Not really, but he played a big part in brightening up Day Two.
With rain on the second day keeping us off the grounds until late evening (and the last day ultimately washed out completely), Voodoo Fest 2015 was in dire need of a corrective. Enter Johnny Rotten, fronting P.I.L., a band he formed in 1978 with Jah Wobble and Keith Levene after the breakup of the Sex Pistols. Wobble and Levene are long gone and haven’t played in the band since things fell apart in the early 1980s, but Lydon is now backed by Lu Edmonds (guitars and and a host of other stringed instruments) and Bruce Smith (drums) who have played with P.I.L. since 1986 or so, through the long hiatus, and reformation in 2009. Add Scott Firth (bass), who played with the Spice Girls (as well as a host of other acts, including Joan Armatrading) before joining in 2009, and this is as veteran as P.I.L. gets. Aside, Lu Edmonds’ affiliation with The Damned cancels out any Spice evil, so we’re cool. While we caught a bit of Jane’s Addiction on the main stage before P.I.L. started and they did have absolutely perfect hair and a huge crowd, this is where we got what we wanted, and would have paid 10X the Voodoo ticket price just to see this one show. Gapless perfection, every minute Lydon was on the stage, playing through the rain.
Ozzy’s set after P.I.L. was fantastic, but the photo pit was closed and we couldn’t get any photos. By mid-set, the rain was coming down again, and it proved to be the last act we’d see this year.
Earlier that festival, however, Day One’s weather was considerably better. We caught Joy Formidable, a Welsh alternative rock band, mixing screaming guitar (yes!), courtesy of Ritzy Bryan, with melancholy, ethereal pop, a little reminiscent of Siouxie and the Banshees:
On the Carnival stage, we discovered Detroit rocker Jessica Hernandez, backed by the Deltas. An incredible vocalist with energy like a mad rock bunny. Really, we mean that in a good way. One of the very best shows at Voodoo this year and the new album, Secret Evil, which was recently released from the clutches of a blown record deal, is a must buy, whether you caught the set or not. Her videos on Youtube are pretty fantastic, too. OK, we like her.
Followed by another beautiful lady, Ruby Amanfu, who blew us away a few years ago at Voodoo. We’d love to take credit for the photos (and in fact, we will), but a bad shot of her is hard to get. But the voice. The voice!
And another unexpected treat, given that we’ve never been Modest Mouse groupies, nor have we bought into the “post rock” thing. But the live show at Voodoo (and the new album “Strangers to Ourselves”, which we discovered quickly afterward) was eye (and attitude) opening. Rock and roll and guitar rage of the very first order and not so very modest after all. New groupies are we, and we humbly thank Isaac Brock for the adjustment. We’ll even chip in for the inevitable dental work that’ll result from all the guitar eating!
See you next year, for a sunny Voodoo Fest 2016.