When Voodoo Fest’s final day was canceled due to weather concerns, New York-based band The Ludlow Thieves were ten minutes into their soundcheck on the Flambeau stage. Violinist Amanda Lo told Billboard that she and bandmate Laura Martin cried when they heard the news.
Lo played the violin on stage for a few minutes, her bandmates joking that she ended up headlining Day 3 of Voodoo as the only performer of the day. The Ludlow Thieves had driven down from New York to New Orleans for Voodoo, and the cancelation prompted them to search for a new place to play music.
The band found a new location at the House of Blues’ venue The Parish. The Ludlow Thieves joined with July Talk for a free “Deja Vodoo” performance.
About 300 people attended the show on Sunday (Nov. 1), some coming in with voodoo shirts and wristbands on.
“New Orleans we are finally here,” said frontman Danny Musengo. “It’s been a long day, we’re so happy to be warm and inside.” The Ludlow Thieves consist of Musengo, Lo, Dan Teicher (guitar), Walker Adams (drums), Isamu McGregor (keys) and Laura Martin (vocals).
The band is a mix of folk and alternative rock, with Musengo’s gravelly voice leading the vocals and Martin harmonizing: “I don’t know where I’m going / Don’t know how to leave / If you come with me I’ll have all I need / Won’t you sing me back home?” Their music was infused with emotion and it was easy to tell the band thoroughly enjoyed performing together.
Lo’s head-banging violin solo in “Stallone” had the crowd cheering and the people in the front row sang along as the band performed their new single “Over Again.” The energy in the room was palpable as people who had never heard of the band before Sunday complimented their stellar performance.
“They were so f—ing good I didn’t expect that shit at all,” said a man in the audience wearing a Voodoo shirt. He told Billboard that he had planned on going to Voodoo on Sunday and came to the House of Blues as a backup plan, not knowing what to expect. “They were amazing.”
Next up was Canadian band July Talk. Listening to lead singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay is like stumbling upon a dark, intimate, sexually-charged conversation. Dreimanis’ guttural growl blends smoothly with Fay’s sensual crooning.
“She’s got problems with her father,” he sings at the start of “Gentleman,” and a few lines later she comes back with, “So easy to love when we’re down on our knees.” Guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles played behind the singers as they belted out their alternative rock tinged with the blues.
“Let’s party our f—ing faces off!” exclaimed Dreimanis at the beginning of their set.
Throughout their performance Dreimanis and Fay took turns to touch each other and reaching out to the crowd. At one point, Dreimanis kissed Fay’s cheek, covered her eyes and stole her microphone. Later on in the night, Fay tipped her head back and poured honey down her throat, offering it out to the crowd.
“Any bee allergies in the house?” she asked with a slow smile. Toward the end of the night she body surfed backward into the audience while singing. “Don’t drop me,” she said breathlessly.
The duo know how put on a ferociously seductive show and are the epitome of Halloween weekend in New Orleans. July Talk played songs like “Summer Dress,” introducing it as a song about “liquor and regret” and “Headsick,” a song about “losing your f—ing mind.” For their finale they sang “Paper Girl,” and Ludlow Thieves’ Lo got up on somebody’s shoulders waving her arms.
Calls for an encore where obliged with the song “The Garden,” during which Fay sat on top of someone who carried her around the crowd, silhouetted by the red light behind her.
“Hopefully we can come back and play Voodoo next year,” said Dreimanis.
Voodoo producers would do well to book both of these bands for 2016 as their performances at House of Blues proved they could thrill quite the crowd, no festival stage necessary.
Here’s a look at The Ludlow Thieves’ performance on Sunday:
Here’s a July Talk music video, directed by Jared Raab:
— Lorena O'Neil (@lorenaoneil) November 2, 2015