Each year, Gulf Shores, AL, turns into the ultimate beach party. This year was no exception.
Hangout Music Festival 2017 was no doubt a success when it comes to good vibes and good times. Then again, how could not have a good time at the beach?
This year’s line-up included heavy hitters Mumford and Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Chance The Rapper, and Phoenix (replacement for Frank Ocean, who cancelled another festival appearance for this coming week at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain). Other notable Hangout sets came from Young the Giant, Weezer, and our personal favorite Lawrence.
Phoenix took to the main stage Friday night. We had hopes that their set-up would resemble that of what we saw at Shaky Knees the week prior – a slanted mirror suspended to reflect the stage below, with the floor projecting visual effects. While the mirrored backdrop was lacking, their energy and finesse were not.
It was a race against time and the encroaching weather for Twenty One Pilots as they hit the stage Saturday night. A set highlight was when MUTEMATH joined TOP for “Tear in My Heart” and “Lane Boy.” TOP managed to get one and a half more songs in before the sound was cut by the festival during “Car Radio” due to the inclement weather and all attendees were told to get to shelter.
One of the best, if not the best, set of the weekend went to Mumford and Sons. A mix of old fan favorites from their earlier works (2009’s Sigh No More and 2012’s Babel) were nestled in the setlist along with some sing-a-long anthems from Mumford and Sons’ last album Wilder Mind. Their new (projected) single “Blind Leading the Blind” (first played last October) was fresh and enticing; a sneak peak to what is yet to come. With their thunderous emotional lyrical roars coinciding with melodies of spiritual awakenings, the audience was in awe. As attendees caught their breath from stomping in the sand and jumping around like children, the Alabama night sky lit up with fireworks to mark the end of the weekend.
While there were some gem sets, the remaining performances ranged from lackluster to downright atrocious. One of the worst sets of the weekend was from the peculiar nautical themed rapper Lil Yachty. On stage antics, the absurd amount of “Lil Boat” shoutouts concurring with that awful DJ airhorn sound, and the flat regurgitation of songs made for a quick disbursement of the young crowd.
In comparison to years past, the lineup of Hangout 2017 left much to be desired. Each year it seems we meet more and more attendees who freely claim they aren’t there for the music; they’re just there for the beach party and a vacation. And that’s OK, in a sense…to each their own, right? Whether it’s for the music or not, Hangout keeps doing it right year after year, and that’s apparent with a constant sell-out crowd.
It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.