Foo Fighters + More Conjure Up Hard Rocking Highlights at 2014 Voodoo Music Experience
The last note may have rung out, but the reverberations of a hard-rocking weekend at New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience are still being felt. Though there were a variety of acts ranging from alternative to electronic to local down home jazz, blues and funk, there was still plenty for hard rock and metal fans to embrace.
On Friday, Slayer and Rise Against got the spotlight on the Ritual Stage, the festival's main stage, while the Melvins and Fishbone also rocked on the side stages. Slayer and Rise Against served as against-type openers for Outkast, but definitely left their mark.
Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath addressed the crowd on Halloween that the band came dressed as "an angry punk band." That aggression was on full display as they opened with a blistering performance of 'Ready to Fall' and led fans through such favorites as 'Re-Education (Through Labor),' 'Give It All,' 'Prayer of the Refugee' and 'I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore.' McIlrath even ventured into the crowd early in the set, getting up close and personal with the audience.
After Rise Against cleared the stage, it was Slayer's turn to rock out and they didn't disappoint. Rolling through such standards as 'Disciple,' 'Hate Worldwide,' 'War Ensemble,' 'Raining Blood,' 'South of Heaven' and 'Angel of Death,' mainstays Tom Araya and Kerry King with their newer members Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph came off like a well-oiled metal machine. Meanwhile, over on the Flambeau Stage, Fishbone tore it up. The veteran rockers showed more energy than some of the rockers half their age, with frontman Angelo Moore bounding about the stage and doing cartwheels while rocking through 'Party At Ground Zero' and other standards in their catalog.
The main attractions for rock fans on Saturday came from Thirty Seconds to Mars and Ritual Stage headliners Arctic Monkeys. Jared Leto made several references to his Louisiana roots throughout the set, as he and brother Shannon were born in a small town not far from New Orleans. They opened their electrifying set with 'Up in the Air' and immediately started to get the crowd into the show when they got the audience chanting 'This Is War' for the song of the same name. Whether it be confetti cannons or giant balloon balls bounding around the crowd, Thirty Seconds to Mars kept fans entertained throughout.
Songs like 'Kings and Queens' and 'Do or Die' received big responses, as did the acoustic rendition of 'The Kill' that Leto performed. Clearly feeling the vibe of the night, Leto invited a wealth of crowd members onstage to get crazy with him for the finale. The band rocked instrumental versions of AC/DC's 'Back in Black' and Metallica's 'Sad But True' while Leto picked chosen ones out of the crowd and brought them up onstage. Then, everyone let loose while the group performed their set finale, 'Closer to the Edge.'
Arctic Monkeys headlined the Ritual Stage, bringing a sense of cool the proceedings. Frontman Alex Turner, channeling '60s slick with a leather jacket and greased back hair, was greeted with cheers as the instantly familiar beat of 'Do I Wanna Know?' rang out. The vocalist also mimed some of the female mannerisms of the title character 'Arabella' from their song of the same name. And tracks like 'Fluorescent Adolescent,' 'I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor' kept the energy high and crowd grooving before the show closing 'R U Mine?'
As for Sunday, it was Foo Fighters day at Voodoo. The veteran rockers returned to the city where they filmed one of their episodes for the current 'Sonic Highways' HBO series and Dave Grohl remarked what an amazing experience it was, saying that the band had the best time while recording in the city. "Music is such a big part of your culture and you preserve it," remarked Grohl, who also stated that if other cities paid as much respect to music as New Orleans does, the world would be a much better place. There was also a big nod to New Orleans coming later in the set, when Trombone Shorty would join Foo Fighters onstage for a funky rendition of 'This Is a Call.'
Their performance, as expected, featured such standards as 'All My Life,' 'I'll Stick Around,' 'The Pretender,' 'Big Me' (dedicated to Taylor Hawkins and his stylish $4.99 Rite Aid purchased pants), 'Monkey Wrench,' 'Best of You' and 'Everlong,' albeit with some tracks getting extended jams or different instrumentation. One of the high points of the night came as the recent single 'Something From Nothing' segued perfectly into the full throttle favorite 'Breakout.' The band also felt the need to mix it up a little, working in a cover of Van Halen's 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love' and venturing off into Queen and David Bowie's 'Under Pressure' and Tom Petty's 'Breakdown' at different points in the evening.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Voodoo veterans Fuel provided one of the day's standout sets. Brett Scallions and his band mixed the old and the new with tracks like 'Bad Day,' 'Falls on Me,' 'Shimmer,' 'Bittersweet' and 'Hemorrhage (In My Hands)' living alongside the new songs 'Puppet Strings' and 'Cold Summer.' Fuel came to rock out and they added some grit to the Carnival Stage festivities. Meanwhile, the Ritual Stage got a jolt of energy from live wire rockers AWOLNATION, who jammed out 'Megalithic Symphony,' got the crowd singing along on 'Not Your Fault' and ended their set on a high note with such tracks as 'Sail' and 'Burn It Out.'
With the book now closed on the Voodoo Music Experience for 2014, the planning begins for next year's event. But with bands like Foo Fighters, Slayer, Rise Against, Thirty Seconds to Mars and more leading the way, Voodoo 2014 goes down as another successful chapter. Check out our photo gallery from the Voodoo Music Experience below.
Foo Fighters Perform 'This Is a Call' With Trombone Shorty