May of 2014 was a great month. My wife Kellye and I went Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama. May is also Kellye's birthday. Hangout was a lot of fun. I'm no veteran of music festivals, but I've been to Coachella so that SHOULD make me an authority (or hipster douche, you decide).
The lineup was amazing and I was able to see a lot of great bands who were not very well known. The big names are good, but the smaller acts are usually more hungry are playing for some of the largest crowds of their career. Several Nashville based bands were there. Funny how I never see them in Nashville. Here were some of my favorites.
The first group we saw was about my favorite. Empires is a band out of Chicago and their song "How Good Does it Feel" is pretty much everything I love about music.
This one you may have heard, Black Lips. They really rocked it hard and brought a lot of energy.
The Black Keys headlined the first day. Maybe it's something about being outdoors with about 40,000 people on the beach or how far away from the stage we were, but their performance didn't really grab me. This was one of the big bands I wanted to see. Perhaps listening to them at a smaller venue would be better.
Day two was great! Check out this Nashville band. Diarrhea Planet. They are about as unconventional as their name. Six dudes. Eight of them play guitar. Seriously, they have a drummer and the other 5 guys are playing guitar. About 5 of them sing lead. You just gotta see it. The above clip is live.
Another highlight was yet another Nashville band, Moontaxi. I saw them at the 2013 Hangout and enjoyed them. This year, however, they did an entire set of Rage Against the Machine songs! In the clip above, we are about 20 feet from the person filming this. The set was awesome! So full of energy and the crowd really got into it.
One of my wife's favorite bands is Fitz and the Tantrums, who we were lucky enough to see a small club a few years back. They really stepped up their game for the festival crowd. Here they are singing "Moneygrabber" with Daryl Hall.
Saturday night ended with The Killers, which I'd seen three times previously. I'd debated going to see Pretty Lights instead since I was so familiar with The Killers. Due to a gap in start times and a REDONKULOUS crowd we hit the beach for Killers. Same vibe as Friday night with the Keys. It just didn't hit me like I expected. Really I think it was due to us being so far back from the stage.
Last year when I saw Kings of Leon (again more Nashville flavor), it was like watching magic happen. I felt like I was part of an epic rock show. The biggest difference was my proximity to the stage. The Kings headline a lot of festivals in Europe, but seldom in the States, so this was a real treat.
Sunday.......well as ONLY my luck would have it, we didn't see a single band on Sunday. I hardly ever wear contact lenses. When I go to something like this where I'm going to be outside and really want to wear sunglasses, I wear them. If I don't wear them, I just cannot see. So Saturday night we get back to the room and my feet are hurting so bad I just wanted to lie down in a tub full of hot water. I made the mistake of wearing my contacts in the tub. For other people this may not be a problem. For me, they stick to my eyeballs! Not thinking, I tried to take them out immediately upon getting out of the tub. The right lens stuck to my eye like a suction cup and made a loud POP when I got it off! My eye got swollen, red, it watered, and hurt just to open it. It was Wednesday before it got back to anything remotely resembling normal. Ugh...
I had a great time though! We'd like to make Hangout a yearly adventure. The tickets are very affordable. Maybe I'll see you there next year?
EDIT: My Spotify playlist for the bands I saw, and those I wanted to see. My Own Hangout 2014 Playlist.