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Hangout Festival: Breaking Down the Five Toughest Conflicts

by Rob Slater on May 15, 2014

Tomorrow in Gulf Shores, AL, the beach party of the year will start up once again. This year's Hangout boasts another solid lineup from top to bottom including headliners The Black Keys (playing their only US festival show this year), Jack Johnson and of course--OutKast. With any festival comes the dreaded conflict and for music-lovers like us it can be difficult to bite the bullet and miss a portion of a set to go check out the opposing band. Thankfully, we're here to help, so here are five that will likely trip you up this weekend and our two cents on the subject. Happy Hangout.

Queens of the Stone Age vs. Conor Oberst

When: Friday @ 7:30 PM

The Case: If it weren't for Arcade Fire, Queens would be the best rock band touring at the moment. For now, they'll have to settle for second place. Oberst is riding high from his new solo record Upside Down Mountain and will probably play with tourmates Dawes as his backing band along with some Bright Eyes material, potentially.

Verdict: Queens is bound to throw one of the best parties on the beach but Oberst will provide a fantastic contrast to your next destination that evening (Black Keys or STS9). As a fan of rock, you'll find me parked in front of Homme and crew.

Gary Clark Jr. vs. Childish Gambino

When: Friday @ 6:15 PM

The Case: After dominating Grammys week and firmly placing himself in the spotlight, Gary Clark Jr. returns to his touring roots behind 2012's Blak and Blu. Donald Glover (Gambino), is on the opposite end of the spectrum, having left his role on Community to focus on his rap career. Clark will surely draw a big crowd on the main stage before The Black Keys turn it blue, but Gambino's Boom Boom Tent slot will be intimate and intense--just the type of environment for him to flourish.

Verdict: Glover ditched his stellar role on the recently-cancelled Community to focus on his rap career, so one would figure he's going to bring it extra hard now that he's focused on being Childish Gambino. However, Because the Internet wasn't great, so I'll go with the guitar guru for now until Glover drops his next LP. Besides, something about blues rock on the beach sounds wonderful.

Trombone Shorty vs. People of the Sun (Moon Taxi)

When: Saturday @ 4:45 PM

The Case: A sidestage battle as Moon Taxi brings their People of the Sun set to the beach opposite Trombone Shorty and his crew trying to build off a landmark Jazz Fest week for the New Orleans group. The Rage Against the Machine idea is certainly intriguing, as the group has covered the legendary rock group in the past, and people will surely take notice. Shorty is one of those sneaky acts on a festival bill, though, and one that can steal the spotlight from just about anyone. This, however, may be their toughest task.

Verdict: Nothing against Trombone Shorty and his ridiculously talented ensemble but Moon Taxi is offering one of the most creative pre-Bonnaroo festival sets. Aside from whatever The Strokes plan on doing at Governor's Ball, People of the Sun is the must-see set of early summer. If Rage Against the Machine isn't your thing, though, you will find yourself grooving to Shorty.

The Flaming Lips vs. Fitz and the Tantrums vs. Chance the Rapper

When: Saturday @ 7:15 PM

The Case: The Lips are embattled in a war of words with their former drummer, Fitz & the Tantrums are still cruising around supporting 2013's breakout More Than Just A Dream and Chance is channeling the spirit of Tupac and Biggie (along with Kendrick Lamar) as one of the best throwback MC's today. The contrast between all three groups is compelling enough to take notice and certainly offers something for everyone. While Chance isn't afforded the Boom Boom Tent slot that the other hip hop act--Childish Gambino--garnered, but he can still do some damage on the Sound Select Stage. Meanwhile Hangout vets The Flaming Lips return to the beach after taking 2013 off. This will be Wayne Coyne's third time at the mainstay Bama festival.

Verdict: I choose death. Don't make me choose one. If you've been to the Hangout before, you've seen The Lips (this is their third appearance) so maybe you opt for something fresh like Fitz or Chance, both of whom are making their Hangout debuts.

Portugal. The Man vs. Los Lobos

When: Sunday @ 5:00 PM

The Case: Who do you want to provide the final evening's sunset soundtrack? Portugal. The Man will bring the evil as day turns to night (I smell a "Dayman" coming) and include cuts from their latest effort Evil Friends. The Alaskan rockers will take to the sand on the Chevrolet Stage as Los Lobos play the Palladia Stage. The Hangout newbies will give you all the TexMex rock and roll you could ask for as they continue through a landmark career.

Verdict: Portugal. The Man is trending upwards, intensely so. Plus, they'll probably do a cover of "Dayman" from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia so that'll be at the very least, worth your time. Not to mention, their last album Evil Friends still gets a ton of spin and is one of their strongest works to date.

What say you?


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