By Christopher Chase Edmunds
With Hangout Festival 2015 coming to a close, it’s time to take a look at which acts stood out – which ones drew people’s attention even when there were two other bands playing at the same time. These are the bands that made the sunburn and pure exhaustion worth every second.
#6 – The Suffers
The Houston soul/funk outfit rocked an 11:30 am set that made waking up and arriving early worthwhile. The Suffers used their big sound, complete with a full horn section and plenty of percussion, to draw everyone’s attention to the small BMI Stage. Everyone – and I mean everyone – was grooving to new music with an old school feel.
#5 – Lake Street Dive
If you love when bands cover your favorite songs, and you just so happen to appreciate the upright bass, Lake Street Dive is the band for you. The four-member group treated everyone at the Palladia Stage to jazzy renditions of the classics. The band is currently best known for YouTube videos of their soulful covers of songs like “I Want You Back” and “Rich Girl,” but with other soul and jazz groups like the Alabama Shakes and St. Paul and the Broken Bones on the rise, look for Lake Street Dive to make a splash soon.
#4 – Skrillex/Jack Ü
Sonny John Moore does not disappoint. The producer better known as Skrillex (and one half of the new duo Jack Ü) is a Hangout veteran, and both of his performances this year were top-notch. The Jack Ü show had the Boom Boom Tent rocking, drawing more people as they were leaving an average Foo Fighters concert. When Skrillex took the Surf Stage the next day, he dropped a new remix of “Red Lips,” which die-hard fans have been waiting for ever since pieces of it were leaked about a month prior to the festival.
#3 – Phantogram
This electronic rock duo pushed the limits of the audio equipment of the Palladia Stage, as well as the patience of the security staff. The group deployed large inflatables into the crowd, starting a frenzy that featured the band’s roadies sprinting on stage to keep inflatable hamburgers from damaging guitars and microphones. Lead singer Sarah Barthel could be seen smiling throughout the entire performance, in between relentless headbanging sessions. This group got a lot of attention for their song “When I’m Small,” mainly because it was used in several TV shows and commercials recently. Look for Phantogram to continue wreaking havoc in both the electronic and rock realms for the foreseeable future.
#2 – Paramore
There are very few, if any, performers that can say they rocked the beach as hard as Paramore. Lead singer Hayley Williams was electrifying to say the least. The band’s irresistibly catchy pop punk/emo rock had a packed beach crowd jumping, kicking and yelling their favorite angsty lines at the top of their lungs. The band played plenty of songs from their most popular album, Riot!, but Williams politely asked permission to play new material also. Let’s just hope for a Paramore comeback to contrast all the feel-good pop music.
#1 – Zac Brown Band
There’s a reason why Zac Brown Band was scheduled as the Saturday headliner. Not only does the group put on an awesome live show, but their music screams beach party. The massive crowd enjoyed the usual ZBB suspects, including “Chicken Fried,” “Colder Weather” and “Homegrown.” The best parts of the performance, however, were the incredible covers of “Enter Sandman,” “Kashmir,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Die-hard ZBB fans knew this was coming, but to those of us who were dragged to the show by our friends, this was an incredibly nice surprise. Simply put, each member of ZBB could be a superstar on their own, but instead, they join forces to put on some of the best live shows for the current generations.
Photos: Christopher Chase Edmunds