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Day Two – Gulf Shores/Pensacola
“Okay they found her, let’s keep rocking!”

In the middle of his set, the one where there was a girl unashamed grinding on a random stranger and another asking people for Ecstasy before telling a group of black guys she’d had to press charges if she had any black inside of her – Donald Glover became a hero.

Well, kinda. He stopped the middle of his Hangout Fest set inside a crowded on top of crowded Bon Bon Tent Stage and calmly asked the crowd if they had seen a 7-year old girl who went missing from her parents.

Once the child was lifted in the air, found like Baby Simba by Rafiki in the Lion King, it was back to business as usual – a steady stream of popular hits from both his Because The Internet & Camp albums including “Heartbeat”, “Worldstar” & “Shadows”. Mind you, I’ve never sat in a crowd of 20,000 white guys yelling “WORLDSTAR” but I braced myself for a fight anyway.

You see, you have reservations about Donald Glover as a rapper because frankly, you can’t shake the comedic punchlines or the sophomoric results that follow them in small instances. Live? Donald Glover morphs into a jumping, yelling tornado in cut off shorts. He no doubt won Hangout Fest’s first day of day players, even if Queens Of The Stone age managed to serenade a guy off who decided fighting chicks at festivals was a good idea.

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QOTSA however, did give people their money’s worth on day one, playing their major hits outside of “Go With The Flow” early into their set, keeping people engaged at all times via dialogue and mouthy yet hilarious minor anecdotes that led into songs. “This is a song about cocaine…” frontman Josh Homme said. Ironic because at the exact same time? A guy stuffed a vial of cocaine from his girlfriend into his shorts.

The finale of the night belonged to The Black Keys, a group who proudly asked for their fans to buy their new album Turn Blue so they could beat Michael Jackson on the Billboard charts. Charting their evolution has been quite fun, removing themselves from small, intimate venues to massive throngs of people, some near 50,000 in populous who are dying to hear new material. The crowd roared for Brothers material, jammed out to El Camino’s “Gold On The Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy” while swayed to “Fever”, their latest single from their new LP. Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbauch may seem like the most unsuspecting rock stars on the planet but somehow, they make it work for them.

“Beach people!” Auerbauch roared between songs. “This is our beach attire.” Said attire? Black long sleeve shirts and jeans. I guess that’s what you rock when you’re about no bullshit, no frills classic blues rock music.

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Your initial trip to Hangout Fest is a bit of a culture shock to begin with. There’s for the most part – Alabama to deal with. After spending the previous 24 hours in New Orleans, you begin to understand various slices of southern life and how they vastly differ from one another.

Pride especially.

There’s no greater sense of state boasting and chest thumping than that of Alabama, save for maybe Texas and parts of Louisiana. The stars & bars fly proudly on the back of a few trucks, the eyes of its inhabitants remain large and glossy, amplified whenever they hear something in particular they like.

You slide here via Mississippi in an hour; a relative stones throw in Texas terms where a trip from Houston to Austin could be smoked in two hours or less. You do however, tell yourself to stop at a Krispy Kreme shop in Ocean Springs because your inner fat boy tells you they sponsor the trip too.

It’s a festival, you’re going to argue about who’s going to drive, who gets to enjoy the full capabilities of the Chevy in terms of sheer entertainment. You’re going to wonder why your co-horts on this trip are enjoying a copy of Red 2 and you have to focus on the drive to Pensacola to your hotel.

As spaced out as Texas may be, the body just places all of the wear earned there and takes it wherever you go. A 50-minute drive can feel like 20 and before you even know it, gliding down 183 immediately leads you to Florida.

Connected, even when your hotel damn near screws you and puts you on the street for a night.

A day closer to OutKast.

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