It’s hard to know what to expect going into Voodoo Fest. This year, being my third time attending the festival, it seemed to stick to what it knows best. However, The five-stage setup was renewed, with the “Altar” and “Le Plur” stages garnering most the attention. The lineup this year also featured similar combinations of EDM, Rock, and Hip-Hop, a recipe Voodoo has been using for years.
Out of the many great performances I saw at Voodoo, the two that stuck with me the most were on the upper tier of the lineup and played later in the evening.
Biggest Surprise: Brand New
As I walked over to the Altar stage to watch Brand New, I was curious about what type of crowd they would attract. It was a cold, Saturday evening, and the Altar stage had been losing the battle to Le Plur, the EDM stage. However, upon arriving, I could not believe the size of the crowd, which extended well past the soundboard.
The performance contained very little banter, but the crowd did not care as they were captivated by Jesse Lacey and the band. Lacey, the lead singer, was belting away lyrics to new and old songs as the crowd joyfully sang along to every word. Brand New has been on a “last hurrah” tour for the past year and a half; any show they play could be their last one in that area for a very long time. We can only hope that this was not the last performance from the band in NOLA. Nonetheless, this performance was well worth watching and quite memorable.
Strongest Crowd Interaction: Prophets of Rage
Prophets of Rage, the Rage Against the Machine iteration, fronted by B-Real of Cypress Hill, and Chuck D of Public Enemy, came prepared to Voodoo Fest this year. Performing at the Altar stage, their show was jammed in directly before that of Kendrick’s and many had begun the exodus to the Altar stage in preparation. As the band opened into the RATM’s classic hit, “Bull’s on Parade” the crowd cheerfully responded.
Prophets of Rage came out on Friday with a message of anger that was consistent with one of RATM’s core themes: antigovernment. B-Real and Chuck D gave a short monologue about their contempt towards the current administration before heading into RATM’s “Take the Power Back”. The crowd continued to recite nearly every word throughout the performance.
The show was not all RATM, though. At the halfway point, the band left the stage for Chuck D and B-Real to play a few of their songs. While the crowd did not react as enthusiastically to this section, there was still an overall feeling of excitement. The crowd interacted with B-Real as he sang Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Membrane”, a 90’s hip-hop classic.
Perhaps the most moving part of the performance was the ode to the late Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman, Chris Cornell. The band, who has played with Cornell, performed an instrumental to their hit song, “Like a Stone”, as a single light shined upon an empty microphone stand. The crowd took it upon themselves to fill in for the late Cornell, as the majority recited the lyrics. It was truly an emotional moment across the entire crowd. Overall, it was clear that Prophets of Rage came out Friday night with the intent to leave an impression.
COVER PHOTO: Justin Haber