The local's guide to Voodoo weekend
Voodoo Fest invades City Park for its 15th installment this weekend, bringing a wide-ranging lineup of artists with something for every music fan. Whether you’re into rock, dance, or funk, you’ll be able to get your fix and then some over the three-day festival. But after the headliner closes each night, a whole other festival begins.
Just like during Jazz Fest, there are a ton of great shows happening across the city from the time Voodoo ends until the sun comes up. If you were so inclined, you could spend every waking minute this weekend hearing live music. Now that’s something special.
So where do you start?
Widespread Panic @ UNO Lakefront Arena - Thursday 8 PM
The Athens jam band giants return to the Lakefront Arena for a run of three shows starting on Halloween night. With the chances of repeated songs pretty low, each night promises a wild ride of Southern fried psychedelic rock. The Halloween show, however, will likely include some choice covers (the band has been known to dip into songs from Wilco, Dr. John, Van Morrison, and Dire Straits, among many others). The New Orleans Suspects open Friday’s show, and Bonerama opens on Saturday, both promising some solid New Orleans music to get the party started.
Galactic @ The Civic Theatre - Thursday 10:30 PM
The newly revived Civic Theatre has been open for a few months now, with a solid lineup of musicians and comedians gracing the stage. The Civic will host its first New Orleans funk show Halloween night, as Galactic delivers a powerful, exhilarating dance party that’s sure to stretch on late into the night. Dirty Dozen Brass Band kicks off the evening at 10:30.
Thunderbitch @ Hi Ho Lounge - Thursday 10 PM
Not much is know about Brittany Howard's new side project, Thunderbitch. The Alabama Shakes frontwoman has more stage presence than most artists out there, so it's a safe bet that this will be a rollicking good time. For this project, she teamed up with members of Nashville based "psych-soul" band Fly Golden Eagle and Brooklyn band Clear Plastic Masks for some blues inflected modern rock. If you haven't experienced Howard's earth-shaking howl live, seize this opportunity to witness one of the best new voices in rock.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe @ Tipitina’s - Friday 11 PM
Karl Denson is a master bandleader, playing the saxophone and flute like his life depends on it, while backed by the incredibly tight Tiny Universe. He plays a late night show at Tip’s on Friday for the festival crowd that can’t stop partying after Voodoo or Panic. Denson is in the midst of a string of shows billed as "Soul Spectacular: A Ray Charles Boogaloo Dance Party"; expect plenty of classic Ray Charles tunes given the funk treatment you always knew they deserved. Zach Deputy opens, and will probably lend his soulful voice and virtuoso guitar to more than a few Denson tunes. Deputy describes his music as "island-infused drum n' bass gospel ninja soul," which sounds way too good to ignore.
Shovels & Rope with Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ Preservation Hall - Friday Midnight
The incredibly talented duo Shovels & Rope bring their twangy rock to Preservation Hall for a special midnight show Friday night. The late night show was just announced yesterday, and promises the kind of collaborations you only find in NOLA. Get your tickets now -- they won't be around for long.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue @ Tipitina’s - Saturday 11: PM
Trombone Shorty hasn’t played Tip’s in quite a while, and has only been caught around town on huge stages (Jazz Fest, Lafayatte Square) as he continues to tour internationally as an ambassador of New Orleans music. His show at Tip’s on Saturday will certainly remind his hometown of why he’s one of the best, and the chance to catch him in the hallowed halls of Tip’s makes this show all the more special. Get there early for a good spot.
Marco Benevento, Terrence Higgins, Roosevelt Collier - Sunday 1:30 AM
The Maple Leaf will host its famous (or infamous?) sunrise shows usually reserved for Jazz Fest this weekend, promising a killer lineup for the die hard fans that just can’t get enough live music. Jonny Sketch and the Dirty Notes play before The New Orleans Suspects on Friday, but the Saturday show will be one for the books. First up is a tribute to Jimi Hendrix’s classic album Band of Gypsys, which will surely get the New Orleans funk treatment. Following the 'Bayou Gypsies' is a one off jam featuring some of the top talents in improvisational party rock. Piano wizard Marco Benevento, Warren Haynes Band drummer Terrence Higgins, and the gospel pedal steel master Roosevelt Collier will share the stage (along with an unnamed “special guest”) until the first rays of the rising sun creep into the fabled bar.
Shane Colman writes about music for NolaVie. Email him at [email protected]