This year, Hangout Fest saved the best for the last. After an early shower during Hurray for the Riff Raff’s set, the day settled into a comfortably breezy overcast. HftRR kicked things off at the Surf Stage with a set that drew almost exclusively from their new record The Navigator. Alynda Segarra has become a supremely confident force of nature. Not only is this new record outstanding, but the band has also coalesced beautifully around her intensity. This was easily one of the best shows of the weekend. Once the weather broke the day was well and truly off with sets by Strand of Oaks, Bob Moses and Grace Mitchell rounding out the afternoon. Each time I see Bob Moses I am struck by the airiness of their hooks. They have a sound that was made for the beach. For her part Grace Mitchell was a presence on the BMI Stage. I’m excited to see where she goes from here. It was fun to watch the crowd discover her sound especially as folks walking past peeled off to have a listen. The final sets of the day belonged to Chance the Rapper and Mumford and Sons. I’ll have a longer piece about Chance’s set soon. It was clear that in his mind, and in the minds of much of the crowd, that he was the headliner despite what Mumford and company might think. Chance’s performance wasn’t just the best show of the weekend, it was one of the better shows I have been to this year. The carefully choreographed show was a perfect blend of set pieces and improvisation during which Chance was never operating at anything less than full intensity. It’s going to take a bit to unpack this performance. Finally, Mumford and Sons closed out the festival with their usual blend of rock and Americana. While it was an extremely polished performance it didn’t move me the way Chance had managed to just moments before. I would have liked to see what Chance could have done with that final spot on the Hangout stage.
Once again, the organizers of Hangout have managed to pull off an excellent weekend of music. For the most part the weather held and both the musicians and the beach were in top form. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year. I’ll have a full review later in the week so keep your eyes here.