BLANK’s Hangout Music Festival 2015 Review: Friday

Why We Get Up Early

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

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This ex-James Brown impersonator not only knows how to put on an energetic and emotional live show, but also how to connect with his audience on an intimate level. He completes the entire checklist necessary for funk/soul artists to survive in the modern music world: a powerful voice, killer dance moves, a synchronized backing band, and at least one wardrobe change per performance. The very diverse crowd sang every word to “(The World) Is Going Up in Flames”. The song “Confusion” may be one of his best, as his voice reaches levels of emotion rarely heard. Truly, it is emotion that makes him such an unique artist, as he reaches unprecedented levels in every action he takes, and every word he sings. At the end of this set, Bradley came down and hugged over 50 people, sticking around long after his set, with tears in his eyes, to connect with those who love him, and allow him to do what he loves. You couldn’t ask for a better way to begin a festival. – MM

Well, That Was Fun

DJ Windows 98

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With the announcement of Win Butler’s DJ set this year under the best DJ name ever, Windows 98, came speculation into what exactly this set would entail. Although we had some ideas, it did not prepare us for what we were walking into. Along with Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Butler kept our feet moving, blasting through different samples from Kanye West to Beck to Big Tymers. It’s obvious that Butler is a fan of all styles and eras of rap and hip-hop, and finds excitement in using these songs to create intricate and innovative music. Preservation Hall Jazz Band brings another level to everything they are involved with, and this performance was no exception. Trust me. Until you hear a horn section, or saxophone solo for that matter, on top of Q-Tip’s “Vivrant Thing”, you won’t know the level I’m speaking of. At one point, Butler used the “Wally World” sample and the entire band was jumping and singing. Simply put, the show was fun, which is exactly what it was meant to be. The crowd couldn’t stand still, but neither could anyone on stage. This set strengthened Hangout’s reputation of being creative and collaborative year after year. – MM

Rock and Roll

J Roddy Walston & The Business

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There may be nothing better in music than when pure rock and roll meets intelligent, relatable lyrics. J Roddy Walson & The Business are just that. The Salt Life stage is perfect for this band, and this area (outside of the Hangout restaurant) often projects the feel of seeing bands in a small venue. This was definitely the case with this performance, with the energy of this small area impressive and intoxicating. It’s easy to see that Walston & The Business have grown tremendously, both as performers and musicians. Songs such as “Take It As it Comes” and “Brave Man’s Death” showcase both the band’s recent popularity, and their individual abilities as rock musicians. My personal favorite track of the set was “Heavy Bells”, where Walston & company had the the entire crowd moving, but not the same. Some were dancing, some were jumping, some were head-banging, and some were just screaming the lyrics as loud as possible. That is what makes J Roddy Walston & The Business so intriguing and unique. It’s rock and roll for everyone. – MM

Headliner

Foo Fighters

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The reason for the energy and uniqueness of Friday night’s headlining set is simple and apparent: Dave Grohl and company love the Hangout Music Festival. Grohl mentioned their 2011 performances twice, reminiscing of their impromptu cover set, and calling it “one of the funnest f-ing times of our lives”. The sincerity of this love for this one-of-a-kind festival was evident in the performance. From the beginning, Grohl was talkative in warning the crowd that they had a lot of songs to play, and he wasn’t kidding. The set began with a tribute to the late BB King, covering the Mose Allison song “Young Man Blues”. Their ability to captivate such a large crowd with a lesser-known blues cover perfectly reflects the reputation Foo Fighters have worked so long to develop. The band jolted out all of their biggest tracks, with highlights including Monkey Wrench and Times Like These, which had the massive crowd singing every word. Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined the Foo for “In the Clear”, the New Orleans-written track off of the new album, Sonic Highways, and Congregation (the Nashville track) may end up becoming a staple of the Foo’s live performances.

It’s easy to forget the passion and respect the band has for the history of music, but this live performance is one of the ways in which they show their gratitude. The highlight of this performance was their cover of “Stay With Me” by The Faces, in which they brought out Cory Bowles and Clay Cook from Zac Brown Band to accompany them on. This was one of the best covers I have ever witnessed, ending with the introduction of each member, with everyone on stage getting time to show off their individual skills. After “Stay With Me”, the Foo continued with covers of the Rolling Stones’ “I Miss You” and Queen/David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”. Foo Fighters are a headliner in every sense of the word and have never been a disappointed. This 2 hour, 10 minute performance earned a special place in the Hangout record books, and won’t soon be forgotten. – MM

Additional Acts

deap valley crowd

Deap Valley

Saturday

Sunday

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