The producers of Hangout faced a gamut of roadblocks this weekend including Friday’s festival-delaying thunderstorms and subsequent schedule rearranging, and last night’s cancellation of Calvin Harris following his car accident in LA. Though many weren’t thrilled with the fill-in headliner (see bottom blurb), it’s impressive with how seamlessly the festival has been running despite challenges. Here are some highlights from day two, unranked and in chronological order…
Lizzo’s Prince Love
Houston-born, Minnesota-based rapper Lizzo is a big deal in Minneapolis, but her draw is just starting to build in other parts of the country. After releasing the album Big Grrrl Small World last year, Lizzo was snatched up by Atlantic Records, and is poised to become a recognizable figure beyond her home cities. With ties to Minneapolis comes an unfaltering Prince admiration, and in light of his recent passing, Lizzo sampled the intro to “Let’s Go Crazy” during her set and told the crowd “We doin’ it for the Purple One.” With meticulously planned choreography and back-up dancers, Lizzo is a force to be reckoned with onstage. Her charisma and genuine joy gives her power, and her unapologetic self-love is contagious.
Catching The End Of Kurt Vile
Unfortunately, the two acts I was most excited to see yesterday — Lizzo and Kurt Vile — happened to have the exact same set time. As much as I love Vile, Lizzo’s set was more on par with the energy I was craving. After she finished, I rushed over to the AXS TV Stage and caught “Freak Train” from 2009’s Childish Prodigy. Vile is an impressive and mysterious act in concert (How does he breathe behind his hair?) so I was bummed to not witness the entire set, but lucky to see at least part of it.
Miike Snow’s Unexpected Draw
I enjoyed Miike Snow’s first two albums (self-titled in 2009, Happy To You in 2012), but I had little idea what to expect from the Swedish trio’s music in 2016, nor what to expect from a their crowd. They were scheduled at the unfortunately named Boom Boom Tent, which is where most of the DJs perform throughout the day. In the times I’d walked past the Boom Boom Tent during the past two days, crowds were relatively small, so I expected a similar turnout. Nope. The crowd extended well beyond the already massive tent, onto the various lawns in front of food vendors, and into the street. I apologize for underestimating your ability to draw the masses, Miike Snow. Though I could barely see, my ears told me my predictions about an EDM turn were incorrect as well.
Leon Bridges’ True Stories
I swooned over the romanticism and magic that young Texan soul singer Leon Bridges brought to the chaotic festival. In between songs, Bridges reassured the crowd that he’d been “telling true stories all night,” as if we were accusing him of being a phony. It was a nice touch to imagine Bridges’ songs as pages in his life storybook, and a treat to see he and his band reveal the pages to the crowd one by one. People slow-danced in the streets to “Better Man,” which was dedicated to “the ladies.” Seeing a southern soul singer play to a very southern crowd was a nice breather from the foam parties and bass thumping before and after his set.
Panic! At The Disco Playing “Time To Dance”
In the words of Stereogum’s Chris DeVille, “Panic! At The Disco sound like Times Square looks, a million disparate moving pieces and flashing lights piling up to infinity.” Nothing this band does makes any sense, and not in a good way that some noise bands can pull off. To me, there are two different Panic! At The Discos (neither of which are phenomenal, but the difference is important). There’s emo five piece Panic! that thrived in the MySpace era, and there’s reincarnated Panic! that’s just lead singer Brendon Urie continuing to build an empire off the MySpace foundation. Once P!ATD became the headlining act, filling in for an injured Calvin Harris, I had no choice but to see them or go home. The group’s debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out dropped when I was in elementary school, and I decided the only way Urie could partially redeem his dead-horse-beating would be to play an old classic like “Time To Dance.” And he did, and it was ok, but once the nostalgia wore off I was ready to call it a night.