The second set started with Michael Kang taking up the fiddle to lead the band through “Hi Ho No Show” and handling lead vocals on “It Is What It Is.” The real story of the set, however, is the three monster jam vehicles that were rolled out in quick succession. “On the Road” clocked in at just under twenty-five minutes while “Shine” and “Howard” both topped the fifteen minute mark. Then, much to the trippers’ delight, the guys encored their wacky mushroom boogie “Johnny Cash.”
Long after the headliners had packed it in, the party raged on. Quixotic threw down a late night set at Spirit Lake, giving partiers all they bargained for and more with their exotic concentrate of drums, violin and EDM, then the Jon Stickley Trio closed it down with one last genre-bending performance of jazz-tinged Americana instrumentals. But the silent disco stayed open as the party animals soldiered on deep into Saturday morning.
Much like Friday, Saturday’s lineup offered no respite for the weary and more than enough action to keep the hardiest partiers lit. Nashville rapper MZG fired up the next one at the Spirit Lake stage only hours after the silent disco had cleared out, ushering in another full day of farflung performances. The de facto battle-of-the bands created between the Amphitheater, Patch and Campground stages gave Hulaweeners endless chances to see a broad variety of the most dynamic young acts on the scene, just not all at the same time. Come Back Alice, a fiddle-funk outfit from nearby Sarasota, FL, shared the noon-thirty timeslot with the electronic artist Artifakts; Louis Futon and Marvel Years split the crowd with dueling electronic sets at 2:30; and Manic Focus brought the live band to the Amphitheater while Brooklyn born Snarky Puppy treated an oversized crowd to an artful set of improvised jazz fusion at the Patch. Enjoy footage Snarky Puppy’s set below.
Later in the evening, Rüfüs Du Sol, the chart-topping dance trio from Sydney, Australia, excited fans at the Patch with their sultry vocals, daring leads and exotic beats, while Spirit of Suwannee mainstays Lettuce pumped out the funk for the booty shakers at the Amphitheater, then brought out Alecia Chakour to add her towering vocal talents to “What Do I Have to Do?” and Syl’s Johnson’s “The Love You Left Behind.” The 11:00 time slot hosted simultaneous dance parties sprung from entirely different ethos. Logic laid bare his verbal acumen over a bed of club beats, while frequently engaging the people in amateur-hour stage banter. Then there was STS9, who uttered hardly a word, electing instead to immerse their rabid fan base in deep waves of dope grooves and dense clouds of supersonic subtlety, delivering a relentless set of Tribe favorites, from the opening track “This, Us,” which segued into “When the Dust Settles Reprise,” all the way through the “EHM” encore.
With so many electro-tinted perfomances taking place, the rootsier offerings at the Meadow stage made for a palatable juxtaposition. Iconic picker Larry Keel joined forces with Drew Emmitt, of Leftover Salmon fame, in keeping the grass growing thick and blue, unraveling a set of melancholy mountain music that included covers of Janis Joplin’s “Take Another Piece of My Heart” and Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Next up, Brooklyn product Antibalas, an afrobeat jazz ensemble, invigorated listeners with a sunny, swinging show that primed Suwannee for the String Cheese Incident, who then took up residency on the Meadow stage for three full sets.
The revelry began with SCI cutting loose on a relatively new tune, the disco-flavored “Stop, Drop, Roll.” The fellas traded off vocal duties throughout the first set which saw them trot out a pack of fan favorite jam vehicles including “Restless Wind,” “Turn This Thing Around” and “Joyful Sound.” Cheese brought the first round to a close with “Can’t Wait Another Day” which had the audience discombobulated with anticipation for the carefully calculated “Stringier Things” themed set of covers that would follow.