Last weekend we had the pleasure of spending three days walking the grounds of City Park for Voodoo Fest. The park is beautiful, the costumes are killer and the festival sets the bar high with its wide variety of music, art and culture. Now in its 18th year, Voodoo continues to prove that there truly is no better place to spend Halloween than New Orleans.
New Orleans really is the perfect setting for Halloween. They practically celebrate it down there all year around. Voodoo really is the cream on the desert for an already amazing weekend. Only a few miles north of the French Quarter, Voodoo gives everyone a reason to go hard all day and unleashes you at just the right time to head back downtown to enjoy the nightlife. If you think the outfits at most festivals are good just wait until you get a load of the body paint and and all out madness that some people put into their attire. We had as much fun people watching as we did watching the music and that's saying something because the music was off the wall this year.
As with every festival, the music starts out every day with lesser known acts and builds throughout the day. Voodoo had a good selection of local artists as well as out of towners but where the festival really shines is the wide variety of genres is covers. If you’re anything like me you enjoy a bit of musical variety at a festival and Voodoo has it in spade. With five stages the music covered rap, rock, hip hop and blues and I’m sure there was plenty else that we missed.
An absolute stand out for the weekend, Prophets of Rage absolutely killed their set. What was practically five sets in one, the band covered old Rage Against the Machine songs, Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, Audioslave on top of music off their new album. For a bunch of guys rolling well into their 50s they were energetic and all genuinely looked like they were enjoying being up on stage. They played homage to Audioslave by playing “Like a Stone” and let the crowd sing the lyrics. If there was ever a super group worthy of the title, these guys are it.
Prophets held down the rap rock genre but when it comes to rapping the clear champion at Voodoo was Kendrick. Coming out with a stage setup that felt very inspired by early Kenye sets, Kentrick was a clear highlight of the weekend. His lighting sets were entertaining while now being distracting. Keeping him, the only person on stage for the entire set, front and center. He interspersed his set with amusing clips of himself in old B level kung fu movies. The man is the real deal performer. Even as someone who doesn’t listen to his music often I was absolutely glued to the stage through the entire set.
Another rap titan, Post Malone closed out the main stage on day three. While the man is clearly talented and makes nothing but hits. His long winded stories about his life and how everyone he grew up with told him he wouldn’t amount to anything really fell flat and felt fake. I’m not denying that the man came from a hard place and made something of himself but telling everyone that all your teachers said you’d never do anything with your life or your friends said you’d only be a one hit wonder doesn’t make you sound humble just because you end the store with “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.” They sound more conceded and like gloating than uplifting. Congratulations.
If rap isn’t your thing then look no further than the Foo Fighters. What a set. These men are fucking rock stars. Dave came out and started the set by explaining that the band had only 90 minutes to play instead of their usual 180 but promised they wouldn’t waste time talking and make sure to pack in as much music as possible and boy did they deliver. With sprawling ten minute ballads that would were so packed with guitar and drum solos that you’d forget which song they were playing until they reeled it back in the Foo Fighters proved why they were still one of the best bands making rock music today.
The EDM stage saw big names like RL Grime, Dillon Francis and Louis the Child throwing down killer sets throughout the weekend. You’d have to look no further than Louis the Child to find a group that clearly just loves being up on stage. These guys are on stage dancing along with the whole crown and boy can those guys grove. But the master of the mixers is still Dillon Francis. The transition kind, Dillon can mix together two songs so seamlessly that you’d think you were listening to a brand new track. How anyone can go so seamlessly from rap to rock to 90s pop and back to trap so smoothly is impressive to say the least. One minute the whole crowd is singing along to a classic and the next everyone is moshing to the nastiest electro trap mix you’ve had the pleasure to dance to. Few people can close out a festival like Dillon Francis and oh man is it good.