Live From Hangout Music Festival 2011: Day 2
- Article by: Libby Funke, Photo by: Brian J. Waters of Lightning 100
- Posted: 05/24/2011
As we gear up for day two of Hangout Fest, I peruse the lineup and the day’s activities: Xavier Rudd, Minus the Bear, Big Gigantic, The Avett Brothers and Foo Fighters are just a few of the solid lineup. I begin to think it’s conceivable that day two could be even better than day one.
The weather is again picture perfect when we meet at the entrance by the oversized chairs and point our compass toward Xavier Rudd. I’ve heard several of his songs on Pandora, along with pleasant comments and reviews, so I’m pumped to see this guy up close.
As we walk into the Boom Boom tent, I’m curious about a long, wooden instrument I see on stage. “What’s that?” I ask. “It’s a didgeridoo,” my boyfriend tells me. “Oh,” I remark, still slightly clueless. Then I find out that there are seven instruments in all that accompany this group’s vocals. Oh, and I also found out that it’s a one-man band.
As it turns out, Rudd is the perfect start to the second day. With remnants of last night’s party wearing thin, Rudd brings the festival screaming back to life with his folksy, reggae blues mix. He writes about environmentalism and socially conscious music. Born in Australia, his accent comes through much stronger as he talks to the crowd packed inside Boom Boom.
Rudd is dressed for the beach in a cutoff shirt, multicolored headband—it’s keeping strays out of his eyes—and a huge grin showing through his shaggy beard. I think back about the All-Stars, Grace and Widespread and how they each brought a posse on stage to perform and blow everyone out of their seats. Rudd had the same effect, but he did it flying solo.
When he added a harmonica to the mix, I laughed to myself and thought, “Now he’s just showing off.” Most of his music is instrumental, and aside from the limited engagements when he is talking to his fans, everyone sings along with him like backup artists who have been touring with him for years. It is truly impressive. Rejuvenated by the cool AC pumping through the tent, we head out to meet the rest of the afternoon.
After catching some of Minus the Bear at the Surf Style tent, we begin to long for the ocean. It isn’t long until we leave the confines of the festival, walk around the chain link fence and greet the ocean by diving into the brisk water. We have about an hour to kill, and we can hear Cee Lo Green in the background.
At that point, I heard old school classic rock music coming from the Hangout Stage, and I remember thinking that it didn’t sound anything like Cee Loo Green, but I didn’t think any more about it ... for a while. (Side note, if you’re ever wondering why a band doesn’t sound like themselves, don’t shrug it off and move on.)
As we re-enter the festival, it’s decision time. Within the next three hours, four bands are playing—each one falling onto someone’s favorites list. It’s go-it-alone time—seven and a half hours from Nashville with no cell phone service, no shoes, 35,000 people deep and with $10 in my pocket, I decide to head out halfway through Primus to catch The Avett Brothers—a total favorite of mine.
Avett prove to be worth the walk; the Brothers put on an amazing show, and the sun sets behind the Hangout Stage just as they go into “January Wedding.” Smiling, I turn in the opposite direction to sing to myself and head back toward Primus. As I walk off to the sound of The Avett Brothers, a girl shouts from the crowd, “I love you!” Immediately returning the gesture, Seth Avett calls out, “I love you too!”
The crowd laughs and Seth continues with his anecdote, admonishing guys that, when a girl tells you she loves you, you have to say it right back. The last thing a girl wants to hear is thank you. “I love you, too,” he says, demonstrating the preferred response. I can’t see the grin on his face, but I don’t doubt it was there.
I head back to Surf Style where The Flaming Lips are setting up. Trying not to step on people as I head to the front, I realize that my spot, my things and my friends are gone. This is the best and worst place to be alone. Luckily the story ends well, although we left daytime Flaming Lips show early. I know—gasp.
I’m going to preface the next artist with this: I know all of their songs and they have a slew of radio hits, but I never had a desire to see them in concert. The Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl changed all that for me with two stories between songs. The stories are a big piece of what sells me on a concert. There’s just something about the way a band interacts with and feeds off a crowd.
The Foo Fighters open with their newest hits, which I don’t really know, and I almost stop paying attention until “My Hero” starts ringing out, and who doesn’t know that song? I sing loudly and enjoy the relief of a blanket as Grohl finishes and asks 35,000 people, “How many have seen us in concert?” About two-thirds of the crowd yell like crazy as I stay quiet. Grohl nods his head, and I think he’s pleased with the response.
Then he asks the crowd, “How many haven’t seen us? Be honest.” I’ve always been an honest person, so it’s my turn to yell like crazy. I wonder how he’s going to respond to about one third of the audience who has never seen them in concert. He pauses and continues, “Sixteen fucking years. What do I have to do? Drive to your fucking house and pick you up?” I die laughing. He has me hooked, and it’s then and there that I lean in and tell my boyfriend I will totally see these guys in concert again.
Grohl tells great stories throughout the evening. The band plays all the fan favorites, but my favorite part is when he talks about his afternoon. He compliments the crowd and says we have a great thing down here. He says he began his day in the ocean, had a great (and I’m sure lavish) lunch and then got a call from the Hangout organizers. It sounds like the call went something like this:
Organizer: Hey Dave, we have a question for you. You have any plans early today?
Grohl: Well I just finished swimming in the ocean, had a great lunch and I’m thinking about going back to the beach.
Organizer: Well, Cee Lo Green hasn’t shown up yet, and we need someone to play the Hangout Stage until he gets here.
Grohl: No fucking problem. Let me get my band together.
I fade back into the moment earlier today when we were walking back to the festival from the beach and listening to the classic rock covers. It dawns on me that the Foo Fighters gave an impromptu concert for fans wanting to watch Cee Lo Green. Then, about halfway through, Green joined the Foo Fighters on stage and they brought down the house. All expression leaves my face as I realize the band that didn’t sound like Cee Lo Green really wasn’t him at all.