Stephanie Drake Photography Blog
Hangout Fest 2014 Saturday (Day 2), Gulf Shores AL

Link to full gallery of 150+ images here.

Link to Friday’s (Day 1) overview here.

On Saturday, there was a noticeable increase in traffic on the way to the festival grounds as those concertgoers who were unable to escape the 8-5 grind the day before made their way into town. A couple of my most anticipated acts were slated for later that afternoon but there was an impressive grouping of musicians filling up the morning schedule. On the Red Bull stage, The Black Cadillacs, self-described as a “blues-based indie rock” band from TN, kicked off what would become a rather epic day in the courtyard (more on that later) in an appropriately high-energy rock and roll fashion. Needtobreathe had an arguably early set for them given their popularity but the crowds filled in quickly to watch the self-proclaimed redneck brothers completely own the main stage. I’d heard a single or two of theirs on the radio before and was never overly-impressed but now following that performance, I’m a big fan.

The Black Cadillacs:

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Needtobreathe:

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Back in the courtyard, Atlanta-based group The Electric Sons packed out the courtyard with their intoxicating blend of synthesized sounds and driving beats balanced by stellar vocals and an acoustic guitar. As I said in Friday’s review, I don’t always “get” electronic music necessarily but blended with more classic instruments and doused in showmanship? I surprised myself. Me likey. After their electrifying performance (heh? heh?… no?… ), I was in for another surprise from the incomparable Amos Lee over on the main stage. The chill, folksy vibe I was expecting from his performance was replaced with a remarkably upbeat, eclectic set that included a cover of Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls” melded seamlessly into Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” before being joined on stage by a Mobile, AL based gospel choir, winning Lee over legions of old and new fans alike.

The Electric Sons:

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Amos Lee:

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On my walk back across the grounds, I stopped off at the BMI stage and caught a few minutes of The Lonely Biscuits’ set, who hail from TN but sound as though they’ve had plenty of west coast influences with their chilled out vibes and smooth rhymes. As I continued my walk East, I passed the stages where I knew Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and Moon Taxi as People of the Sun were about to give some of the best performances of the weekend. But a difficult choice had to be made (not for the first or last time during this heavily stacked festival lineup), and from the moment Hangout Fest organizers announced that Matt and Kim were joining the lineup I knew whenever they took the stage there was nowhere else I was going to be. Though I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for years I’ve never seen them live but rumors of their extraordinary, energetic performances proved to be understated if anything. This duo was well worth the wait to see and an actual dream come true to photograph.

The Lonely Biscuits:

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Matt and Kim:

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After Matt and Kim came another one of my most anticipated groups of the weekend, Fitz and the Tantrums. The crowd was feeling loved and in love with this upbeat, modern duo of talented lead singers backed by their outstanding band and trademark giant neon heart that enveloped the performers in a lovely pink glow. As the sun dropped below the horizon the gorgeous rainbow of illuminated graphics on stage became more prevalent — I’d love to see what their lighting director can do in a regular tour setting. Back on the Red Bull stage, Moon Taxi got set for a second show to fill in for the ill-stricken Chance the Rapper and attracted such a huge crowd that the courtyard filled beyond capacity and had to be closed off to all newcomers for a portion of their performance (remember I told you I knew they’d be one of the best acts of the festival? well word got out quickly…). Even press wasn’t allowed in so unfortunately I was unable to shoot them from the photo pit but what little I caught from the back….. wow. That crowd was feverish.

Fitz and the Tantrums:

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Moon Taxi:

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As impressed as I was by Fitz and the Tantrum’s lighting, it’s hard to compete with the pageantry orchestrated by electronic artist Pretty Lights. I mean it’s in the name for crying out loud. While the DJ kept things thumping well into the evening over in the Boom Boom Tent, the night’s big headliner The Killers closed down the main stage with their pure and straightforward brand of rock that required very little visual complexity, their appeal resting simply on exceptional vocal and instrumental acuity. Unfortunately, it seems The Killers aren’t big fan of photographers as none were allowed in the pit but I can’t say I was particularly sad to just sit down and listen after a long day of shooting. I did however snag a few pics of the fireworks show that shot off at every night’s finale.

Pretty Lights:

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Fireworks after The Killers:

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