A Beachfront Festival Oasis: Hangout Music Festival Review

By Ryan Cummings

The sandy white beaches of the Gulf Coast of Alabama hosted 35,000 music fans, there to dance and sing along to three days of beloved live music. The sunny beachfront atmosphere is one of a kind as the Hangout provided flawless weather conditions for a weekend music festival paradise. The location is not the only thing that sets this fest apart from others. As most other summer festivals are limited to camping, The Hangout refers fans to the local condominiums and beachfront rental homes for a more comfortable festival experience, with all the amenities of home. Also provided are convenient shuttles to transport everyone to and from the Hangout haven.

The Thursday Night Kickoff Party launched the weekend off with sets from Boombox and Big Gigantic, in the covered tent of the XBOX stage. The XBOX stage featured mostly live electronic bands and DJs throughout the weekend. Huge LED panels, elaborate visualizer screens and spotlights filled the stage. Boombox didn’t play many of their popular album hits, instead choosing to mesmerize fans with their everlasting groovy and funky jams. Big Gigantic was without their new lighting rigs, but still brought the house down with hits from Nocturnal as well as a few of their popular covers like “Get Em’ High” and “Notorious Thugs.”

For most in attendance, Alabama Shakes was the opening set on Friday, the first official day of music at the festival. Their vocalist, Brittney Howard, amazed the unfamiliar rock lovers and appeased accustomed fans at the Chevrolet stage on the beach with her soulful voice. “Hang Loose” from the newly released album Boys and Girls was the first track that they played, projecting their true southern rock style. They continued with “Hold On” and several others off the new album.

Umphrey’s Mcgee continued on the Letting Go stage. Their set featured several fan favorites including “All In Time” and “Puppet String.” Umphrey’s was not originally on the lineup but after countless requests, the organizers added the famed Chicago band with undeniable appreciation. Following Umphrey’s set, STS9 played to a packed tent, giving fans a break from the hot sun and replacing it with some bass in your face dance music. Sound Tribe opened with “Activation.”

Day 1 came to a finale with Jack White playing half of his set with The Buzzards and the other with The Peacocks, his all female band. He played several songs from his days with the Raconteurs, the White Stripes and The Dead Weathers as well as a few from his new solo album Blunderbuss including “Love Interruption” and “Sixteen Candles.” “Seven Nation Army,” was his last song, leaving the crowd begging for more.

With picture perfect weather, Saturday’s music began at the Letting Go Stage with Dr. Dog who played the majority of the songs off of their latest album Be The Void. Their unique sound came through in their popular track “That Old Black Hole.” Dispatch followed with an epic set at the Main Stage on the beach, playing all of their hits. “Here We Go,” “Bang Bang,” “Two Coins,” “Outloud,” and “The General” were just a few of the crowd favorites. Every fan was dancing in the sand and singing along to the well-known lyrics. Also, for festival goers that wanted to stay out of the sun, there was a hammock beach close to the stage in the shade of palm trees.

String Cheese Incident continued on the opposing Chevorlet Stage opening with a funky chill jam, “Rosie.” “Miss Brown’s Teahouse” into “Pick up the Pieces,” an Average White Band cover, was an extended jam and an obvious crowd pleaser. Their first set ended with “I Know You Rider” a popular cover song from the Grateful Dead. The second set of the Hangout Incident started with awe-inspiring drum solos as the sun began to descend behind the stage. On stage pyrotechnics and insane multicolored visuals were prevalent throughout the performance. The set continued with a few more favorites; “Sirens,” “Rollover” and “Lets Go Outside.”

The headlining act of the Saturday Night was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their set began with “Monarchy of Roses” from their new album I’m With You and continued with “Can’t Stop,” “Dani California,” and Scar Tissue, all classic Chili Peppers songs. They played just one flawless cover, Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” This might have been one of the only sets where everyone knew nearly every single song and was singing along. At the end of Day 2 was “Give It Away,” followed by a barrage of fireworks exploding in the sky.

Sunday started out with Cage The Elephant on the Letting Go Stage in the sun. They featured half of the songs off of their most recent album Thank You Happy Birthday, including hits like “Shake Me Down,” and “Around My Head.” The day continued with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero’s. Sharpe was walking around in the crowd during part of his set. They played so many fun and happy songs like “Janglin” and the popular radio hit “Home”.

With 8 albums worth of music, The Flaming lips opened with “Race For The Prize” and continued with “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.” During the entire set there was confetti and huge balls being scattered. Throughout Dark Side of The Moon’s “Money,” Wayne Coyne also released huge balls with cash inside them and asked people not to fight over it. In addition, he was wearing a shiny cape and huge paw like gloves. He also had a small video camera on his mic with the image periodically being projected on the huge screen behind the stage. The Pink Floyd Dark Side set was a majestic performance. Sunday night at 8, Dave Mathews Band took the stage to close out the festival with a three hour long set. His final song was an excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s, “All Along The Watchtower.”


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Ryan Cummings | 

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