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Volume 70, Issue 41, Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Life & Arts

They do Voodoo

New Orleans' Worms set the vibe as 60 bands cast their musical spells on festival's masses

By Bridget Brown
The Daily Cougar

Snapshot lights lit up the pitch black sky over New Orleans' City Park on Sunday night as tourists got a bit too comfortable with the NooMoon Tribes' the Worms Union. They laughed into the painted faces of fire breathers, voodoo dancers and acrobats wearing elaborate black costumes and menacing expressions, not realizing the first rule of dealing with black magic in New Orleans -- don't mess with the locals. As the procession circled, the Worms' thunderous rhythms split the sea of fans rightly helping to close out two days of extraordinary music at Voodoo Fest 2004.

Sunday night, heat-logged festivalgoers drifted mindlessly around each of the festival's five stages. Saturday's energy was long gone after two nights of intense partying, and one day filled with an unstoppable lineup. A Tribe Called Quest gave some hope earlier in the afternoon. Velvet Revolver failed miserably with shoddy vocals, a washed up Scott Wailand and drums that were never on beat. It took the self-described "American badass," Kid Rock along with his seven-piece backup band, plenty of pyrotechnics and four strippers to end the night right.

The beautiful weather Saturday illuminated the park as thousands of fans quickly flocked through the gates and into an amazing day of music and mayhem. All of the stages held plenty for everyone. The Polyphonic Spree, Gomez, Phantom Planet and The Killers started the day, and four renowned bands finished it.

Just as the moon began to rise above the top of the Southern Comfort/Rolling Stone stage, legendary art punk outfit Sonic Youth struck its first chords. Forty-five minutes of sonic assault reverb followed with bassist/guitarist/vocalist Kim Gordan and guitarist/vocalist Thurston Moore rioting at the helm. Quick into the set, Moore jumped offstage into the media pit, wrestled down a photographer, stole his camera and then flaunted it onstage. 

The band set up insanity that was easily followed by the Pixies.

After breaking up under the tremendous weight of its own talent, another celebrated '80s punk duo Frank Black and Kim Deal were back together. The group's perfectly repetitive songs, easy hooks, and, at first listen, senseless lyrics worked the crowd up into a frenzy, and prepared them for what was next -- Green Day.

The recent grownups charmed the crowd with an exceptional mix of songs off of Dookie, Insomniac, Warning and the politically charged new album, American Idiot. The Berkley trio brought in a guitar tech to play in mini rock opera "Jesus of Suburbia" to give lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong free time to entertain the crowd, even putting down his guitar several times to stress strong vocals.

The festival's headliner the Beastie Boys started the dance party that continued into the French Quarter after the concert. The lights went up on stage revealing the group's DJ Mix Master Mike scratching in a clear booth, and the three MCs -- MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D -- jumped straight into a set filled with everything from "Brass Monkey," and "Paul Revere," to "Intergalactic" and "Three MCs and One DJ."

All 60 artists at Voodoo Fest fed off of the energy of the Big Easy and left everyone worshiping the music and loving the essence of New Orleans. Punks, preps, old folks and goths rocked together and understood the spirit of voodoo.

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