Foo Fighters hangout fest 2015
Foo Fighters close out day one of Hangout Fest 2015

The Foo Fighters took their role as Friday headliners at Hangout Fest seriously, pulling out all the stops in a two-plus hour set on the main stage.

“We’re going to play as many songs as we can until they kick us off the f*cking stage,” rock god Dave Grohl said early in the band’s set — and he delivered on that promise. The Foo Fighters played 19 songs, from their biggest hits to a couple covers including Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” They dragged out some intense solos and breakdowns in almost every major song, bringing the crowd to the point of exploding a number of times before dialing it back.

Grohl has been one of the biggest ambassadors of Hangout Fest since its conception. All throughout their Friday set, he sang the praises of “the coolest f*cking music festival” and made it a special night for all. For “In the Clear,” the Foo Fighters brought out the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who are slated to perform at the fest on Saturday. Their horns brought a different kind of depth to the Foo Fighters.

foo fighters hangout fest 2015Foo Fighters

Grohl paid tribute to B.B. King, who passed away in the early hours Friday. “We wouldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for B.B. King,” said Grohl after ripping through a nasty guitar lick that would’ve made the blues legend proud.

They also did a cover of The Faces’ “Stay With Me,” with Zac Brown Band guitarists Coy Bowles and Clay Cook joining them on stage. For that song, there were FIVE guitars and everyone got in an awesome solo.

The hits were played: “All My Life,” “Times Like These,” “Learn to Fly,” “Big Me,” and “Monkey Wrench” were just a few of the songs over the Foos’ 20-year lifespan that got played. It all culminated in a massive singalong for “Everlong” to close out the night 10 minutes later than the scheduled end time. Drake should take note for his future festival performances.

The rest of Friday was a day mostly ruled by the ladies. Los Angeles’ own Deap Vally kicked things off with a rockin’ set on the BMI stage, with quite a few southerners singing along with them. Guitarist Lindsey Troy alternated between sipping a Budweiser and sharing hilarious banter between songs.

20-year-old Halsey showed some of the personality and range that could make her the next coming of Lana del Rey. Songs like “Hurricane” had the crowd moving and throwing their hands in the air. With her blue hair, sunglasses and happy-face shawl over her swimsuit, she looked as fantastic as she sounded. “How old do you think she is, 26?” one girl asked me during the set. She was shocked to find out she wasn’t even old enough to drink.

Halsey hangout fest 2015

Indie rocker Zella Day brought a ’70s style and sound to the Palladia stage with plenty of big-time admirers up front for her set. One girl in front of me could barely stand up straight and was falling all over everyone — drunk off her ass and it wasn’t even 3pm yet. “Sweet Ophelia” and “1965” were two of the highlights from one of the better sets of the day.

Jenny Lewis brought her SoCal stoner rock to the main stage. Many people were camped up front for Foo Fighters later that night and weren’t overly familiar with Lewis’ back-catalog, but for her more rocking numbers like “The Next Messiah” and the Rilo Kiley jam “Portions for Foxes,” even those not familiar were bobbing their head along. Lewis dedicated “Pretty Bird” to B.B. King.

Lupe Fiasco was supposed to perform but cancelled due to flight troubles. He showed up during Umphrey’s McGee’s set and joined them for a song, announced he’d be at the Boom Boom Tent at 7:30 PM…and never showed up. “At Hangout Fest Flight got delayed outta chicago so missed 3:45 slot time Tried to get a 7:30 slot but festival said no Tried my best 4 yall.” Lupe tweeted after the fact.

Cold War Kids put together one of the better sets of the day, kicking things off with “Miracle Mile” right out the gate. Tons of people lost it when they performed “Hospital Beds” near the end of the set. Singer Nathan Willett’s unique vocals shined bright on the Palladia stage.

Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids

Austin rockers Spoon played an intense set on the main stage as the sun began to come down. They’ve developed quite a following and had one of the larger crowds throughout the day at their set.

Paramore and Galactic with Macy Gray were on simultaneously leading into the night’s headliners. Macy Gray’s backup singers had a ton of pizzazz and Galactic brought a ton of energy to the stage.

Overall, day one was magical at the beaches of Gulf Shore. The vibes were good, and though there were some who couldn’t handle the heat and the early afternoon boozing, those who made it to the finish line were treated by top-tier festival performances. The Foo Fighters have solidified themselves as a festival headliner you can count on, and there’s a reason why they’re in such hot demand after 20 years of melting faces.

Words: Mark E. Ortega

Photography: Tom Dellinger


Hangout Fest 2015

Spoon Hangout Fest 2015

Zella Day Hangout Fest 2015
Zella Day

Hangout Fest 2015

Charles Bradley Hangout Fest 2015
Charles Bradley

Jenny Lewis Hangout Fest 2015
Jenny Lewis

Hangout Fest 2015

Galactic Hangout Fest 2015

Macy Gray with Galactic Hangout Fest 2015
Macy Gray with Galactic

Hangout Fest 2015

Deap Vally Hangout Fest 2015
Deap Vally

Hangout Fest 2015

Want more photos of band and fans at Hangout Fest 2015? Check out the photo gallery below!


Hangout Fest soft opens with Joey Bada$$, Mayer Hawthorne and The Word

Hangout Fest 2015 brings bands — and DJs — to the beach

Shaky Knees wraps up with psychedelic performances from Tame Impala, Spiritualized

Austin Psych Fest / Levitation 2015 wraps with thrilling reunion performance by 13th Floor Elevators

Watch Grimy TV’s mini festival documentary from Burgerama 2015

Desert Daze brings back the spirit of what “music festivals” once were