The Five Best Acts at Voodoo Fest 2013
The 2013 edition of the Voodoo Festival has come and gone, leaving everyone who came out counting down the days until the next time they can step foot in New Orleans' City Park. This year people were treated to standout sets spread across four stages from the likes of Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Kid Rock, The Cure, Bassnectar, Dr. John, Calvin Harris, New Found Glory and many others.
Photos by Julian Bajsel Voodoo Fest 2013 at sunset
With the beautiful city of NOLA providing the atmosphere, pretty much nothing can go wrong when you're at Voodoo -- well, unless you have one too many hand grenades on Bourbon Street.
I've been attending this event for the better part of a decade now, ever since it was in that one part of the park, before it was in the other part of the park which switched to the other park of the park that is now the "permanent" grounds. Well, at least until they move it to another part of the park. Give it 3-5 years.
With a change in venues, despite being just a few hundred yards away from where it was last year, a new vibe is to be established, and even though Voodoo Fest has been going strong for a good 15 years, it felt almost like a new festival rather than one of the longer-running events.
While Voodoo is now an established brand, one that continues to bring an ever-evolving cast of characters to its many stages, this year it felt like Voodoo was almost trying to re-establish the brand it brought to life, mixing the rock roots that lifted it off the ground to the newer way to festival mixing the indie with the dance with the indie-dance with the everything else.
Usually it's the headliners that people go home talking about, but this year's event was so heavily stacked from top to bottom that it was hard pressed to go to a stage and not enjoy what was happening. Of course everything wasn't for everyone -- there were a few times where some stages didn't really draw a crowd, and there were a few times you couldn't make it near a set because of how crowded it was. Despite that, though, some new favorites were discovered, but it was the old steady stalwarts that really won over the crowd throughout the weekend.
The Voodoo crowd after dark
And now, my five favorite acts from Voodoo Festival 2013:
5. Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor has performed at Voodoo numerous times now under the Nine Inch Nails moniker, every time bringing something new and different to his performances. This time, however, it was a different animal. While several classic Nails songs were heard ("Head Like a Hole," "Hurt," "Piggy"), it was the newer stuff that found Trent really hitting his stride.
Bringing almost a dancey EDM vibe to the Saturday night set, they could've done a good job headlining the Le Plur stage rather than the main Ritual stage. Trent, and his band of hired guns, which included the ever-rhythmic Pino Palladino on bass and a pair of vicious looking back up singers, worked their way through about 25 songs from Nails' entire catalog, mostly focusing on their newer material.
Gone are the days of their harder industrial sound that made them famous with songs like "Closer" in the mid '90s. Trent has welcomed the new age of dance music into his world, and like he could only do best, brought his own charisma and style to the thriving genre. It wasn't necessarily a set for the ages, but it sure was one of the better headlining sets I've seen in a while.
List continues on the next page.