Friday had a hip-hop focus, but Saturday was all about guitars (except at Le Plur, of course).
Saturday was Black T-Shirt Day at Voodoo with a heavy rock lineup topped by Tool, whose black T-shirts were first among impractical equals. Guitar rock is in remission and simply isn’t a force in the marketplace right now, but it still has a dedicated audience. Cage the Elephant looked like it drew as well as Tool—or close—and throughout the day, the hard rock and metal had enough detail to be engaging, unlike the army of bands playing drop-D tunings a decade ago. The Pretty Reckless were the most conventionally heavy, while Swedish ghoul metal band Ghost seemed to be preserved in a pre-grunge amber. On the same stage earlier in the afternoon, Bully reminded us of the sound that made metal seem silly when singer Alicia Bognanno channeled her inner Cobain more than her inner riot grrrl. Brits Nothing But Thieves didn’t come into focus for me until they covered The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind”—declaring them “pretty good”—and by the end, singer Conor Mason went old school for a little Plant-like vocalizing over a Zeppelin-lite riff.
One outlier in the day was the Claypool Lennon Delirium—a psychedelic thing that didn’t come into focus for me on record. Live, after an opening number that featured Les Claypool on lead bass, echoes of British prog rock including the giveaway Mellotron gave the music clearer context. Eventually, prog wasn’t just the framework but the work itself. Over the course of the hour set, Claypool and Sean Lennon covered King Crimson’s “Court of the Crimson King,” Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine,” and concluded with The Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece, “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The shifting focal points moved organically, so at times the specifics of the music were hard to pin down, and when the Claypool pulled the Delirium in a more Zappa-like direction, the music felt like a bunch of unmotivated notes. More often though, they picked up on the British conception of experimental rock without fetishizing technique and “talent.”
Once again, here are our notes and yours on Saturday at Voodoo: