• The Cure at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, New Orleans, November 3, 2013

    Voodoo 2013: Kid Rock Further Depresses Cure Fans and the 5 Best Things We Saw on Sunday

    5. Quintron and Miss Pussycat New Orleans' Quintron and Miss Pussycat have made the personal touch their calling card. She makes puppets for surreal, onstage puppet shows — such as the one involving Christmas Bear and a goblin cake that she performed last night. The show not only held the 2:30 p.m. crowd, but had them clapping when the goblin dessert won a bake-off against a smug birthday cake. Quintron's organ and Drum Buddy percussion synthesizer are also homemade, and he used them to grind out a garage-punk take on dance music. When he called for people to "jamskate tonight," his low bass pulse was the equal of any elsewhere on the grounds, but he played the organ to surge and roar with more a more human pulse.4. Kid Rock Kid Rock's set-closing "Bawitdaba" toasts "all my heroes at the methodone clinics," among others.

  • Paramore at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, New Orleans, November 2, 2013

    Voodoo 2013: Nine Inch Nails Go Electro-Funk and the 5 Best Things We Saw on Saturday

    1. Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor didn't seem quite so tortured during NIN's third appearance at Voodoo since Hurricane Katrina. His movements were less rigid this time, and just as David Bowie used to remake his songs in the image of the album he was touring, "Sanctified" and other older favorites now morphed into glitchy electro-funk in honor of the band's new Hesitation Marks. Those that escaped the twitchy treatment took on a glam-thrash sheen: "March of the Pigs" hit hard and fast until the roar died away, leaving Reznor alone to sing, "Doesn't it make you feel better?" The simplest pleasure was a relatively faithful version of Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans," which Reznor himself remixed in 1997, capping a fairly user-friendly set that found fresh life in a lot of old warhorses.2.

  • Pearl Jam at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, New Orleans, November 1, 2013

    Voodoo 2013: Pearl Jam and Steve Gleason Team Up and the 5 Best Things We Saw on Friday

    5. Royal Teeth "Can you tell Macklemore to be quiet?" Royal Teeth's Gary Larsen joked between songs. Actually, Calvin Harris was the offender, but Larsen's concern over sound bleed was echoed all day long at Voodoo. But nothing could harsh Royal Teeth's buzz as they bounced, jumped, pounded on drums, and sang wordless melodies, usually with an invitation for the audience to join them. The New Orleans-based band's explosive, buzzy lightness is Mentos in a Coke bottle, though Nora Patterson's ethereal voice adds wisps of melancholy. "We try to keep our sets as upbeat as possible," Larsen said to the surprise of no one. During the set-closing "Wild" — a song currently used in two commercials — the stage couldn't contain him. The energy took him to into the photo pit, where he shot a cellphone video of the crowd singing along.4.

  • The 15 Best Things We Saw at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2013

    The 15 Best Things We Saw at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2013

    The 15th annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience took over New Orleans last weekend, with Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, Rudimental, Bassnectar, and much more. Here are the best things we saw. For more coverage on this year's top festivals, visit ToyotaSoundwave.com.

  • Wayne Coyne holds the Guinness certificate / Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty

    The Flaming Lips' 24-Hour Party: Chasing a Guinness Record With Wayne Coyne

    On the evening of June 28, Wayne Coyne was laying blissfully onstage amidst confetti at the House of Blues in New Orleans. Twenty-four hours earlier, he and his Flaming Lips bandmates had, in conjunction with MTV's O Music Awards, started their effort to set the Guinness World Record for Most Concerts Played in multiple cities in a 24-hour period. With 20 minutes to spare, the band had broken Jay-Z’s record of seven shows in 24 hours, and to celebrate they were playing the equivalent of a victory lap, launching into "Race for the Prize." Here's how they claimed first place. Show No. 1: Handy Park, Memphis, Tennessee, June 27, 5:04 p.m.  It's summer in the South and Faust's "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl" is playing on the PA. Wayne Coyne is in a blue quilted ski jacket and furry bear gloves despite 90-plus-degree temperatures.

  • kanye west

    Kanye West and Rihanna Help Brad Pitt 'Make It Right'

    When Kanye West played New Orleans last summer, he started his Essence Music Festival set atop a scissors lift in the middle of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Saturday night, he returned to the Crescent City for a more intimate show in a ballroom at the Hyatt Regency, and he brought company. Rihanna and Jamie Foxx joined him when he concluded "A Night to Make it Right," a music-filled fundraiser thrown by Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation. Guests at the $1,000-a-plate gala were welcomed at the door by the Roots of Music marching band, serenaded in the lobby by Dr. John, met at the top of the stairs by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and entertained by Rihanna and Sheryl Crow. West headlined the afterparty, where New Orleans' Soul Rebels also performed, along with Seal and Snoop Dogg.

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    Slits Tribute: Previously Unpublished Q&A with Ari Up

    On October 20, Ari Up, who co-founded the pioneering English all-girl punk band the Slits in 1976 when she was just 14, died from an undisclosed illness. She was 48. In honor of her musical legacy, we're publishing a previously unreleased interview with Up that was done during the Slits' 2009 reunion tour of the U.S. Up, who was born Arianna Forster, discusses the explosion of punk in the U.K. and America, her band's unique use of reggae sounds, and her influence on the subsequent Riot Grrrl movement. When you started in punk music you were just 14. How did you get involved?I came from a musical family. I was around music all the time. My mother and all my stepfathers were in music or musicians. [My mother] promoted all kinds of rock groups in the 1960s. I grew up with people like Jimi Hendrix walking through the living room.

  • Janet Jackson at the Essence Music Festival, New Orleans, July 2, 2010.

    Janet Jackson Performs for the First Time in a Year

    Janet Jackson's appearance in New Orleans Friday night showed that Control and Discipline are more than album titles. Opening the Essence Music Festival in the Louisiana Superdome, Jackson performed for the first time since her brother Michael died a year ago, and she did so with a rigorous self-possession that kept the show from becoming too joyful. The night started with Jackson dancing with herself. As she sang "The Pleasure Principle," a second and third Janet flanked her via holograms, each synchronized to mirror her moves. She followed with "Control" and "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" -- two songs that began the night's balancing act: Jackson celebrated her career throughout, but with a distant, austere undercurrent. One example came during a costume change when the video screen showed highlights from her acting roles.

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    Of Montreal Kicks Off Tour in New Orleans

    The crowd was ready for Mardi Gras in May when Of Montreal started its summer tour in New Orleans Saturday night. Fans wore Indian headdresses and warpaint, and there were a number of psychedelic variations on street clothes as well, including one guy who fashioned horn-rimmed glasses from glow sticks. The band, however, missed the memo. Singer Kevin Barnes did wear makeup and a Jetsons-like shirt with a high, sci-fi collar, but Of Montreal's set at the Howlin' Wolf wasn't the theatrical experience many fans expected. This night, Of Montreal was a rock band, bringing to mind modern glam incarnations such as Suede, complete with guitar heroics. During the encore of "She's a Rejecter," Barnes even adopted a few guitar hero poses with his white Gibson SG.

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    Kravitz, Legend, Mos Def Headline Gulf Aid Concert

    On Sunday, the day BP inserted a catheter-like pipe inside the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico to help stem the spill, skepticism was in the air at Gulf Aid. "We need regulators who regulate," said John Legend during a press conference after his set at the New Orleans benefit for those adversely affected by the oil pumping into Gulf waters since the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil well exploded April 20. Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, and Ani DiFranco headlined the show at Mardi Gras World that also included many of New Orleans' finest musicians. Heavy morning rains caused casual street flooding and forced the stage to be moved indoors. Grammy-winning Cajun band BeauSoleil played on a stage erected in a warehouse surrounded by Mardi Gres floats. Rapper Mos Def recently moved to New Orleans, and he performed with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

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