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Published: 2012/05/28
by Ryan Cummings

Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores, AL 5/17-20

Photo by Erika Goldring

The sandy white beaches of the Gulf Coast of Alabama hosted 35,000 music fans, there to dance and sing along to three days of beloved live music. The sunny beachfront atmosphere is one of a kind as the Hangout provided flawless weather conditions for a weekend music festival paradise. The location is not the only thing that sets this fest apart from others. As most other summer festivals are limited to camping, The Hangout refers fans to the local condominiums and beachfront rental homes for a more comfortable festival experience, with all the amenities of home. Also provided are convenient shuttles to transport everyone to and from the Hangout haven.

The Thursday Night Kickoff Party launched the weekend off with sets from Boombox and Big Gigantic, in the covered tent of the XBOX stage. The XBOX stage featured mostly live electronic bands and DJs throughout the weekend. Huge LED panels, elaborate visualizer screens and spotlights filled the stage. Boombox didn’t play many of their popular album hits, instead choosing to mesmerize fans with their everlasting groovy and funky jams. Big Gigantic was without their new lighting rigs, but still brought the house down with hits from Nocturnal as well as a few of their popular covers like “Get Em’ High” and “Notorious Thugs.”

For most in attendance, Alabama Shakes was the opening set on Friday, the first official day of music at the festival. Their vocalist, Brittany Howard, amazed the band’s fans and those unfamiliar with the group alike with her soulful voice. “Hang Loose” from the newly released album Boys and Girls was the first track that they played, projecting their true southern rock style. They continued with “Hold On” and several others off the new album.

Umphrey’s Mcgee continued on the Letting Go stage. Their set featured several fan favorites including “All In Time” and “Puppet String.” Following Umphrey’s set, STS9 played to a packed tent, giving fans a break from the hot sun and replacing it with some bass in your face dance music. Sound Tribe opened with “Activation.”

Day 1 came to a finale with Jack White playing half of his set with The Buzzards and the other with The Peacocks, his all female band. He played several songs from his days with the Raconteurs, the White Stripes and The Dead Weathers as well as a few from his new solo album Blunderbuss including “Love Interruption” and “Sixteen Candles.” “Seven Nation Army,” was his last song, leaving the crowd begging for more.

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