Hangout Music Festival, Day 2: 05.21.2011

Dead Confederate's Hardy Morris at the Hangout Music Festival on May 21, 2011

I was gonna give you guys a well written, healthy-sized wrap-up of today’s rad shows, but I just endured the world’s longest dinner with the world’s least attentive waiter. I am exhausted and full of crab. So here’s the happs, in bulleted form:

*Xavier Rudd has always been jammy, but he has a nice electronica touch in his recent work, pleasing both the hippies and the rave kids.

*Georgia group Dead Confederate was the find of the day. Blistering, shoegazy rock with just the right amount of grit and a lead singer who sounds like Jack White but looks like Edward Furlong.

*Cee Lo is a bit of a douche. Whether he had a legit reason for being an hour late or not, it’s still mostly unforgivable. Thankfully the Foo Fighters saved the day by hoping up on stage to bang out covers of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down,” Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” (uh-mazing) and Prince’s “Darling Nikki.” By the time Cee Lo actually showed up, he had time for a handful of songs forced into a medley of sorts, ending in a whimpered take on The Clash’s iconic “Rock the Casbah.” Meh. I would’ve preferred an hour of “The Foo Fighters Do Classic Rock Favorites.”

*The Avett Brothers are a blissful beach listen. The older, less depressed brothers to Mumford & Sons still have that southern charm that just endears them to everyone in earshot.

*There was a huge crowd for Pretty Lights tonight, much like Bassnectar last night. Spoiler alert: they sound almost exactly alike. Which is to say, vaguely generic hipster Mac turntable gobbledy-gook.

*Flaming Lips turn in another solid effort. Methinks they blew their wad by opening with “Do You Realize” and stacking the heavier material (mostly from Embryonic and Soft Bulletin) to the back of the set. But it was rad as hell to hear “She Don’t Use Jelly” live.

*Motorhead turned in a whole 10 minutes early, so we sadly only caught the last two songs of their set. What we did see was pretty badass, though. You gotta give props to a group of guys who can stay together this long and continue to pound out scorching rock tracks with the power and passion of a bunch of 20 year olds.

*I was never a huge Foo Fighters fan, so while I found their set pleasant enough, it didn’t carry me away or anything. Dave Grohl is a charming frontman and the band sounds as tight and cohesive as ever. I’m sure people who have followed the band’s trajectory more closely in the last decade probably really dug the performance. It was certainly not lacking in propulsion or vastness.

Alright, that’s the best I can do folks. The crab is putting me in a coma and my legs are still covered in sand. See you on the flip side.

Erin Hall, Antigravity Magazine

 

I’d like to say I wasn’t surprised to see the Foo Fighters play an impromptu set of classic rock covers to fill in for an absent Cee-Lo Green when they were already scheduled to play another set later in the evening. After all, that’s why they make the big bucks. Honestly though, I don’t demand  or even hope for that kind of moxie from my rock stars anymore, as tardiness, infighting, sloppiness, and crowd antagonism have been ingrained in my skull as the norm by such monumentally dysfunctional larger-than-life bands as Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen – groups who could barely play their own sets much less someone else’s. Nowadays, as long as someone’s hair doesn’t catch on fire, I’m inclined to call even a phoned-in performance a relative success.

The Foo Fighters, however, went above and beyond yesterday; members Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins seemed ecstatic simply to be given opportunity to play two concerts in a single day and, in the process, prove their adherence to the age-old rock n’ roll mantra “Give the people what they want”.

It could be a stretch to contrast the Foo Fighters – a band that consistently records music, successfully completes yearly international tours, and manages to show up to work early – to defunct hard rock bands that embody the pure antiquated excess of the eighties, but it’s certainly not a stretch to call them “rock stars”. Though that phrase doesn’t generally involve punctuality, the Foo Fighters’ one-of-a-kind performance yesterday proves that it probably should.

- Taylor Gray, Barryfest.com