Once again, the Patch, Spirit Lake and Campground stages split up the audience with a variety of peak performers. Standouts amongst the numerous options were The Motet, who crafted a designer set of Rocky Mountain funk for the Amphitheatre, while Thriftworks followed the previous night’s fire-domed set with an afternoon jump-off at the Patch. Adding yet another layer to the mosaic, Rebelution administered a dose of roots reggae that had everyone swaying in unison. Meanwhile at the Patch, the Brit-pop duo Oh Wonder stitched yet another genre into the Hulaween quilt, giving fans a taste of their catchy originals. The final round of shows on these secondary stages pitted up-and-coming Chicago electronic duo Louis the Child against newly instated superband The Claypool-Lennon Delirium who mesmerized a hard listening audience with a brooding set of feverish psychedelic sludge, one that included the uncanny pairing of Primus’ “Southbound Pachyderm” with the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
As they did the two evenings prior, the String Cheese Incident put on their big shoes and held down the Meadow for the bulk of the day. Taking the stage a little earlier for a 3:00 set, the battle-tested jamsters got down to brass tacks once more with “Song In My Head.” On a night when SCI enlisted a number of friends to lend a hand, Tyler Grant of Grant Farm was the first, helping to nail down “Get Tight,” a new tune he co-wrote with SCI bassist Keith Moseley. The first set ended with a blistering “Rain>BollyMunster” pairing that had the battle-weary crowd bouncing like astronauts to Michael Kang’s cosmic fiddle work.
Paying tribute to their bluegrass backstory, SCI invited the whole Travelin’ McCoury gang up for the start of their seventh and final Hulaween humdinger. They led off with the oft-covered Stanley Brothers’ classic “How Mountain Girls Can Love,” dusted off the traditional folk ballad “Shady Grove,” then tackled the Rusty Wier tune “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance.” More rousing jams and sit-ins followed as Dominic Lalli, of Big Gigantic notoriety, and Joey Porter, from The Motet, joined SCI for a sexy strut through “Freedom Jazz Dance,” then Jeremy Salken, also from Big G, came out for the “Round the Wheel > Percussion” segment before Dom Lalli returned for the String Cheese Incident’s final sendoff, laying down sax on the boundary-defying rager “Beautiful,” a fitting finale as the tune perfectly encapsulated the eclectic Hulaween adventure in one nugget.
After Sunday headliners The Claypool-Lennon Delirium and the String Cheese Incident tore through Hulaween, it was up to festival closers Twiddle and Big Gigantic, featuring the Motet, to clean up the debris. Vermont trailblazers Twiddle packed it in for the final time at the much beloved Spirit Lake stage, opening with “Subconscious Prelude,” a lyrical, piano-led ballad which bled into the saucy reggae-dressed number “Jamflowman.” The alchemic foursome tested their improvisational limits, only walking out five songs for the entire set which also included the uptempo “Doinkinbonk,” guitarist Mihali Savoulidis’ vocal romp “Every Soul” and one of 2016’s trippiest new releases, the no holds barred headbanger “Blunderbuss.”
Meanwhile, over at main stage, Boulder-based livetronica duo Big Gigantic, featuring members the Motet, was busy taking the opposite approach as Twiddle, helicoptering through a dizzying magazine of new material, standard jams and radio hits that had the Meadow breathing hard and screaming for more. Highlights from the set included a combination starting with a remix of Kanye West’s “Get Em High” which moved into the new song “Highly Possible” and was followed by 2014’s “Blue Dream” and a soaring take on Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s “All the Way Up.” Big G also paid homage to SCI’s Rickroll prank by wheeling out Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but instead of merely teasing it, they let it ride and added a drum jam to boot. In bringing it to a smashing finish, Big G whipped the audience into a frenzy one last time with new songs “Miss Primetime” and “All of Me,” then closed with the always raucous “Touch the Sky,” sending the cast of Hulaween characters out of the upside down and back into the real world again.