Last Thursday through Sunday marked the third annual Governor’s Ball, a highly anticipated kickoff to the summer music festival season. Located at Randall’s Island, just northwest of manhattan, Governor’s Ball emerged as the preeminent summer concert in the New York area, drawing artists like Kanye West, Nas, Pretty Lights, Guns N Roses, The Avett Brothers, and a swath of other talents.
More importantly, here is an Angry Arnold head in the crowd:
Friday, June 7:
The day begins the same way that Thursday ended: fucking pouring. There was still considerable buzz and excitement throughout the city, as people had paid prime prices for these tickets and were not going to get a little rain get in the way, right?
Wrong. The walk to Randall’s Island from the 125th st station went without incident. Lines at the door are fairly long but that’s to be expected. Poncho sales are at at an all time high. People’s spirits were not as damp as their clothes.
As soon as one entered the festival, there it was: the LAKE that divided the four stages into two groups of two. People attempting to ford this river were less successful then your 8-year-old self trying to cross the Mississippi in Oregon Trail. This shit made the trenches in World War One look like a blacktop. The girls we came with left within 45 minutes. People were sinking up to their thighs in the mud. Shoes were strewn across the causeway. Many attendees had embodied the “fuck it all” attitude and opted to forego footwear altogether.
Despite this, the two artists that we at the Philo saw did manage to crush pretty hard. Dillon Francis drew a young energetic audience with his EDM beats. However, the crowd was marred by a contingent of idiotic teenagers who thought it was a great idea to throw dance parties in gale force winds and 55 degree temperatures; undoubtedly due to the cocktail of drugs they had ingested.
Young the Giant, a California-based alternative quartet put on a decent show despite rain drops that felt more like hail and a notification by event security that it was dangerous for them to stay on stage. The performance by Local Natives, an emerging indie rock group, was so poor that it doesn’t even warrant commentary. Being soaked and shivering at this point, we left and were notified soon thereafter that Pretty Lights, the Friday headliner, had been cancelled due to the weather.
Saturday, June 8th:
There was only room for improvement on Saturday, and this sentiment is well personified by this degenerate’s great attitude:
Despite the favorable weather, Randall’s Island was still absolutely torn up from the previous day’s deluge. The causeway was still treacherous. But the music and feel of the festival had turned.
The Dirty Projectors, Alt-J, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros played with a fervor that was truly their attempt to make up for Friday’s shortcomings. Kendrick Lamar lived up to the hype, and New York native Nas spit fire, but the unanimous favorite act for those who saw them was Thievery Corporation. These dudes probably had 18 people on the stage at once. Their bassist looked like Jesus rocking the fuck out. They had a sitarist. They had 5 singers at once and instruments nobody had ever seen. The performance had no gaps between songs, completely seamless for an hour and a half. In terms of musicianship and energy, these guys made other acts look bushleague.
Sunday, June 9th:
Final day of Governor’s Ball and by far the most temperate. Most of the mud was congealed, due to the combination of a diligent grounds crew and humdreds of bales of hay. The result was a pungent odor that could only be likened to that of farms in proximity to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Despite a multitude of talented acts on the festival’s final day, and despite being the biggest prick in the whole Western hemisphere (except for possibly Chris Brown), Kanye West absolutely stole the show. Not to take anything away from The XX, Grizzly Bear, the Lumineers, the Avett Brothers, Yeasayer, Gay Clark Jr, or Portugal the Man, but Kanye was just in a different league than the other acts. Granted, he is a crazy, narcissistic, fish dick loving weirdo who gave a completely bizarre mid-act monologue before singing a new song named something to the tone of “I am a God”, that this will be released on his album “Yeezus” in the coming weeks. What?
This being said, Kanye is a sick performer. The light show was ridiculous, his energy was contagious, he played all the classics. Good thing, since the only thing there is to like about Kanye is his music.