The Top Ten Highlights From This Year’s Hangout Music Fest

Videos by American Songwriter

5. Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood took fans on a tour through time with his set which was chock full of classic songs. “I didn’t know Steve Winwood wrote so many classic songs,” mused one festival-goer as Winwood tore into “Higher Love.” But don’t confuse him with being a “legacy act.” Whether he’s playing songs from his days in Traffic or off his 2008 album, Nine Lives, he approaches them with the same vigor and tenacity that built his sterling reputation.

4. Dave Matthews Band

Fresh off the heels of its 2011 hiatus, Dave Matthews Band is back and better than it’s been in years. Sometimes time off allows the anticipation to rise, which seemed to apply to the band and the audience. The members looked giddy to be back on stage with each other. And the crowd couldn’t have been more excited to have their band back. Now if they’d only stop singing over the music.

3. M. Ward

While M. Ward didn’t bring any of the special guests from his new album, A Wasteland Companion, he brought a fantastic backing band complete with Chris Scruggs (Earl’s grandson), and Ward’s right-hand man Mike Coykendall. Because of the lack of guests, a lot of the new songs had to be rearranged, leading to some interesting takes on those as well as on classic cuts from Transfiguration of Vincent and more. The best part about M. Ward is just when you think you have him pegged he does something wildly different and original.

2. The String Cheese Incident

The String Cheese Incident sound is just as synonymous with bluegrass and psychedelic music as it is with the beach. Since “Lester Had a Coconut” off their debut album Born on the Wrong Planet, the band has been dabbling in the sunny sounds of surf, which fit the beach atmosphere perfectly. The band played two back-to-back sets which culminated in a jam on popular oldie “Jellyfish.” The perfect marriage of venue and vibe made this set one of the most memorable of the weekend.

1. The Flaming Lips perform Dark Side of the Moon

The Flaming Lips have been on the initial lineup for the Hangout Festival all three years the fest has happened. However, the band had to cancel a few weeks before the show the first year, which brought them back the second year. Wayne Coyne said that when the band came back this year they didn’t want to put on the same show again, so they decided to perform Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon instead. Coyne said the show has evolved since the band first started doing it in 2009. “In the beginning we were playing some of the songs in more of our punk rock style, but frankly a lot of people didn’t know what the songs were,” he said. “So I think as it’s gone, we’ve made it seem more like the Pink Floyd versions. It’s evolved into more like; we do their version of it our way.” The Flaming Lips brought out members of Phantogram to assist in covering the landmark album. As to whether he’s ever heard from any members of Pink Floyd about covering the album, Coyne says no, but maintains that that’s a good thing. “Pink Floyd, they’re kind of like Satan, if you hear from them, it’s not going to be good,” he said. “So the fact that we haven’t heard from them means they like it. That’s the secret code.”


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Highlights From The 2012 Hangout Music Fest