Hangout Music Fest: Day Two, Letting it all Hang Out

So far I have clocked in 9 hours of sleep in 2 nights. Saturday should be fun. On my schedule today is scary moment number one, becoming an ex-fan, and finding excuses to dance.

I spent the early part of the day meeting my list of fellow writers who I intended to shake hands with (and ended up having a drink with each one, yikes) until I ran into some hometown friends at the Letting Go stage for Heartless Bastards. Signed to Fat Possum Records and pulling in a massive crowd which spilled out into the street surrounding the stage, the guys and girl of Heartless Bastards didn’t disappoint with songs “Only For You” and “The Mountain.”

I am not usually a huge fan of southern rock (as southern as I am at heart), but I thoroughly had a great time watching them. Singer Erika Wennerstrom has such a strong and sad voice live. Very inviting.

I left a few minutes early to attempt to get a good spot for the dubstep prince, Skrillex. If you’re laughing at that last statement, where was your common sense when I needed it? It took me half an hour to get near the center of the crowd.

I lost my friends before his set even started. I was woozy and without bottled water. See where this is going? All I wanted to do was dance. All I was able to do was bounce in place.

About half an hour into Skrillex I started to internally freak out with thoughts of passing out from over heating and exhaustion. It took another five minutes to get to the back of the crowd, when I started to feel better and found a spot to dubstep! I dived right in for another fifteen minutes, in the sun, on steaming asphalt.

During Skrillex’s 75-minute set I saw several bloodied noses, fans climbing onto street lights, hanging from fixtures that hold the tent up, and police holding hands as they snaked their way into dangerously aggressive parts of the crowd.

Was this Limp Bizkit at Woodstock? Do dub heads like it violent? I left with 20 minutes to go, not able to witness anymore of the chaos (and lack of actually getting to see the performer) that was Skrillex’s Hangout set.

On to the second half of Gogol Bordello, which thanks to my awesome passes, I was able to watch from the risers on the side of the stage. Dressed for the occasion (I had on a very purple dress), I watched as the gypsy punksters, along with their choreographed dancers (read, hype man and woman) tried really hard to pull the crowd in.

Everyone went nuts for “Break the Spell” and “Start Wearing Purple,” but to be an honest writer, I discovered I am not the fan I thought I was. I do not want to run away and be a gypsy in their caravan, nor do I fall for high energy performances set to a backdrop of techno from the 90’s. I run the risk of standing alone in my opinion, but I can’t like everything that walks through the door with a microphone. Granted I have now seen more Gogol Bordello live than I have heard recorded.

It was during a break for food that I got a text from one of Spin‘s photographers I wanted to meet. He had been following GIVERS around, and shot Jack White the previous night. Cell reception was the worst while at the festival, so I’m lucky I even got that text.

The Spin crew proved to be the workaholics we expect them to be, slaving away with headphones and macs, editing and poring through thousands of photos in their hotel rooms, while The String Cheese Incident performed outside their windows. The marriage of a comfortable setting and a bottle of Jameson does a body good, because an hour into friendly banter, I was wide awake and on my feet for Red Hot Chili Peppers.

You can scour the internet to hear about the debate surrounding Josh Klinghoffer’s performance. The new-ish RHCP guitarist had a lot to live up to, and whether people were overly critical of him or honestly thought he didn’t live up to the band’s previous guitarists, remains to be seen. I am not inclined to give an opinion, as I hadn’t seen them live before Hangout. I enjoyed singing along to the classics and everyone around me seemed to care less who was playing guitar, so I’ll go with that. After party, anyone?

The Revivalists played host to an insane late-nighter (say, til 7am?) jammin’ New Orleans style in their condo, with the members swapping instruments and everyone who was willing, jumping in to try their hand. Saturday night was spent in cozy quarters with some of the best guys and gals I befriended while working at Hangout Fest. Another dance party came and went. Three hours of “sleep.” To be continued.

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