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Hangout Fest 2013 Super-Review: Friday (MSM, YHT, MM)

27 May 2013

written by Mod Mobilian

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Hangout Fest 2013 Friday Super-Review

 

 

You Hear This – Chris K. Davidson

 

I grabbed a few tacos at a nearby stand and an energy-boosting blue Red Bull and headed straight for the largest stage, the Hangout Stage, for a performance by My Morning Jacket’s frontman, the legendary Jim James. He opened up with a full dose of his newest solo record, Regions of Light and Sound of God, playing the first track on the album, “State of the Art- A.E.I.O.U”. He mostly sang and danced around the stage enthusiastically in a three-piece suit, occasionally holding a golden pig. However, when he did pick up his recognizable flying-V guitar, he proved himself as being of America’s “guitar gods” more than once. A simple, but potent mixture of drums, bass and keyboards/piano drove most of the songs, but the backing band provided a solid foundations for James’ piercing vocals and meandering guitar solos. He also proved his prowess by stopping a song in the middle with his hand outstretched while the audience held its breath, then bringing it all back to thunderous applause.

Next up, I headed to Grizzly Bear at the Chevrolet on the complete opposite side of the festival. I quickly became accustomed to walking back and forth between the two stages as all the acts on my list played one or the other. Grizzly Bear’s performance was the worth the walk. The Brooklyn quartet excitedly stated that this festival was their Alabama debut and fans of the band could not be happier. They wasted no time in playing a handful of songs from Shields before launching into “Two Weeks”, more than likely their most well-known song. What impressed me most about the band was that, though they had a definite frontman, each member sang lead vocals on one or two songs and the band’s harmonies were impeccable. Hopefully, they enjoyed the crowd enough that they will make a return to the state sooner than later.

Back across the beach, I worked my way through the energetic crowd to get as close as I could for Boston’s Passion PitManners in 2009 introduced me to the act, specifically the catchy “Little Secrets”, but it was last year’s Gossamer that solidified their reputation as a thunderous live act and kings of “indietronica”. Higher range vocals, frenzied instrumentation and an incredible lighting display dazzled the crowd, who held onto every lyric and chord change. I knew I had found the musical equivalent of Red Bull and after a spirited rendition of their biggest single, “Take A Walk”, I left and ran back to the Chevrolet Stage to catch my most anticipated band of the night.

As most people like me had done, I found the Shins through the Garden State soundtrack back in the mid-2000s when Beach Boys-harmony revival was all the rage. The Shins stayed interesting enough to evolve and have remained one of my favorite bands. Their set at Hangout played well to the fan in me as they performed “Caring Is Creepy” and “Australia” back to back and continued with songs from every album that they had released. James Mercer continuously thanked the festival goers. The band rarely plays Alabama, so this in itself was an incredible experience.

Finally, everyone either left for home or headed straight back to the Hangout Stage for Kings of Leon. Most fell into the latter as I tried to squeeze through the crowd and my best spot was still 100 yards away. Nevertheless, KOL rocked it with a two-hour set that spanned their career with “California Waiting”, “Revelrie”, “Fans”, “Knocked Up” and “Radioactive”. And of course, they played their 2008 and 2009 colossal hits, “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” to joyful cheering.

The day was incredible…and only just the beginning.

 

 

My Spilt Milk – Scarlett Rayner

 

Jim James

The front man from My Morning Jacket rocked the Hangout Stage with a performance that could easily be the best of the entire day. His five-person band played with a passion that is becoming rare among bands, and each member thrived off of one another’s energy, playing each note with a hint of respect for the other. James’ lengthy hair draped over his face as he switched between the saxophone and electric guitar. Before closing the set, James turned toward the drummer Dave Givan as they both played their instruments in a harsh but melodic way. If you did not know that this was not My Morning Jacket, you would think they were playing a new album instead of material from James’ solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Hip-hop vocalist Macklemore and DJ Ryan Lewis brought a breathe of fresh air to the Hangout, as they will most festivals this summer. The tent the duo played was absolutely packed with the flow of anxious viewers flooding into the street. During their second song, Macklemore jumped off of the stage and onto the bar in front the crowd, shouting the lyrics to his song as the crowd went crazy and security guards scrambled to yank the rapper down. This moment set the tone for the performance of screaming fans with an equally enthusiastic performer.

The group played its breakthrough “Thrift Shop” third in the set, which was by far the highlight of the performance. Most of the crowd sang along word for word. Macklemore sported a furry jacket that someone passed him from the crowd that resembled the one he wears in his music video. As he was putting on the jacket he said, “This is what I call an Alabama Cheetah. Can I put it on?”

Passion Pit

Next I took a walk over to Passion Pit. The synthpop group played a few of their hits including “Take a Walk,” “Got Carried Away,” and “Sleepyhead,” which sounded far better live. That wasn’t expected. While we’re used to listening to sound that is degraded as it’s delivered as an mp3, it’s still usually better than live sound. Friday, Passion Pit delivered with powerful economy and clarity.

Kings of Leon

Sentimentality rolled throughout the crowd, partly for Kings of Leon’s reunion and partly for the close of day one. The group played a mix of their old hits to new songs including “California Waiting”, “Closer”, “Revelry”, “Back Down South,” and “Sex on Fire.” The band seemed more comfortable than ever onstage, and singer Caleb Followill showed no signs of the demons that brought about an onstage meltdown in 2011. Before they finished their performance, fireworks lit up the sky, bringing a smile to everyone’s face on the beach.

 

More videos from Mod Mobilian:

Ryan Bingham

Toots & the Maytals

The Weeks

Banditos


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