Voodoo 2011 concluded Sunday with an eclectic mix. Fishbone offered up both mad and frenzied ska and some detours into the madness of Dr. Madd Vibe. Angelo Moore brought out the theremin for the tune "Crazy Glue" and that seems like a chapter in the band's history that should be retired. But when the horns are blaring and the band is sticking to its funk-punk roots, it still puts on a great live show.
Ray Davies' set also was best when he broke out The Kinks' biggest hits, and that seemed to be what the crowd wanted.
TV on the Radio put in the best show of the day, playing many of the songs on Return to Cookie Mountain. The whole ensemble was tight, but Kyp Mallone really stood out on guitar. (Mallone also claimed the band was unable to find a drinking establishment Saturday night after checking into the hotel. I am not sure where they are staying, but he might want to consult with Boots Electric's Jesse Hughes, who claimed Saturday that he hasn't left One Eyed Jacks before 7 a.m. for four straight days.)
The Preservation Hall and Del McCoury bands seem to really enjoy the partnership they have stuck up in recording Preservation and American Legacies. From the latter jazz/bluegrass roots fusion, Pres Hall trumpeter Mark Braud led the two groups in what he called the "anti-diabetes anthem," "Sugar Blues." It's a fun tune lamenting the taste of sugar going sour, but it's got the rather unromantic line, "Baby, cut your toenails / they're ripping the sheets." That's a line I hadn't noticed before, but if Braud was looking for a moment in the song to highlight a public service announcement message, that one did the trick.
On the disappointing side, Cheap Trick was scheduled to play the Bingo! Parlor stage, the notion being that the show would be a more intimate affair. The band sounded exactly like it does on its albums — because it appeared to lip-sync the entire set.
And not living up to many expectations at all was Odd Future. The group might want to consider renaming itself Sad Future. It's garnered great buzz because of its Internet-released songs and videos, because of the odd story of Earl Sweatshirt's absence from live shows and long features in publications like The New Yorker. It's also been the subject of debate over frequent use of the term "faggot." The crew that showed up at Voodoo offered little in the way of an original or distinctive sound. And if there was any suggestion that homophobic lyrics or their stream of abusive profanity is meant with some irony or to tweak the PC crowd, the band revealed that it simply doesn't have a very big vocabulary besides the incessant chorus "faggot bitch" and motherf_ker. For some reason, the members of the band also taunted press photographers in the pit, calling them "punk-ass n—-s," physically swiping at their cameras and kicking over a tripod. If the band doesn't like photographers, it could have the pit closed, as many bands do. Allowing photographers in and then taking shots at their equipment is a lame way to try to strike a tough (and meaningless) pose. The crew is full of young rappers. Hopefully they'll find a way to expand their vocabularies and their horizons.