Governors Ball Review 2014

The Governors Ball Music Festival, located on Randall’s Island in New York City, can be considered amazing simply because of its extremely close proximity to Manhattan. Although it is still a relatively new and unestablished concert, Gov Ball has managed to draw in some impressive performers over the years since its inception in 2011. This three day adventure was filled with food served from trucks, painful sunburns, and most importantly, awesome music.

Day 1: Friday

Grimes was glorious and adorable, with her hair blowing in the wind. She was a great choice to kick off the weekend. Her gurgling voice and sick beats got the crowd dancing as the sun went down on the Gotham Tent.

Outkast were unforgettable. Their projector visuals were both spectacular and incredibly bizzare, and at one point Andre was rapping in a box in the middle of the stage that looked like he was inside of a vagina. They played over twenty songs but the set never dragged on. So many people came to Governors Ball just for Outkast, and they disappointed no one. It was the perfect show.

Day 2: Saturday

Chance the Rapper’s set had two main issues. First, the festival had underestimated his popularity and put him at the smallest stage, the Gotham Stage. As a result there were way too many people there. Second, the music was not loud enough. For most songs, the crowd had to listen to the people next to them to figure out what song he was performing. Chance himself was fantastic, though, and even got his jostling and overheated fans to forget their problems and wave their arms together along to his feel-good tune ‘Everybody’s Something’. A massive roar from the crowd introduced ‘Juice’ later in the set, proving to everyone (especially the festival’s organizers) that Chance the Rapper’s popularity should not be underestimated.

Disclosure put on an impressive performance, with a full-fledged light show on the Honda Stage. Although the visual effects were slightly lost in the brightness of the setting sun, the music itself more than made up for it. The Lawrence brothers’ electric beats boomed across the field, sending the crowd into a dancing frenzy.

Julian Casablancas performed twice that weekend, once on Friday as Julian Casablancas and the Voidz, and again on Saturday as part of The Strokes. It was perhaps this back-to-back performing that made Julian a reticent performer on the second day, rarely speaking to his audience between songs. Somehow despite this, however, The Strokes put on a very fun show. They played everyone’s favorites, allowing the mostly 20-something crowd to reminisce about the teenage years during which they listened to “Someday” on repeat while getting drunk off stolen beers in their friend’s basement.

Jack White’s performance was one for the books. Jack was dressed in a crazily patterned shirt, looking like his usual slightly deranged self. The rest of his band looked like they were from an asylum on the set of American Horror Story. The old man controlling the theremin had a fantastic grey mustache and wild hair that stuck out in every direction. The guys on the drums and the keyboard were wild-eyed and kept manically shaking their heads back and forth to the music. A TV screen sat on the stage playing static, and the gorgeous violin player was the only one who didn’t look like she was clinically insane. The whole visual composition combined with Jack’s drawling molasses vocals resulted in an incredible concert experience, and created the sensation of slowly going insane, but in a good way.

Day 3: Sunday

Wild Belle’s Natalie Bergman is an incredibly charming performer. She looks, as my friend said, “straight out of a Madewell catalogue”, and sings like a younger, girlier Amy Winehouse. Her and her brother Elliot performed their well-known song “Keep You” which got the crowd excited, but mostly no one could keep their eyes off of the stunning lead singer. She crooned over the funky trumpet music, mesmerizing everyone with her raspy but effortlessly sweet voice.

A sea of teenage boys in bucket hats shuffled to the Honda Stage to see Earl Sweatshirt at 3pm, as the sun was glaring down in full force. Taco and Earl took the stage and instantly won over the crowd with their boyish charm. The crowd was fully riled up when Tyler The Creator suddenly jumped on stage. The two rappers exchanged a few words and then dove right into their next song, “Orange Juice”. Although it is a relatively old Odd Future song, the wild energy emitted by these two performers made the audience go berserk.

Then, all at once, everyone was sprinting in the opposite direction of the stage, a mass exodus of men and women clad in Golf Wang attire. They headed towards the Big Apple Stage on the other side of the field, where Tyler The Creator would be performing in a matter of minutes.

Tyler The Creator will never be matched by any performer solely due to the raw energy he possesses. Somehow this asthmatic performer, without the aid of drugs or any other stimulant is able to leap around any stage without effort. A few minutes into his set, Earl and Taco joinedTyler and Jasper on stage, and the show really kicked off. Inexplicably they performed “Orange Juice” again, and Jasper was forced to do his verse on “Oldie”, despite his many objections. Tylerhad something for everyone, performing only bits of each song so he could fit in all the favorites. Highlights of the performance include Tyler dissing the VIP section for being too lavish, and complaining that the stage smelled “like dookie”. Overall his performance was supremely entertaining and hilarious – everything you could ask for from Odd Future.

Words: Sophie Vandenbroucke


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