The sun was still bearing down hard on the beach, but the fans still filled the beach area in front of the Chevrolet Stage to capacity to watch The Roots tear it up for an hour of non-stop dance-worthy tracks on Day Two of Hangout Fest.
The Grammy-winning neo-soul hip hop band may be best known now for slow jamming the news as house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, but that was the furthest gig from anyone’s mind.
They burst onto the stage and got the crowd swaying with “The Next Movement” from their 1999 critically praised album Things Fall Apart which also spawned hit “You Got Me.” Yes, they also unloaded that goodie on the dance-ready crowd midway through the 12-song set. As The Roots progressed through their discography, you realized just how much great music Black Thought and Questlove have put out there over 14 years, 10 studio LPs, three compilation albums and one live record.
More than anything The Roots are musicians pure and simple. Their love of music practically flew off the stage into the crowd like the beads of sweat soaking everyone vibing with them from the start of each song.
They paid homage to their soul predecessors mixing in Donna Summer within an instrumental break of “You Got Me” (excuse me while I take a moment to reminisce about family cookouts in Chicago) and mashing “Get Busy” with Kool & The Gang’s 1970’s hit “Jungle Boogie.”
Feeling the love of the younger-skewing crowd, The Roots also tossed in a couple of nods toward hip hop’s future, slipping a few bars Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” and Kanye West’s “Mercy” in transitions between tracks as cheer bait.
Toward the end of their performance, as they transitioned into “The Seed (2.0)” (remember Cody ChesnuTT?!) I couldn’t help but get excited for their hometown show at Philly 4th of July Jam later this summer. If their Hangout performance is any indication, The Roots’ headliner status then will be off the charts. VH1 will be there, bringing you live coverage like we’ve been here in Gulf Shores, Alabama, plus on-demand clips and exclusive interview footage from our Hangout Hub.