It’s Day 2 of Voodoo and you can feel the buzz around the festival grounds ahead of the evening’s headliner Tool. When the festival’s lineup was announced months ago, thousands of people circled October 29th and bought their tickets to the bayou to catch a glimpse of the iconic band. The Toyota Music Den’s Day 2 roster provided an ideal alternative to the festival’s main stage, offering an intimate setting to witness the soulful pop of Nothing But Thieves, the dream funk melodies of Saint Motel, and the gritty blues explosion of Reignwolf.
Nothing But Thieves
London-quartet Nothing but Thieves packed the Toyota Music Den to open a sweltering Day 2 of Voodoo Fest. They opened with the heart-wrenching cut “Trip Switch” before diving into “Wake Up Call” from their 2015 self-titled debut album. Conor Mason’s stripped-down, moving rendition of “If I Get High” had the crowd swooning and cheering to close out a spectacular acoustic session, setting a high bar for the rest of the day.
The midday sun didn’t scare anyone off from witnessing one of Jordan Cook’s (a.k.a. Reignwolf) hallmark sets that have the Canadian-born artist pouring sweat into every verse. Cook showed that the blues are alive and well north of the border, opening an absolutely stellar set with “I’m Too Young to Die” before snatching his mic to use it as a temporary guitar pick. (He even played an homage to the scaly denizens of Bayou St. John on the track “Alligator,” letting a tambourine tapping fan onstage to keep — well, try to keep — rhythm with the band.) Some guys just bleed rock’n’roll charisma, and Reignwolf leaves every ounce of it on stage.
Alejandro Rose-Garcia (a.k.a. Shakey Graves) brought a suitcase onto the Toyota Music Den stage on Day 2 of Voodoo Fest. Why? Well, it’s an amp as well as his drum kit, a unique setup that gave his high-energy set an intimate DIY feel. The fans were feeling it from the first strum of “Roll the Bones,” an uptempo Texas-twang of a track that had the entire tent clapping along. He kept it going with “Built to Roam” and “Word of Mouth” before wrapping up his set with “City in a Bottle,” a song about the first time Rose-Garcia went to New York and met a woman who really wanted to clean his boots.
The tropical temperatures in New Orleans started to drop but that didn’t stop the boys from Saint Motel from providing a funky backdrop to the Toyota Music Den’s penultimate set on Day 2 of Voodoo Fest. Opener “Feed Me Now” had the overflowing crowd clapping along and follow-up “You Can Be You” had everyone swaying in time to singer A/J Jackson’s warbling vocals. But the biggest moment came when the unmistakable horns of the band’s hit “My Type” kicked in and got the crowd jumping — literally — to the beat.
The bayou heat may have died down by the time London-based duo Oh Wonder hit the Toyota Music Den stage for a DJ set, but they didn’t let the cooler temperatures let the party stop. “Superstition” got the Halloween-ready crowd into it as Oh Wonder ran through an eclectic mix of old and new hits from across the spectrum. (Josephine Vander Gucht even took the time to snap a few stage-side selfies.) Highlight cuts came from the likes of Gorillaz, Kanye West, and MIA, leaving the crowd wanting more.