Downloads Show Reviews Contact Us Merchandise Contests

Hangout Music Festival ~ May 18-20, 2012 ~ Gulf Shores, AL

Hanging Out at Hangout 2012

  As a young man, I can remember driving to Gulf Shores and hitting the end of Highway 59 and facing what used to be the Boardwalk and a small little music shack named The Hangout.  As time passed that boardwalk was closed and along with it The Hangout.  Years passed and businesses opened and closed, some better than others.  But a few years back a newer and better Hangout was created on the improved boardwalk.  A venue that not only feeds and befriends the fine folks who fly through there, but also a music venue and a location for the whole family.  So three years ago when The Hangout Music Festival was introduced to the world, we all thought "Can this work?"  Well, year one fought some crazy weather issues which made some say, "How could it work on the Gulf with weather always changing?"  Year two came and went, and the common folk said "Wow! This may be possible."  So then comes year three with more space and less tickets sold!  Now we are hitting on something.  This fine fest has grown very fast to be probably one of the top Festivals in America, and for good reason.  You can stay in a hotel or a condo.  You are on the breezy beautiful beaches with the sweet Gulf Sun shining on your fine face.  And the lineup is delightful, diverse, and draws together a great group of music-lovers.

  Day one is like most first days of Festivals.  Many people are rolling into town and getting geared up for a great weekend of music and fun.  At 2:15pm we were pleasured by a very strong up and coming band in Alabama Shakes.  And the crowd was stoked for this show.  The advantage of a Music Festival is you get to see bands you wanted to see, and then some that you never thought you would see.  So then the question is:  how do I see these great bands when some play at the same time?  And the answer is:  pace with a little dash of patience and a little help from your friends.  So later in the day we were all blessed with Chris Cornell who walked on stage all alone with a black t-shirt and a row of acoustic guitars behind him.  This was going to be an experience that will keep the chatter going all weekend.  And it did; he was so smooth and raw with songs from our Grunge 90's days.  Let's remember that it is only Friday and we still have to head to the Letting Go Stage for Chicago's very own Umphrey's McGee.  Now Umphrey's played at 2pm last year and brought it like it was 2am.  And this year was not going to be any different.  I mean, opening with a sixteen minute "Miss Tinkles Overture"?  Who does that?  Oh yeah, Umphrey's McGee does.  So from the first note we knew the Letting Go Stage was going to get it and go. After UM we had a 9:30pm appointment with Jack White, and a majority of the Festival Freaks had never seen Jack and his Band before.  I have seen The White Stripes 4 or 5 times previous to this, so it was a major priority for me to catch this show.  A 9-time Grammy Award Winner can usually bring his A game and even a B game, a C game and a lot of other alphabets to boot.  And Jack brought all of the letters to this one, the main ones being B.A.D.A.S.S. Let us all understand something; halfway through the show, Jack White's all Male Band got up and left the stage to only be replaced by all Females.  Now, we the children of the 80's remember Robert Palmer and his all super sexy chic band.  But these gals would, should and could play, and played very well.  What a great way to end the first day of a fabulous Festival. Day 2, what do you have in store for us?  Please be gentle.

   Well "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends" as the boys from E.L.P put it in "Karn-Evil #9."  This Music Fest was not going to be any different.  It was day 2 and we already knew that we were going to end it with The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famers known by most as Red Hot Chili Peppers.  This will be a fine fest day!  So let us back pedal and start from the beginning of the day and we will get to some Peppers later.  As I always do at Festivals, I try to arrive early on Saturday and Sunday to really absorb the great music that has been blessed upon us.  So at 12:15pm, I was back at Letting Go for a true treat with The Devil Makes Three.  And if he did not, then we are all going to Hell, because this good ole picking raw style of southern bluegrass-slash-swing with a twist of soul was the best way to start a Saturday, and glad I did.  After I was brought back to my Nashville roots I wandered to the Chevy Stage for a man that has done so much for me and music.  Randy Newman walked out on stage to a crowd that has known and loved his music for years.  This songwriter sat down with us on his Grand Piano and told us stories through song, and we all sang along.  Man!  I was in heaven on this hot Alabama day on the beaches of Sunny Gulf Shores.  Randy hit on all the nerves with great classic like "Short People", "I Love L.A.", The Toy Story Favorite "You Got a Friend in Me" and the song of slave trade "Sail Away".  Love me some Randy, and I think he liked us a hell of a lot too.  But all day the buzz around the Festival was that a young guitar player was going to be playing at 3:15pm on the Hangout Stage and he was not to be missed.  Well folks, they were right because when Gary Clark Jr. strummed his string the sands turned to glass and the seas opened up for a symphony of sound.  He was amazing, and I can say if it was not for him being at Hangout Music Festival, I may have never been blessed with this guitar giant.  After Gary Clark Jr. we stood our ground for the reunion of Dispatch on the main stage.  People!  They were amazing and have not lost a step in many years.  This band has built themselves on self promotion and allowing the fans to direct the future of their fame.  Now it is time to move and shake back to the Chevy Stage for the Colorado Kids known as String Cheese Incident, aka The Cheese or SCI.  And right from the get-go they wanted to give us a fine show with fine sounds.  It was like a dance party right from the beginning with the nice techno sounds of "Rosie" all the way to an Acoustic Set that included the Traditional tune done so well by the Grateful Dead "I Know You Rider".  I have seen The Dead perform it, but never SCI.  So this was a fine treat for me and many other old and young DeadHeads.  Ok, so it is turning dark and the crowd starts to shimmy through the sand to get back to the Hangout Stage for the Kings of California Rock.  I really do not know what to tell you about the Chili Peppers, but that they are in their prime and bad to the bone.  I mean these guys are tapping on the door of 50 and are in better shape than I was at 20.  They knew we have wanted all day for this show and they hit us with all the great hits. "Scar Tissue" was sick; we also got a classic "Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic" and a very popular "Under the Bridge", By The Way" and "Give it Away".  These guys are amazing to see and have not lost a step in many of those crazy years.  And is this the way we are to end day 2?  Is it possible that we can even have another day?  Well we do, and it is very little sleep away.

   Welcome to Day 3 and the final day of what may easily become one of America’s favorite annual festivals.  Well, we made another early arrival to the venue that will bring us some of the best music for 500 miles.  So we know that this day will end with the Concert Leader, Dave Matthews.  But do not worry your little sunburned head.  We will get there soon enough, but we have plenty of great music to see first.  Being the third day and learning my lesson last year, I will stay in the shade with some sipping suds.  So I parked under the canvases that were built for a nice shady spot. Like Shady Grove, I felt it was time to chill.  It was so nice sitting and soaking up the sounds of Greyboy Allstars featuring Karl Denson who played with his band the previous year.  But Greyboy's are classic Karl and this was going to be a great Sunday early afternoon show.  And boy it really was, with Karl singing and blowing all wood reed instruments; amazing!  As soon as they end I can hear the real raw soul sound of Ms Mavis Staples doing great tunes like "The Weight" that was made popular by The Band and The Staple Singers at The Last Waltz Show.  She was so smooth and I was still solid in the sand and shade.  But now it is time to get in gear because Michael Franti is back for a third year.  As always, Mr. Franti gives the crowd a reason to dance, sing and love.  And we love you Michael!  And so does the Mayor of Gulf Shores.  See, the rumor train said that Hangout made a rule that no Band or Artist would get to perform 2 years in a row, let alone 3.  Well, the rumor choo-choo said that the Mayor of this fine Gulf Coast Town wanted Franti back.  Now, is that exactly the way it happened?  I do not know, but the Mayor did give Michael Franti the Key to the City during his performance on the Kid Stage.  And if you give it a few minutes of thought, he has been so supportive of the Gulf and all the BP issues and The Hangout Festival.  And his latest album has him pictured on the Stage at Hangout the previous year.  He really is a great person and a fine entertainer.  Thank you, Mr. Franti, for loving us so much.  Now time to head back to the amazing Media Area that Hangout majorly upgraded this year, on the second floor of The Phoenix's parking garage that had a constant strong breeze blowing through.  Whoever decided the design of the area did a great job; it was super-duper to say the least.  So I am at the Media Area waiting for Mr. Traffic, Mr. Blind Faith, Mr. Piano, Mr. Guitar, and Mr. about 10 other instruments:  Steve Winwood.  And what we need to understand about these old timers is that they bring some of the most talented musicians in the world.  Steve Winwood had a great band and a solid guitar player that looked to be maybe 20, if that.  I wouldn't sell him a beer if that tells you anything.  So we got all the greats, "Low Spark", "Light Up", "Higher Love" and then Steve gets up from the comforts of the keys and straps on his Fender to bring us "Dear Mr. Fantasy".  What a great show from a great showman.  Now me and The Jams Plus Media Team have to kick down the boardwalk to get to the many members of Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zero who actually were called out on stage with Michael Franti, along with Mobile Alabama's very own and last year's opening act Kristy Lee.  And as always Edward and his Zero bring the sweet sounds to our small hearts that grow with each note.  It is time to run all the way back to the Chevy Stage for some Pink Floyd, Flaming Lips style.  So I am seriously telling you that this was a spot on show for us Floyd Fans.  This band nailed every note, every octave, every emotion we ever felt with the album "Dark Side of the Moon".  And as the sun dropped on this Floyd-ish show it was time for the King of Concerts in Matthews and his Band.  This being the final flourish in the musical fanfare, we all wanted to go out with a bang.  And Dave Matthews gave us just the spark we needed.  Hangout Festival knew how to end this great weekend and we wanted it in all of its glory.  Thank you for a great weekend.  I know the whole Jams Plus Media Family is very happy and proud of what you guys have done in three years and look forward to another three plus years to really show the world the way we do it here on The Glorious Gulf of Mexico way down south in Alabama, The Heart of Dixie.            



Review by: Dale Taylor

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Clayton Roberts

Copyright 2012 Jamsplus.com.  All Rights Reserved