Hangout Festival: 9 Must-See-Bands

By: Dennis Cook, JamBase Associate Editor

The first Hangout Beach Music & Arts Festival begins tomorrow night and runs through Sunday, May 16, at 101 East Beach Boulevard, Gulf Shores, Alabama (The Southern End of AL-Hwy 59). While the world watches the devastating effects of the Horizon offshore oil rig disaster, the producers of the Hangout Festival have assured attendees that their beach is clear and the show will go on. All profits from the festival will go towards Coastal Conservation and Restoration as the event has turned into an environmental benefit concert.

For those heading down south tomorrow, we turn our attention towards the music. While most folks headed to Hangout already have headlining sets from The Black Crowes on Friday night, The Roots on Saturday, and Trey on Sunday evening etched in stone on their dance card, we wanted to offer a few pointers towards the other talent lined up at this new festival. We'll have a full wrap-up of this inaugural weekend on Monday, so check back then for photos and other highlights. In the meantime, here's some recommendations for those diggin' their toes into the sand in Alabama.

Be sure to also tune in to our real-time Twitter updates page at throughout the weekend.

Friday, May 14

1. Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam :: 12:30-1:30 pm :: Verizon Stage
With a name derived from a Robert Cray tune and a sound and temperament that harks back to fiery English blues-rock pioneers like Cream and early Fleetwood Mac – not to mention American counterparts Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the Allman Brothers – Back Door Slam is just plain exciting every time they get onstage. Knowles is one of the tastiest young guitarists going and the whole enterprise oozes muscle and guts. Hard to imagine a better nooner than these guys!

2. Papa Mali & Friends :: 6:00-7:15 pm :: JamBase Stage
There's many compelling, hard to pin down aspects to Papa Mali. He's a swamp roamer and a mojo hand maker, not to mention one of the few guys who've ever captured some of Sly Stone's impenetrably deep funk, but he can also be honestly teary-eyed and downright tender. Of late, he's been exploring the Grateful Dead catalog and a pile of new Robert Hunter tunes with buddy Bill Kreutzmann. But, the real lure of any Papa set is NOT knowing what he's got up his sleeve and just letting him have his way with you. And he has some pretty stellar "friends" so happy surprises are likely at this set.

3. Zac Brown Band :: 8:45-11:00 pm :: The Hangout Stage
Even though Brown is the opening day headliner, he's likely an unknown quantity to many JamBase readers besides his rep as a fast-rising star in the contemporary country scene. His hit "Chicken Fried" is good fun, and he and his band are blue-collar sweethearts who play their bloody hearts out. No less an authority on a good time than Jimmy Buffett has taken a big shine to Brown, and if one goes in with an open mind and a yen to dance they're likely to discover a real treat in this band.

Continue reading for Saturday's suggestions...

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