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Hey Ya! Hangout 2014

On Thursday morning, people were already settling into their condos along the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, to kick off 2014's annual Hangout Music Fest. The popular beach festival, which began in 2010, has featured headliners like Paul Simon, Trey Anastasio Band, John Legend, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dave Matthews Band. This year, recently reunited duo OutKast, with Andre 3000 and Big Boi, headlined the fest with the Killers and Jack Johnson. And judging by the fact that more than 40,000 weekend passes were sold this year, it's clear the music that millennials and their older siblings grew up with is, apparently, still going strong.

beach

 

parachute

 

Ferris wheel

 

beach tent

 

beach walking

 

beach hangout

 

 

 

 

 

orange floats

 

The Flaming Lips

Fans were greeted by the sunset for the Flaming Lips -- the psychedelic performers who have become a Hangout staple. The group recently played at the Billboard Awards with Miley Cyrus, covering the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Lead singer Wayne Coyne revved up fans in his inside-out-boy body suit and silver tasseled jacket, before releasing a group of rubber ducky floats into the audience. By the time the band sang its classic "Do You Realize?," the audience had the ducks bouncing to the rhythm, and the bubble count above was high.

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Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

flaming lips

 

Moon Taxi

This group from Nashville, Tennessee, which recently toured with the Revivalists from New Orleans, played a Rage Against the Machine set at the intimate BMI stage, directly behind The Hangout Restaurant. Renamed “People of the Sun” for this cover set, the group also performed an electrified cover of “F*ck You Like an Animal” by Nine Inch Nails.

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights fans had already filled the Boom Boom tent two hours before the show. Fan Pat Rafferty spoke with Laser Shark, the light-master who worked with the electronic artist, who said he was "psyched to be working with the tent's low eve height" -- which presents the challenge of working a laser show only inches above the audience's heads. "They were really coming atcha," said Pat.

pat and light guy

Rafferty and Laser Shark -- Photo c/o Pat Rafferty

Rafferty and Laser Shark -- Photo c/o Pat Rafferty

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The Killers

The Killers closed Saturday night, playing at the main Hangout stage. The crowd spanned back along the beach and ranged from densely packed in the front to relaxed lounging in the sand farther back. Their rocky American sound and pulsing beat were accompanied by tight acoustics and the flatly aggressive vocals of Brandon Flowers. The foursome's look was a mixture of L.A. prep and 1980s Cure-style hair. At the end of the set, drummer Ronnie Vanucci Jr. walked out solo to the mic, looked the audience in the eye, threw his drumstick to the crowd, and said, "Tell all your friends." Fireworks on the beach marked the end of an awesome night.

Killers' Fireworks

 

Capital Cities

The LA duo, who originally wrote jingles after finding each other on Craigslist, played some awesome covers of Sinead O’Connor's “Nothing Compares 2 U” and the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive.” Their repetitive, ambient beat transformed every song into a dance party, and their accompanying trumpet player was as polished as those you'd hear on Frenchmen Street.

Capital Cities

 

Los Lobos

Los Lobos is one of those bands that could be found in Woodstock, NY, or on the sidewalks of Mexico. With bongo and accordion undertones, the group had the crowd dancing to Grateful Dead covers and original salsa sounds.

los lobos dancing

 

 

Los Lobos

 

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Hailing from Alabama, this new group won over many new fans on Sunday. Lead singer Paul Janeway is a choir-trained vocal angel who makes the Southern church proud with his soulful voice, which is reminiscent of Mavis Staples, Alabama Shake’s Brittney Howard, and Otis Redding. The seven-piece ensemble was recently nominated for the Americana Music Association’s “Emerging Act of 2014” award. They also recently released their first album, Half the City.

st paul close up 2

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

st paul and broken bones

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

OUTKAST!

When asked to describe the show in one word, fans offered things like “dank,” “dope” and “finally!” Everyone left Hangout completely pumped up and simultaneously exhausted by the group's non-conformist performance, which included a huge glass box with waterfalls streaming down the sides. Lasers shot into the box created a rippled backdrop to Big Boi and Andre 3000, and sometimes reflected projections of the artists and silouettes of naked women walking across the stage. Andre brought out a group of women from the audience to sing “Hey Ya!” -- and the entire beach moved simultaneously to "Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture." They closed the set with “The Whole World,” and another set of fireworks. The cool breezes from the Gulf picked up as thousands of dazed and tanned fans began their walk or shuttle ride back along Beach Boulevard.

Until next year, Gulf Shores!

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What 40,000 fans looks like. Photo c/o Sam Allouche

What 40,000 fans looks like. Photo c/o Sam Allouche

What 40,000 fans looks like. Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Photo c/o Sam Allouche

 Photo c/o Sam Allouche

Elisabeth Morgan writes about New Orleans for NolaVie. Contact her at elisabethsmorgan@gmail.com.