Voodoo 2010-- Day 2
Written by Nick Mainieri
Thursday, 28 October 2010 22:08
Voodoo Music Experience – 2010 – Day 2
To begin with, the City Park grounds are more crowded. The early acts on the big stages don’t play to an entirely empty field. Many people have already camped out on blankets everywhere.
@NickMainieri (2:20 p.m.) – Lots of crusty old rockers walkin round today. #voodoo
The Gulf Restoration Network, the official nonprofit partner of Voodoo, has a tent set up near the entrance. A woman in an elaborate pelican costume beckons people over. I am told that the organization exists to raise awareness about the current status of the Gulf and the measures being taken to protect it. They seek to make sure the best measures are being taken to protect the Gulf in the long term, for future generations. Out in front of the tent they have troughs of soil, water, and flora, demonstrating how the Louisiana coastline works. Placards explain how the barrier islands, marshland, and cypress swamp protect us from hurricanes.
@NickMainieri (3:37 p.m.) – Rock City Morgue’s bass player has a sweet coffin-shaped bass. #voodoo
Her name is Sean Yseult—founding member of White Zombie, former owner of The Saint—and she glares out as her fingers walk over the bass guitar and her band rips through their horror rock.
Their singer, Rik Slave, has a body like Jack Skellington and a stage presence like none other in two days of Voodoo. He wears a black suit. He dances around the Bingo! stage when not howling into the mic, high-stepping and flailing his arms like some more evil version of Mick Jagger.
A little girl on her mom’s shoulders figures out she should pump her fists. There are lots of skull tattoos in the crowd.
A very different slice of New Orleans entertains Voodoo-goers just one stage over. Rebirth Brass Brand has the largest crowd yet for a local act. I can’t even push into the shade of the huge canopy, fanning out over the grass.
@NickMainieri (4:31 p.m.) – What’s with all these slipper shoes that are shaped exactly like feet and why are so many people wearing them? #voodoo
The Whigs finish up their set of Southern-garage rock over at the Sony stage. Guitarist and singer, Parker Gispert, bounces around on one leg and strums heavily distorted power chords.
I watch this on the video screen next to the Voodoo stage across the way, waiting for Cage the Elephant to take the stage. The old man next to me wears glasses and a bandana. His mustache is grey. He keeps calling me “bruh.” He tells me that he has been camped out all day for Ozzy. But he likes Cage the Elephant, too.
He begins to argue with a younger guy about whether or not somebody across the way is smoking a cigar or a huge joint. The old guy explains the process of unwrapping a cigar paper, taking the tobacco out and re-rolling it as a joint. “Where you been, bruh?” he says to the young guy.
Cage the Elephant takes the stage and launches into an abrasive set of hard garage rock. Their lead guitarist has a cool sound, screeches through each song. I pick my way out of the crowd in order to check some other bands.
@NickMainieri (4:47 p.m.) – Lots of metal hair, lots of Ozzy t-shirts. #voodoo
Nothing much has changed at the Le Plur stage since the day before. There is a new D.J. Hands are in the air. Two dudes wearing enormous paper mache masks made to look like Pinkie and the Brain dance. The kids love it, take pictures with them.
@NickMainieri (5:42 p.m.) – That ATM fee was highway robbery! #voodoo
At one of the drink booths, two kids attempt to buy 6 beers for themselves and their friends. One kid tries to pay and the lady shuts him down, telling him he’s not 21. He flips out. It is obvious he’s not 21. The manager comes over to see what the problem is and asks his friend if he’s 21, and his friend replies in the affirmative. “Then you can buy it for him,” the manager says. To the kid flipping out, “I’m trying to help you out.”
Kermit Ruffins goes on over at the Preservation Hall stage. “Get my CDs while I’m hot,” he says, “because next week I might not be hot.” Then he sings a few lines of “Hard Knock Life.” He’s in high spirits. He informs us that he started early today. “Today’s been a marathon, for truth.”
@NickMainieri (6:31 p.m.) – Tech difficulties abound at the Le Plur stage! #voodoo
South African rap sensation Die Antwoord takes the stage to an enormous ovation. Kids wave their Halloween costume props—axe, pitchfork, a volleyball made to look like Wilson from Cast Away.
Die Antwoord are fronted by Ninja (imagine a more indignant and skuzzy version of Vanilla Ice) and Yo-Landi (a diminutive, blonde-mulleted, sprite-voiced booty shaker). The kids in the crowd go absolutely nuts, no doubt due to the online success of Die Antwoord’s music video for “Enter the Ninja.”
No more than thirty seconds into the set, Ninja ceases rapping and waves off his D.J., shouting, “Yo yo yo, stop the shit!” He turns and points at the sound booth. “Whoever runs the sound, this shit sounds so-so. I’m gonna be back in three fokking minutes, Ninja’s gonna be back in three minutes, and this shit better be fixed. New Orleans, keep it tuned. One time!” And they leave the stage.
It’s hard to tell if it’s a gimmick or not. Sound techs flood the stage and go to work. A girl next to me takes out a pair of maracas and shakes them, starts a small impromptu party.
True to his word, Ninja, Yo-Landi, and their D.J. return in three minutes. Ninja wears an oversized white T-shirt and white shorts. The words “Evil Boy” are written on the shirt. There is a simple drawing of a child with an enormous erect penis. The words “Fuck Everyone” are written across his crotch. They open with “Enter the Ninja.” Pictures of ninja stars flash on the video screen.
Yo-Landi strips down to something scant, gold, shiny. She raps about how she is a “motherfokken rich bitch,” and informs us that she has what we want, but we’re never gonna get it, so we might as well forget it.
Ninja shouts to the sound booth in mid-song, “Turn me up in the monitors, turn the beats down, get this shit sorted out!” He leaves the stage and returns wearing nothing but a pair of Spongebob Squarepants boxers. The long prosthetic penis hanging out of them is also his microphone.
A girl hops the barricade, climbs on stage and dances. A security guard tackles her. Ninja runs over and congratulates her. The guard drags her off stage and she never ceases dancing. Ninja points at her in approval.
To end the set, Ninja dons a full body Pikachu costume (yes, from Pokemon) and stage dives. Back on stage, he strips down to his boxers. The music ends. He screams, “Fokk everyone!” and delivers intense, rapid-fire pelvic thrusts, and then leaves the stage.
@NickMainieri (6:39 p.m.) – Die Antwoord wants you to put your fist in the air if you are a ninja. #voodoo
Drake begins over at the voodoo stage, but I don’t go over. I may not know much about music, but I know enough to not miss Buckwheat Zydeco. He’s the James Brown of zydeco music. He holds up his instrument and announces, “This accordian’s from a different planet, y’all.”
Drake ends his set with a heartfelt thanks to what is now a massive crowd. The 100+ yards between the Voodoo and Sony stages has filled in. The last thing Drake says to us all: “I just wanna say three things. Young money, cash money, all fuckin day. Free Weezy all fuckin day. New Orleans is one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Street Sweeper Social Club takes the Sony stage to the empire’s theme from Star Wars. Tom Morello (of Rage against the Machine fame) and his guitar sound like Tom Morello and his guitar. Oakland-based rapper Boots Riley dances around the stage and raps over the funky rock.
The band has their revolutionary shtick down. They all wear the same Soviet-inspired uniforms. “Arm the homeless” is scrawled on Morello’s guitar. Between songs they pontificate on the evil of corporations: “We want the people to democratically control the profits they make.”
They cover MIA covering the Clash, but hearing Morello make gunshot and cash register noises with his guitar is pretty cool.
Their best song sounds like an angry dosey-do. Riley ends each chorus with the line, “My skin is black but my story’s red.”
They end with a cover of “Mama Said Knock You Out.” During the bridge, Morello grabs the mic and tells the crowd that Street Sweeper Social Club exists for three reasons: “To feed the poor, fight the power, and rock the fuck out.” The music builds. “Let’s levitate,” he shouts, and the crowd jumps up and down with the beat.
@NickMainieri (8:58 p.m.) – Each of Ozzy’s guitarists has 6 double stacked amps. #voodoo
Ozzy wishes everyone a happy Halloween from backstage before coming on. He cackles.
I can’t get much closer than eighty yards or so, but Ozzy runs back and forth on stage, moving better than I expected he would. For a moment, I think he’s grown a handlebar mustache, but it is just hank of his sweaty hair stuck across his lip.
Seemingly, his endurance begins to fail halfway through the second song. I can hear his heavy breath as he sings. He doesn’t leave the mic. He keeps trying to make everyone clap to the music. Then he tries to make everyone sway to and fro with their arms in the air. It seems odd. He tells us to be as loud as we can on the count of three. He counts, people scream. He tries it a few times. He’s like a Satanic cheerleader. Still, people love it.
He takes up a hose and sprays water into the crowd. I’m glad I’m not up there. It’s not warm out and I’m coming down with a touch of a Voodoo-induced cold.
@NickMainieri (10:31 p.m.) – Gotta burn up this cold with whiskey. #voodoo
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