Ryan Vasta shares his experience at NYC's Governor's Ball with us.
Governors Ball had returned to New York City, this time, with the good graces of some gorgeous weather. Without the monsoon rains and mud that plagued last year’s fest, it was truly a great weekend, with nearly every performance as amazing as the weather.
The festivities kicked off on Friday, including a fantastically funky set from Janelle Monae. She easily delivered one of the most energetic early main-stage sets, delivering sweet R&B hooks, as well as funky soul jams. French alt-rockers Phoenix followed later on the main-stage. Their set covered their entire career, throwing the large crowd into a dancing frenzy. In one of the coolest moments of the weekend, lead singer Thomas Mars spent the encore in the crowd, singing as he floated and walked across the hands of the audience, finishing the band’s set with their hit “1901.” Friday’s headliner was Outkast, who opened with the frenetic “B.O.B.” The duo blazed through their set with amazing intensity, reminding everyone how many hits they had accumulated over their 20-year career, including “ATLiens,” “Rosa Parks” and of course, “Hey Ya.” Their band was on-point too, providing the perfect accompaniment to Outkast’s patented southern hip-hop sound.
Saturday only added to the fun. Chance The Rapper had a great set, as usual, backed by his band, The Human Experience. Chance had the Gotham Tent packed to the gills, as the crowd rapped along with him on every song, from those on his most recent mixtape “Acid Rap,” to older, more obscure tracks. The highlight came when Chance sang his take on the PBS classic children’s show, “Arthur.” Saturday also treated us to great sets by Disclosure and The Glitch Mob, before the much-anticipated return of New York’s very own, The Strokes. Amassing what was the biggest crowd all weekend, The Strokes rocked their set in every way. The band clearly hadn’t missed a beat, as they played through tracks like “Taken for a Fool” and “Someday,” as well as a couple of newer tracks from “Comedown Machine” and “Angels.” Julian Casablancas was filled with energy, repeatedly thanking the crowd, before the band came back for their encore, “New York City Cops.” Later that night, Jack White played his rocking, heavy, bluegrass-infused blues, hot off the heels of his newest album, “Lazaretto.” The new songs got as enthusiastic a reaction as some of White’s classics, and his band, which included a fiddle player and slide guitarist; spoke to White’s ability to choose band mates that complement his own skills.
Sunday marked the end of the festival. BLEACHERS delivered a very impressive, early main-stage set, and the rest of the day was bolstered by great sets from Frank Turner and Foster the People. The Gotham Tent was filled with energy on Sunday, thanks to AlunaGeorge and Empire of The Sun. Naturally heavy on tracks from her latest album, “Body Music,” AlunaGeorge locked the crowd into a steady groove, reaching a high point when she played a slightly different rendition of “White Noise.” Empire of The Sun had a later set, putting on an incredibly fun show as their Bowie-esque, electronic-infused space rock put the crowd into a great mood. Vampire Weekend had the honors of closing the festival; playing a set full of hits that had the crowd on their feet and moving from start to finish.
Overall, Governors Ball provided a great weekend. The crowd was made up of fun people who truly loved music; there was plenty of space to sit and relax; the food was delicious, provided by some of the best restaurants and food trucks in the Five Boroughs, and as long as they can keep delivering a great lineup, Governors Ball is well on its way to becoming the nation’s premier non-camping festival.