Voodoo Experience 2009--Day 2
Written by Justin Burnell
Sunday, 01 November 2009 19:35
The main entrance is backed up. Guards are half-heartedly searching bags. They ask people to empty their pockets and open their purses and book bags. If a person has a bag they seem to completely forget about pockets.
The Zydepunks fill the Bingo! tent. Further toward the stage the audience gets progressively younger. During the faster songs they begin to dance/mosh, spinning in circles and interlocking arms thrashing into one another. One boy’s head sticks up above all the others. He is tall and in costume as a cyclist. He wears a glossy blue helmet. As he bounds around in the pit people repeatedly slap him in the head. He seems to stop enjoying this after the third or fourth time.
The band plays a slower, traditional German ballad. The front two rows of people put arms around each other’s shoulders and lean side to side with the music. The song is sad and sweet. One boy in his late teens puts a lighter up. The bassist points and laughs in a good-natured way. Even when he’s done laughing, the lighter stays up.
The band starts into a faster song. A skinny black teen asks his friend to watch his back. He starts toward the pit, stops, and turns back. He digs in his pack for a second. He pulls out a Rasta hat with fake dreads attached. He smiles at his friend and bounds into the pit.
The Mates of State feel like a super sweet sixteen party that spent the entire budget on the band. The crowd is spread out, talking among themselves. A bearded twenty-something wearing Ray Ban Wayfarers holds up his iPhone to take a picture of a girl in a lamè one piece posing, distinctly not smiling.
Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the husband and wife that make up the indie stand-by, are dressed as the Captain and Tennille. They reference this. A thirty-something man painted completely red wearing a black cape yells “I told you” to his blond companion. She agrees that he was right. He tells her again that he told her so.
Kori Gardner asks the audience if they have any extra candy could they throw it on stage. She explains that their daughter was only able to go trick-or-treating at the vendor booths. The people who are not branched into cliques throw a few pieces of candy to the stage.
The Bingo! Show is better today than it was last night. The entire group is dressed as zombies, as is Fleur de Tease. Trixie and Co. strut across the stage eating gore out of a plastic skull and pouring blood on each other.
Near the end of the set the Noisician Coalition—dressed as zombies—joins the show. Clint Maedgen moans and shrieks into the mic as their makeshift instruments pound and whine out music. In the front row a small blond hair blue eyed boy stares up at the stage shocked. His father places his hand on his shoulder and smiles down at him. The boy doesn’t notice. His mouth opens slightly at the sight of the undead marching band racketing behind the undead burlesque dancers. There are worse introductions to manhood.
The Noisician Coalition marches, leading the way to the main stage Gogol Bordello will play on. There are far more people here than yesterday, and the crowd seems younger. As the marching band passes the vendors and the Playstation tent, the mean age drops significantly. Teenagers gawk at the band. One boy in a red hoodie for a school I’ve never heard of stands slack-jawed staring at the gutter pipe horns groaning out music noise. The band continues down the road looking more like an army than a band. They wear red marching uniforms, with pieces of shinny metal looking sharp on their shoulders. They bang trashcan drums and metal rods. The teenagers clear the way, quickly moving to the sidewalk.
Gogol Bordello must have more members of other bands than any other performer. The back stage loft is lined with Noisician Coalition members, the Zydepunks, and the Bingo! Show.
The band begins playing its punk/gypsy music and the crowd moves as one unit fighting itself. Whole sections push against others. The pushed lean, nearly falling, then regain footing and push back, repeating the process.
The front of the crowd bounces, thrash dancing to music about community and socialism. There are three or four gutter punks in the middle. The largest one grabs his smaller friend. He shakes him violently screaming in his face. His dirty brown mouth gapes, exposing teeth slightly dirtier than his unwashed skin. The rest of the crowd fights to get closer to the stage. For the first time since the early 00’s, I have to watch my head for crowd surfers.
Down should be playing at the Bingo! tent. They are not. The Bingo! tent has been running behind schedule for most of the festival, but there is also Phil Anselmo to consider. I’ve heard stories of the chronic heroin and pill addict canceling shows at the last minute. According to a friend, he fell off the stage at a pre-K Voodoo fest because he was too fucked up on Oxycontin to stand.
The crowd is massive despite the band now being nearly thirty minutes late. People are standing six rows outside of the tent in some places. There is nearly no way to get into position to see the band without a fight. I give up and go find a drink.
Jane’s Addiction plays perfectly. They storm through “Mountain Song” to open the set like they’ve played the song a thousand times. Because they have. They meander through “Three Days” at just the right pace. There is something missing. There is an energy and urgency missing to the show. The crowd mainly stands listening to the music. Perry Farrell asks New Orleans if we can talk about death tonight. He says that tonight we are going to celebrate death. Behind the last row of people couples make out on the grass. One couple lies happily in the mud. They smile at each other, and go back to kissing.
Funk proves again it is the answer to a motionless audience. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic delivered from the SoCo/WWOZ stage. They are only halfway through the first song before the audience is dancing. Even in the often lethargic back rows, there are people dancing. What is odd is that the P-Funk crowd looks younger than the Jane’s Addiction crowd.
One man, probably in his late twenties, grabs a girl by the wrist. By the look on her face she doesn’t know this man. He’s wearing a winter vest; one thumb is hooked on the armhole. He says something to her. She smiles, and they begin to dance. He smiles at her while nodding his head slightly out of rhythm.
Another man, early sixties, dances closer and closer to a girl who looks to be twenty-two at best. She grins at him, stands on the tips of her toes, and kisses him for a long moment.
KISS has gone through three songs before I am able to pull myself away from Parliament. They, not surprisingly, attract the biggest crowd for the past two days. It is massive and stretches nearly to the other stage across the track. The crowd is not tight, so it is relatively easy to maze your way to the front.
Kiss plays just as perfectly as Jane’s Addiction for the same reason. The audience is stationary. Old men with salt-and-pepper beards litter the group. They pump their fists at the chorus and throw up the horns at the end of each song, but the energy of the show is lacking and could not compete with the youthful vigor of the Gogol Bordello show.
Every few songs, large pyrotechnics explode behind the stage. In the front rows people can feel the heat, but it is brief and doesn’t linger.
|< Prev||Next >|