Tom Petty’s Dead Tribute, Gov’t Mule, Bassnectar and More Highlight Hangout’s Second Day
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers closed The Hangout’s second day with a loose, jammy two-hour set set that strayed from the band’s usual “best of” performance. The Gulf Shores, AL festival’s second full day of music also featured Gov’t Mule, The Black Crowes, Dirty Projectors, Bassnectar, The Roots and many others.
As they prepare for multi-night runs in New York and Los Angeles that are slated to feature b-sides and deep cuts, the Heartbreakers shuffled their setlist last night. Like their tour kick off in Evansville, IN last week, the band opened their performance with a cover of The Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” before moving into the Full Moon Fever tracks “Love Is a Long Road” and “I Won’t Back Down.” The rest of Petty’s show mixed his trademark greatest hits with songs reflective of the expansive, more blues-based sound he’s explored since 2010’s Mojo. He also offered some alternate takes on a few signature tunes, especially a new piano-heavy arrangement of “Learning to Fly.” For the second show in a row, Petty revisited his Traveling Wilburys days by busting out “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” a song he co-wrote with Bob Dylan. He also offered a take on Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” which the Heartbreakers released as part of their The Live Anthology album. The evening’s biggest bust out was a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” deep into the night. Petty debuted the American Beauty classic during five intimate, cover-heavy shows at San Francisco, CA’s The Fillmore in early 1997, but he has not performed “Friend of the Devil” since one of that run’s final shows, February 3, 1997. Petty also peppered his set with a number of anthems, including “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Free Fallin’,” “Refugee,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and a show-closing “American Girl.”
Petty capped off a busy day of music at The Hangout. Gov’t Mule played a massive show on the festival’s namesake stage that opened with a run from “Bad Little Doggie” into” “Lola Leave Your Light On” and included a choice segue from “Broke Down On The Brazos” into “Tributary Jam.” The Black Crowes turned in a greatest hits set that included “She Talks to Angels,” “Thorn in My Pride,” “Remedy” and a version of “Handle to Handle” that gently moved into Joe South’s “Hush.” New guitarist Jackie Greene took several of the band’s signature solos, and the Robinson Brothers ended their set by embracing onstage. Dirty Projectors also won over new fans with their Afro-pop-influenced brand of indie rock.
Hip-hop and electronica ruled the festival’s smaller stages. Public Enemy drew a capacity crowd to the Boom Boom Tent. Rapper and MTV personality Sway Calloway hosted the performance and bantered with Flavor Flav onstage. Their performance ended with a lengthy and spirited rally against racism.
EDM star Bassnectar drew the weekend’s biggest crowd to the Chevrolet Stage, functioning almost as the day’s second headliner. The screen and light’s from his stage show illuminated the festival’s white beaches. DFA electro-rock band Holy Ghost! used the festival to debut a few songs from their forthcoming studio album while The Roots continued to prove that they are far more than a hip hop act with their wide range of covers and funk interludes. Kendrick Lamar turned out to be the day’s most controversial performer, using the first 20-minutes of his 75-minute festival slot to bring fans onstage to rap while he waited in the tent’s wings.
Elsewhere, roots music continued to thrive. The Bright Light Social Hour charged through a set of authentic blues-rock and jam-heavy dance music, Kingston Springs covered The Band’s “Don’t Do It” with the help of a horn section and Shovels and Rope continued their festival ascent with a mainstage performance. Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers previewed songs from their forthcoming third album with a set on the Chevrolet Stage and stopped by the Relix booth for a tiny, acoustic pop-up show. Slightly Stoopid, whose reggae-jam-punk-funk sound is also an apt descriptor for the festival’s overall vibe, also stopped by the Relix booth for an autograph session.
Even as The Hangout’s official festivities closed with a fireworks display after Petty’s set, music continued on right outside the festival’s gates: Lance Herbstrong played a surprise mini-set in the festival’s bus line as fans waited to get home.