Jason Isbell, Joy Formidable and Ryan Bingham Kick Off Voodoo

Originally published with Gambit Weekly on October 31, 2015.

A windy, overcast day provided a comfortable start to the 2015 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience Friday. Mostly costumed crowds were still trickling in by 2:30 p.m., when Flow Tribe kicked things off on the Altar stage.

Highlights included singer/-songwriter Jason Isbell on the Flambeau Stage. Switching between electric and acoustic guitar, he played a mix of songs from his recent albumSomething More Than Free along with older material such as “Decoration Day” from his time with the Drive-By Truckers. For “Decoration Day,” Isbell began solo on stage with only his acoustic guitar, before the rest of his band joined in piece by piece, building Isbell’s lament into something loud, raucous and lovely. “What a beautiful night; what a beautiful place to play music,” said Isbell, who had dressed as Batman. His band, which Isbell referred to as The Alabama Bat Boys, also joined in the fun; everyone wore a Batman costume or a Batman T-shirt and cape. Throughout the set, the supportive crowd cheered for Isbell’s sobriety, which he addressed through song lyrics and personal anecdotes. Towards the end of his set, he thanked Voodoo for “not having us any closer to the EDM stage than we already are.” As it was, Isbell and his Bat Boys held their own, cranking up a big sound to carry their music to eager fans. [Full article available at Gambit Weekly.]

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