VOODOO - MUSIC + ARTS EXPERIENCE on Friday, Oct 27, 2017: Tokimonsta, Bibi Bourelly, Joyride, Galantis, Benjamin Booker, Kehlani, Prophets of Rage and LCD Soundsystem performing at the Voodoo Music Festival on Friday, October 27, 2017.
Carolyn Heneghan: While many fest-goers use Friday as a day to ease into a three-day event, Voodoo Music + Art Experience 2017 organizers ensured a packed lineup and plenty to see. Here’s a glimpse of what you might have seen or might have missed.
Music: The entrance I used let me in right next to the Le Plur stage, which means my Voodoo Day 1 kicked off with Austin-based DJ Mel. The Internet informs that DJ Mel is “notoriously recognized as ‘Obama’s DJ,’” and spun for the former president when he held office (and later, for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign). But the early Friday crowd was getting down like the day’s a.m. and p.m. had been flipped, and even I couldn’t help walk-dancing as he span my sonic way into the fest.
Food: Voodoo never disappoints on the food selection (and how could you go wrong with the slew of local eateries to choose from?). 2017 was no different. The dishes that inspired the most egregious salivation by name alone? Café Navarre’s fried duck quesadillas with sweet chili sauce. Romega Taqueria’s ceviche tostada. The Big Cheezy’s Crawgator Four-Cheez Mac n Cheez Bowl. Restaurant Des Familles’ alligator stuffed mushrooms. (Spoiler alert: The Big Cheezy won.)
Art and Décor: The festival had its expected chilled-out, artsy vibe about it, plus a couple carnival rides and the usual nook of vendors and artists. But the biggest smile definitely came from watching elaborately costumed zombies and other creatures leap out at unsuspecting passersby from behind different corners of The Mortuary Haunted Experience. Also, the live painting onstage during Flow Tribe’s set looked to be a masterpiece.
Best Music Set: LCD Soundsystem. In terms of overall production, from song selection and sound quality to lighting and visual effects, LCD Soundsystem delivered an objectively stunning performance. Every person in that crowd had to have heard something they liked, from the harder, hammering rock tracks to the more upbeat and effervescent dance songs. The visuals were also top-notch, including unsurprising yet solid choices with the lighting and massive disco ball. But the way the video engineers manipulated the live on-stage video that plays on the screens flanking either side of the Altar Stage was out of this world—no psychedelics required.
Crowd Favorite: Kendrick Lamar. This was the kind of set where you may be a fan of Kendrick Lamar, but you really went because you just wanted to see the look on your buddy’s face when he or she saw Kendrick Lamar perform. And the man did not hold back. His name was on the tip of nearly everyone’s tongue even in the early afternoon. And by nightfall, the Kendrick fever was an at all-time high before he set the stage—and our insides—ablaze. He performed plenty of favorites from damn. (2017) but also threw in a few earlier tracks for loyal day-one fans. The set ended in a fit of squeals and fireworks, must more be said?
Biggest Surprise: I was one of many Voodoo attendees both astounded and ashamed at ourselves for not knowing that Prophets of Rage is comprised of original members of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave plus Cypress Hill, prior to their set. Personally, I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to see Tom Morello’s magnanimous shredding, and he repeatedly left me breathless the same way he did at Voodoo 2007. Nor was I ready for the Chris Cornell tribute, Audioslave’s “Like a Stone,” sung only by the crowd while the band played and a spotlight shone on a gut-wrenchingly empty mic stand. They also performed a new track off their self-titled album, “Hail to the Chief,” which the amped-up crowd eagerly devoured.
Song Most Played (Tied): Drake’s “Fake Love” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)”—Three times each, at least.
Best Dressed (Musicians): Local funkaholics Flow Tribe, stuntin’ in their finest nunnery garbs and representing the 504 to the nth degree. Though, Philadelphia-bred indie darling Mondo Cozmo and his band took home a close second by performing a “Bittersweet Symphony” cover and the anthemic hit “Shine” in a prismatic range of dresses.
Best Dressed (Attendees): Hands down, that giant pack of roaming MacGrubers I had to chase down like a fan girl to snap a photo as proof of their existence.
Best Totem: While I was disappointed in the lack of totem participation on this particular day, a pair of South Bend, IN, ladies sported a double-sided Rick and Morty Cromulon head/“Show Me What You Got” sign. Like Morty on his adventures with Grandpa Rick, I blindly followed the sign deep into the crowd for LCD Soundsystem. Arguably, the best decision of the night.
Other Notables: Marian Hill on the Altar Stage, and TOKiMONSTA and JOYRYDE at Le Plur.
Stay tuned for more Where Y’at coverage of Voodoo Music + Art Experience all weekend long.