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Hinterland Day 3

by Sarah Poultney

At High Noon, the final day of Hinterland begins under the sweltering midday sun. Hinterlanders run up and down the hills to inflate air chairs, and people swarm to the stage for the first performance of the day.

Elizabeth Moen  Photo by Sarah Poultney

Elizabeth Moen
Photo by Sarah Poultney

University of Iowa alumna Elizabeth Moen kicked off the day with a sultry voice that delivers her musical tales of running into an ex or grinding your teeth. Despite the simple origins of her songs, they work their way to a deeper meaning of anxiety, of pride, of love. As a request, though she “would’ve played it anyways,” Moen performed the song “Red” off of the album A Million Miles Away. The performance featured vocals from not only Moen but a solo and backing vocals from University of Iowa senior Elly Hofmaier of Elly H. (and the Sexy Boys).

The Nude Party followed with a set of borderline-punk songs that featured alternating vocals between band members, retro styles, and bleached hair. The group’s music and vibe stand for just about everything the punk aesthetic usually produces. Because of this, the group’s name is somewhat literal, and their notoriety among law enforcement in their hometown has them continually touring.

Michael and Tanya Trotter of The War and Treaty Photo by Sarah Poultney

Michael and Tanya Trotter of The War and Treaty
Photo by Sarah Poultney

Nashville-based Ruston Kelly, husband of Kacey Musgraves, offered the audience some of his southern influenced music, as well as a cover of “Teenage Dirtbag.” While the Nashville sound is evident, it can be challenging to pinpoint the genre of Kelly’s music due to his extensive list of influences.

The War and Treaty brought a vibrancy to their performance that breathed life into the audience, enthusiastic whoops, screams, and praises to the heavens bringing smiles to their faces. Michael’s sunglasses came off, and the audience screamed; Tanya kicked up her skirt, strutted around the mic stand to enthusiastic roars. The husband and wife embraced and sang to each other before leaning toward the delighted fans. Michael and Tanya Trotter’s soul vocals seeped into the hearts of their audience, drawing them in with words of longing, of vulnerability. That vulnerability, the couple says, is what they seek to communicate with and bring out in their audiences.

Brent Cobb delivered a classic country set sporting a bright orange hat emblazoned with the name of Hinterland alum Willie Nelson. Band Dawes delivered a roots-rock performance that had fans riling themselves up in preparation for the headliners.

Maggie Rogers Photo by Sarah Poultney

Maggie Rogers
Photo by Sarah Poultney

Maggie Rogers came onstage to fans chanting her name in anticipation of the high-energy performer. The 25-year-old dazzled, covered in brown suede and pink tassels that swirl as she twirls, complete with a beaded rainbow necklace that gives off summer camp vibes. Rogers is a force to be reckoned with, delivering addictive vocals and dance beats as she zips and bops across the stage, grinning ear to ear, long hair whipping around her in waves. She was overcome with emotion when the audience chanted her name, voicing their love during a break between songs. She introduced her final song with a “very very very very important question: are you all registered to vote?!”

To finish off the festival in style was Brandi Carlile, who bopped alongside twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth. She joked she had asked them to marry her and play together for the rest of their lives. An audience member shouted, “We love you, Brandi!” and was met with a bright grin and thanks from Carlile. Carlile’s performance transitioned from a high energy start to the tale of “Fulton County Jane Doe” in Georgia. Carlile sang and talked things out with the audience in such an endearing way that it’s no surprise the amphitheater was packed until the last notes of Hinterland.