Monday, October 27, 2008

Voodoo 2008: the Election Edition

Here's my round-up of New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience for Rolling

A few post-Voodoo observations that didn't fit:

The Bingo! Parlour was the coolest venue at Voodoo - enclosed enough to feel like an environment, but open enough that you didn't have to be inside it to hear. It was also a coherent space, where the theatrical set up framed bands such as the New Orleans Bingo! Show, the Tin Men with the Valparaiso Men's Chorus, and Quintron and Miss Pussycat perfectly. You were cued as to how to appreciate the music in the process, and the setting seemed to bring out the best in the performers. That sort of intelligence also highlights that many of the bands that played there aren't just music creators but art concepts, where the music and the theater are only parts of the whole package.

It was clear by the lack of applause of recognition and singing along that TV on the Radio has yet to penetrate the Gulf Coast consciousness.

The coolest set that 100 or so people saw was DJ King Britt's tribute to Sister Gertrude Morgan. It felt like a contemporary notion of rock 'n' roll with Britt manipulating her voice and other recordings - including Barack Obama's at one point - while a live band accompanied him. "Power" had dub's boinging echo chamber at its heart, while the next piece was a tech-savvy second line. The DJ wasn't just a guy to scratch along to band compositions or spin samples; he was a part of the band and a part of the collective music-making process, and it sounded more modern than a lot of contemporary rock bands on the main stages.

Erykah Badu's set sounded like a perfect merger of music and personality. It was never clear that there was a place where the person left off and the performer began, or that the person left off and the song began. As such, it was an uneven musical experience, but another two hours of expression that personal would have been fine by me.

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