Headstash On The Road: The Hangout Day 2
- By Brandon Chiat and Andrew Collins
- Published on May 20, 2012
The more time you spend at the third installment of The Hangout Music and Arts Festival, the more you realize that it has fully embraced the small nuances of festival culture. The community of strangers growing into fast friends, the laidback vibe of carefree summer days and of course, exceptional music performances are all commonplace.
A great music festival brings out the best of the artists on stage. We saw that with Umphrey’s McGee last night and the same can be said for the bands that graced the stage on Day 2.
Artists like Gary Clark, Jr., the Austin-based blues phenom, who is single-handedly breathing new life into the blues genre, were incredible. Sultry, sensual and raw, Clark is one part Stevie Ray Vaughn, one part Jimi Hendrix and all parts pure blues embodied.
Originals like the powerful “Big Lights” were delivered with the same authenticity as the blues standard, “Catfish Blues.” Whoever thinks the glory days of blues are well behind us clearly hasn’t heard Gary Clark, Jr. do his thing.
The Hangout has never sold itself as a pure jam festival, strategically straddling the line and booking bands that belong to many different circles. Then, you have a band like Dispatch.
The staunchly independent trio based their aesthetic, sound and business model on the principles of the jam band. Yet their mainstream success and radio friendly singles have thrusted the Boston based threesome squarely in the mainstream.
So, like The Hangout, Dispatch has one foot on both sides. This makes them a logical choice for a late afternoon set. Given only an hour, Dispatch raced through a cross-section of their most well-known hits.
Opening with “Time Served,” the band jolted the crowd into a steady groove while songs like the inspiring “Out Loud,” which featured a brief segue into Simon and Garfunkel’s classic “Mrs. Robinson,” had the crowd singing along word for word.
As the hour turned, scores of heady fans left the Main Stage to position themselves for what was arguably the best headliner of the night, jam luminaries The String Cheese Incident.
Opening with an SCI staple in “Rosie,” fans new and old lifted the sandy festival grounds to new heights with energy that had yet to be matched by any set over the first two days. The peaking sun was shining bright on the backs of all festivalgoers as everyone was treated to glorious renditions of all things Cheese.
SCI serenaded the crowd with “Joyful Sound,” which then launched into a raunchy EOTO jam. To close the first set, the band paid tribute to The Dead with a bluegrass-inspired rendition of “I Know You Rider.”
As the sun went down, the lights, energy and sound continued to elevate the crowd. The second set was delivered alongside a breathtaking light display that played off the natural ambiance of the Gulf.
Cheese’s rhythm section of Michael Travis and Jason Hann thundered into the second set alone before the rest of the band joined in for a flawless take on the bouncy hit, “Rollover.”
Highlights of the second set included a primal “BollyMunster,” that saw Michael Kang take over the jam. Bill Nershi was in tune with the crowd and looked to be having more fun than anyone as he was completely committed to delivering an epic rendition of “Jellyfish” that kept his jolly face shining bright.
“Colorado Bluebird Sky” closed out the second set, and the show. A song that is as tender as it is heart-racing, “Bluebird” incorporated a mind-blowing fireworks display that accented the rising fervor of the final jam.
String Cheese was followed in short order by rock legends, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Los Angeles based outfit blasted through a two-hour set that included a litany of their most well-known songs.
The Hangout Music Festival once again juxtaposed a superb jam band in String Cheese, with their expressive soundscapes and textures, against the aural onslaught of The Chili Peppers. The latter’s brief, album length songs stood in stark contrast to the extensive and explorative jams of SCI.
This, is in a nutshell, is the appeal of The Hangout – different styles and backgrounds, both in the artists and the festival attendees, meshing together.
Stay tuned for coverage of the final day of The Hangout, featuring Dave Matthews Band, The Flaming Lips, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Michael Franti and Spearhead and more.
For more information including the complete schedule check out The Hangout's official website.