Day 2 of any music festival can start out kind of rough. Did you stay out until the sun came up partying? Did you overdo it on the drinks? Did you forget to reapply sunscreen? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding “Ugh, oh jeez…yeah, that happened,” but at Hangout Fest the comfort level is so high that it’s easy to get over the festival struggles.
After the festival dies down at night, everyone either walks or hops on shuttles to go back to their hotels. A little regrouping is in order before hitting the late night parties. The bars in Gulf Shores stay open and there’s no one stopping an all night beach party from happening.
My Saturday started out with a highly predictable “Ugh, oh jeez…” moment of reflection. I questioned my life choices and wondered what I had done to deserve this slice of luxury. No matter because a cocktail and the beach were calling my name.
After grabbing some sun and consulting the schedule, I headed over to the Red Bull Sound Select Stage to check out newcomers from Knoxville, TN, The Black Cadillacs. Bluesy, alt-country wrapped up in a raucous indie rock n roll band, these guys played to one of the bigger crowds I’ve seen on that stage all weekend. Expect to see these dudes on bigger stages next year.
Then it was time for the ultimate festival tradition. Not taking selfies in front of the stage (did that, though), not impulse buying festival merch (yeah, did that too) but getting some Spicy Pie! If you’re not familiar, Spicy Pie is a pizza company that sets up at large out door events and makes the best. pizza. ever. Their signature pizza–appropriately named “Spicy Pie”–is a simple concoction of pepperoni, jalapenos and crushed red pepper and it is amazing. But since I’ve been on a veggie kick for awhile, I opted for the meatless variety. I sort of want it for breakfast right now. Don’t judge me.
I spent the next few hours held up at the Chevy Stage. First for Tegan and Sara whose breezy, indie pop filled the beach with good vibes just in time to be ravaged by a Matt & Kim dance party. Maybe the ultimate festival band, Matt & Kim’s high energy live set mixed with DJ-set-just-for-fun had everyone moving and jumping.
Then, back at the Boom Boom Tent, I experienced pure chaos. I’ve been listening to The Bloody Beetroots for a few years, but had no idea what to expect from their live show. These Italians rained down hardstyle electro-house for an unrelenting hour and 15 minutes. Their set up featured a live drummer and two synth racks, one of which housed in a hollowed out grand piano. Classy, Bloody Beetroots, real classy!
In a tough scheduling conflict decision, I opted to catch The Flaming Lips over Fitz & the Tantrums. I still love ya, Fitz, but I couldn’t miss seeing Wayne & crew on the beach at sunset. Always a visually stunning performance, the crowd was treated to about 30 oversized inflatable rubber duckies sent surfing over the crowd. It sounds bizarre, for sure, but something about The Flaming Lips’ stage antics just make sense in the context of their music.
Around 9 p.m. is when my festival instincts really kicked in. There was no way I was missing either The Killers or Pretty Lights who were scheduled for the same time–on the opposite ends of the festival. I weaved my way through a gathering crowd to get up close to see Mr. Flowers and the boys rip through a set of classics and tracks from 2012’s Battle Born. About halfway into their set, I bolted. Fest schedule conflicts is me at my most athletic (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much). I sprinted, dodged hordes of drunk girls and maybe, just maybe stopped at the bar before getting back to the Boom Boom Tent for Pretty Lights.
In my two years at Hangout, I’ve never seen that many people in, near or around that tent. Bodies covered in LED jewelry spilled out of every side of the tent getting down to PL’s funky, electro compositions. Derek Vincent Smith’s set spanned tracks going back to 2008’s Filling Up the City Skies to last year’s A Color Map of the Sun. While he didn’t perform with the Pretty Lights live band last night, his DJ sets are legendary and the production value lives up to the project’s monicker.
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With one day left, Hangout Fest 2014, which sold out about a month out, will go down as legendary. Closing out the fest today is the one and only Outkast. With only a five hour drive separating Gulf Shores from Atlanta, I expect ATLiens to land on the beach promptly at 9 tonight.
Kurt is at Hangout Fest and will probably buy you a piece of Spicy Pie if you ask him on Twitter @theactualkurt