It was a weekend highlighted by perfection on numerous levels. The Hangout Music Festival rolled into Gulf Shores and brought a multitude of friends with it.
The sonic gods looked favorably upon their minions. The festival was blessed with four days of mild temperatures and bright sunshine, which is a miracle when one considers the area’s recent foul weather.
Hangout Fest has always been an event that generates an overall positive vibe, and this year’s installment was no exception. The Hangout populace was entertained by a plethora of modern music icons and introduced to an equal number of new bands.
The pre-party evoked a carefree spirit that reverberated throughout the entire weekend. Wolfmother made a triumphant debut at Hangout Fest 2014. This powerful trio from Down Under raged furiously through their set. Wolfmother produced a gargantuan sound that harkened to the primordial days of metal. Front man Andrew Stockdale regaled the crowd with their hit song “Woman” as well as B-sides such as “Love Train” and “Joker & the Thief.”
Girl Talk definitely made their presence known at the pre-party. This EDM dynamo mixed and mingled a vast selection of samples and pumped them steady into a beat-hungry crowd. His delivery was intense and non-stop, which is just how the audience wanted it. Girl Talk’s stage set-up was equally interesting with a pair of feet and hands towering over the crowd while an overload of eye-candy graced the backdrop.
Ozomatli introduced the crowd to Friday’s line-up. This group brought their trademark mix of Latin and rock. Their set was interwoven with energetic Latin tones, with rolling grooves adding perspective to their festival repertoire.
Atlanta punk gods Black Lips were an interesting addition to the Hangout Fest. For those who have ever witnessed their show at a small venue like Head on the Door in Montgomery, they know this group’s live show can be a raucous experience. However, it seemed as if the beach had a calming effect on Black Lips. Their Hangout Fest set seemed a little more subdued, but it was a grand sight to see that this group has exchanged the smoky confines of the Atlanta underground scene for the big stage.
Balkan Beat Box could be considered one of Friday’s standout bands. This group returned to Hangout Fest for midday explosion of exotic sounds mixed with dance beats. Their vertigo of gypsy, world beat and electronica pulled in a multitude to the Hangout Stage. Ori Kaplan’s wailing saxophone moved smoothly through the band’s set. With the crowd bouncing and gyrating at their will, Balkan Beat Box dominated Saturday’s line-up and personified the spirit of Hangout Fest.
When it came to Diarrhea Planet, curiosity reigned supreme. With a name like that, there were many who ventured to the Palladia Stage on Saturday just to experience this band. Their music was punk revival with their incorporation of old school techniques.
Modest Mouse could be considered not only Saturday’s standout but also the darling of Hangout Fest 2014. This is a band that has managed to enjoy the mainstream while keeping their attitude and music in the underground. This eclectic group performed a set just for their dedicated fans with songs such as “Dramamine,” “Dark Center of the Universe” and “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes.” Their songs were delivered with such a level of talent and emotion it will be hard for fans to forget. The band ended their set 10 minutes early with fans left begging for an encore. But Modest Mouse left their crowd wanting more, which just added to the band’s mystique.
The temperatures increased on Sunday, along with the anticipation for the final day’s line-up. Reignwolf gave new listeners a proper introduction. His fuzzed-out riffs made for one of those rock-and-roll moments that cannot be forgotten. He was also impressed with the festival and promised to play every year.
Capital Cities wrangled one of the weekend’s most impressive crowds. The group began their set with “Kangaroo Court” and brought endless volleys of electro-pop goodness. They also entertained the masses with unexpected covers, such as Prince’s ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
As they day progressed, many were discussing what Outkast would do for their set. Reunited bands sometimes tend to stick to songs that received heavy radio rotation. Dedicated Outkast fans waited patiently to see what this duo would pull from their collection of songs, and they were not disappointed. Big Boi and Andre 3000 chose songs from across their collection and included off-beat favorites such as “SpottieOttieDopalicious” and Outkast connoisseur cuts such as “Hootie Hoo.” Andre 3000 even expanded his verse from UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You).”
Hangout Fest maintains its reputation for being one of the premiere spring/summer music fests. The positive attitude that resonates through the crowd has become one of this event’s most appealing factors. This can definitely be seen on the third day of the festival. A superfest’s third day usually brings weary festivalgoers to the brink, with a breakdown in civility soon to follow.
Even after Outkast, the crowd maintained their social integrity with plenty of smiles to share with each other. For some, these smiles will last in some way, shape or form until next year’s installment.