Crowds swarmed over City Park’s Festival Grounds Sunday for the third and final day of Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. The festival finale offered an especially strong, Voodoo-appropriate lineup, including The Cure and New Orleans’ own Dr. John.
Topping the bill, The Cure, featuring Gothic-attired front man Robert Smith, headlined at the Ritual Stage. Smith, now 54, his big mop of black hair gone gray, and his band performed studio quality renditions from his now decades-old catalog. “Fascination Street,” “High,” “Lullaby,” “Just Like Heaven,” “Pictures of You” and more hit nostalgic chords in a delighted mass of ’80s and ’90s kids who grew up loving The Cure.
Despite Smith’s Goth look, much of his material is sweet, melodic love songs. He still expresses his devotion with huggable sensitivity. Englishman Smith’s melancholy image doesn’t do him or his music justice. He actually danced during one of his set’s upbeat selections, “The Walk.”
Preceding The Cure on the Ritual Stage, Kid Rock stomped through a set of his rock and rap hybrid music. Rock’s formula gets redundant, but he’s great at synthesizing all kinds of normally segregated American music styles. As his lyrics explain, he likes Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash, ZZ Top and George Jones.
For a guy from Detroit, Rock is deeply connected to Southern rock, gospel and country music. Showing his gift for musical mash-ups, he easily transformed, for instance, the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” Marshall Tucker’s “Can’t You See,” however, got a completely faithful rendition.
Rock got into a little comedy. “I’ll give you some of that Justin Bieber BS, too. Check this out,” he said before breaking into some Bieber dance moves.
Another suitable for Voodoo act, New Orleans duo Quinton and Miss Pussycat, mixed swampy garage-rock dance music with puppetry. The pair entertained a large crowd at the Carnival Stage, named because of its proximity to City Park’s carnival rides.
Preceding Quinton and Miss Pussycat’s dance party, the duo’s surrealistic puppet show told an odd tale about Christmas Bear entering a baking contest. The bear’s goblin cake won.
Quintron’s Hammond B-3 organ features headlights, grill and a license plate that says “QUINTRON.” It’s noisy, like some vintage junker that’s still on the road. He complements his driving organ sounds with retro-sci-fi audio effects. Miss Pussycat sings and shakes a pair of candy-colored maracas. If you can’t afford to hire the B-52s for your birthday party, Quintron and Miss Pussycat will do.
C.C. Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis come from that Cajun- and zydeco-rich city in southwest Louisiana. The band showed its southwest regional influences during its Flambeau Stage show. It got extra percussion kick through its two drummers.
The group also veered into John Lee Hooker territory, boogieing through “Y’all’d Think She’d Be Good 2 Me,” an Adcock original that featured one of his effects and distortion-laden solos. Adcock brought the music back to New Orleans with a bittersweet ballad originally written and recorded by the city’s own Art Neville, “I’m a Fool to Care.”
True to Voodoo Experience form, Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis have a natural connection to the Halloween weekend-set festival. They made a cameo appearance in HBO’s Louisiana and Mississippi-set hit series about vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc., “True Blood.”
Dirty Bourbon River Show, a New Orleans band that opened the day at the Ritual Stage, ranged from local brass band sounds to traditional Jewish klezmer music. The group got into the Voodoo spirit with one of its klezmer-style songs, “The Wolfman.” The song ended with a collective howl from all of the band members.