Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama was in full swing yesterday for Day 2. We saw Diarrhea Planet, Trombone Shorty, and Fitz and the Tantrums at the Palladia stage; Tegan & Sara, Matt and Kim, and The Flaming Lips at the Chevrolet Stage; Moon Taxi at the Red Bull Stage; Pretty Lights in the Boom Boom Tent and finally Needtobreathe, Modest Mouse, and the Killers at the Hangout Stage. See the highlights below, and check back tomorrow for our favorite things from Day 3.
Best Set of the Weekend: DIARRHEA PLANET
With a band name like "Diarrhea Planet," there's a certain intrigue that drives me to at least check out a song to see what kind of people name their band that. Their set at Hangout absolutely floored me. There was so much energy, especially for the early time-slot that they were allotted. Immediately hearing the wall of sound with four guitars bleeding through the speakers as I was walking up to the set, I knew that we were in for a real treat.
About three songs into the set, the band introduced the "donut factor" and all hell broke loose. The "Donut Factor" included throwing about twenty inflatable donuts into the crowd that everyone would eventually crowd surf on, but we'll get to that later.
Next to the highly anticipated set from Girl Talk at Thursday's pre-party, this set was the biggest party atmosphere. It was so great (and refreshing) seeing a loud punk band take the reigns of a crowd so early in the day.
So, back to the "Donut factor," the band pleaded to the audience to go as crazy as possible and crowd surf as much as possible. Little did we know how insane it was about to get...
One girl got into a donut and crowdsurfed for a little bit — all is ok with that, nothing special. Then, about six people were all in "donuts" as the crowd moshed and danced through the set. The real highlight was when one of the guitarists jumped into a donut from the stage and played a four-minute guitar solo while in a donut.
An added bonus to this whole set was when the crowd got to watch someone fall out of the crowd surf and fall back into the depths of the people standing. It's something you will rarely find at a festival set these days, with all the safety precautions and whatnot.
Diarrhea Planet also closed with a cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya" that was loud, fast and blistering to the crowd. Everyone I encountered at this set had a sort of grin on their face that they couldn't wipe away, and it climaxed with the closing cover from Outkast, who is also performing at Hangout on Sunday.
It was the most entertaining set of the weekend for me, and I will not miss another festival set from them. They bring the party. Don't let their name stray you to something else, you want to see this.
Best Guilty Pop Pleasure Set: TEGAN AND SARA
The party continues. And goes to another level. Matt and Kim's onstage antics are above and beyond anyone else. I'm talking twerking, jumping in the crowd, jumping on top of drum sets and keyboards, jumping in more random place - basically just turning the stage into their own music playground. Awesome set.
Set with the most people on drugs: THE FLAMING LIPS
Well, I talked with a couple of people during this set that willingly told me they were tripping on acid and set The Flaming Lips was the best set they'd ever seen. Take that as you will. The inclusion of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was a highlight, and seemed to fit the current state of mind of the crowd. Wayne Coyne and crew delivered another great performance.
Loudest set of the weekend: MODEST MOUSE
The set was surreal to shoot from the photo pit. The front row went ballistic when Isaac Brock and crew jumped on stage. This was one of those sets where I was actually shaking afterwards because it was so great.
MVPS of Hangout: MOON TAXI
Moon Taxi stepped up with back-to-back sets when Chance the Rapper had to cancel his Saturday night set on the Red Bull Stage.
Get this: the first set was comprised of Rage Against the Machine cover songs, dubbed as People of the Sun. The designated area for the crowd was closed off because too many people were trying to get in for the set. They delivered. Mimicking Zach de la Rocha's vocals perfectly, lead singer Trevor Terndrup had a commanding presence over the audience.
Their second set was not dry of energy either, as the band played a full set of originals, culminating in a personal favorite, "Mercury." Their jam band fused with a rhythmic sound and soaring vocals make Moon Taxi a festival band to watch for the next few years. No doubt in my mind that they will be playing larger stages and have better set times. A great surprise set that everyone was getting down to.
DJ who drew the biggest crowd at the Boom Boom Tent: PRETTY LIGHTS
Derek Vincent (Pretty Lights) performed as lights swirled above the sunglasses-at-night-wearing-crowd and the bass drops were crushing to a point where you could hardly stand still. And, if you were standing still during a Pretty Lights set, what's wrong with you? Get those feet shufflin'! A lot of the crowd from The Killers immigrated to the Pretty Lights set, as the Boom Boom Tent kept the party going for an extra 45 minutes.
Best sing-a-long of the day: THE KILLERS
Best sing-a-long of Saturday belonged to the Killers with their Hot Fuss track "All These Things That I've Done." Hearing an entire beach full of dedicated fans chanting back the ever-famous line "I Got Soul, but I'm Not a Soldier" was surreal -truly euphoric music moment.
Hangout Saturday closed with an immaculate fireworks display behind the main stage and many overheard personal karaoke sessions of songs from The Killers that the crowd couldn't let go of as they were walking out of the venue.
Best surprise of the weekend: GET HITCHED AT HANGOUT
There was a guy that proposed on the beach right in front of a sign that said "Get Hitched at Hangout" that I happened to catch. That was pretty damn good timing for me to be there. Festival-goers could get married for real or just for the weekend. The "weekend marriages" at the beach gazebo brought a good laugh as a preacher performed faux wedding rituals and cleverly interchanging crucial marriage components such as "in drunkenness and in hangover" and "from here until the end of OutKast on Sunday evening."
Best drunk food of the day: SPICY PIE
The Happy Waitress slice, specifically. Greasy. Sausage, pepperoni and onion. I know that Spicy Pie will be at a number of other festivals throughout the summer, so definitely make it a point to eat their instead of the other generic pizza stands.
People of Hangout:
I wouldn't count on that inflatable duck to do much life saving. Party saving, perhaps?
Couches made of sand...
Living the VIP life!
Inflatable tube wars!!