, and I regret nothing. There was such a lightness and energy throughout the crowd and when those 90 minutes were over I felt like crying. Before this show I didn’t fully understand the zealousness with which people love Pretty Lights, but I totally get it now.

So that’s it! Overall it was way above average for a festival and I am a happy, happy camper. But sad because recapping these performances makes me wish I could relive it all.

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