The Weeknd, Jason Isbell, Moon Taxi Highlight Opening Day at Hangout

May 21, 2016

Hangout Festival kicked off in Gulf Shores, AL yesterday but not before storms rolled in overnight and damaged some of the property. The bad weather continues throughout much of the morning and early afternoon, prompting a lengthy weather delay that cut into the music schedule. Headliner The Weeknd tweeted Friday afternoon that his entire set design was destroyed in the storm but that his performance would still go on. From the stage, he also revealed that he was advised to pull out of the festival. 

Once the music got rolling, it was LA rock vets Silversun Pickups who hit the main stage around 5 PM just as the crowd had a chance to make its way onto the beach. The punky, melodic set, mostly comprised of tunes from their latest effort Better Nature, showcased the group’s precision as a quartet. One of the highlights from the band’s set included “Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)” led by bassist Nikki Monninger, who was a crowd favorite throughout the set. 

Elsewhere on the beach, up and coming Nashville rockers Bully, led by Alicia Bognanno, took to the smaller BMI Stage situated right on the edge of the ocean for a “you saw them when” set. The throwback punk rock sound will surely land the group on a larger stage in the years to come. 

As the night progressed, Big Boi returned to Hangout after headlining with Andre 3000 and OutKast in 2014, this time teaming up with Phantogram as a part of their Big Grams collaboration. To mark the occasion, the group mashed up OutKast’s “Miss Jackson” with their own “Mouthful of Diamonds.” From the stage, Big Boi also announced that not only is there another Big Grams album on the way, but also new Big Boi and Phantogram solo records. 

Back on the main stage, Hangout vets Moon Taxi played their second set of the weekend after performing as their Rage Against the Machine alter egos “People of the Sun.” The Nashville rockers hit the stage for an hour-long set (all set times were abbreviated due to weather) played to a massive crowd that saw huge singalongs in tunes like “Morocco.” The group surprised with a laid-back, brooding cover of “All Along the Watchtower” before rolling into their energetic closing of “Red Hot Lights,” “All Day All Night” and “The New Black.” 

Over on the more intimate Surf Stage, hometown hero Jason Isbell hit the stage for a set he said he was “looking forward to for a long, long time.” Of course, the set was full of stories from his time in Alabama, recounting tales of shooting pistols out of his apartment window during his time living in Sheffield, AL. Isbell mixed in tunes from his latest Something More Than Free as well as his landmark solo debut in Southeastern. The set closed with a sweet and appropriate cover of Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” 

As the night wrapped up, Alabama Shakes followed Isbell on the Surf Stage with a set of their favorites along with The Revivalists, who highlighted the BMI Stage and representing the lone New Orleans act on the bill. In the meantime, Walk the Moon was over on the main stage prepping the crowd for The Weeknd with their hits like “Shut Up and Dance” and “Anna Sun.” 

The night closed, as most hoped it would, with The Weeknd’s headlining set. Marking the R&B star’s first full show of 2016, The Weeknd took to the stage for a ferocious, high-energy set that included nearly all of his hits as well as his past collaboration with Drake, Beyonce, Future and others. The set closed with three of his biggest songs, the Fifty Shades of Grey track “Earned It” and the 1-2 punch of his biggest hits, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills.” 

Hangout Fest resumes today. 

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