Seeing growth stem from something you’re passionate about will certainly stir many emotions within you. The Governors Ball Music Festival is one of the events I was looking forward to last year. Mostly for its inaugural year and also because of the people putting the festival on, but most importantly I knew it would end up being a truly unforgettable time.
Fast forward a year later and I found myself being even more excited for the festivals second year. The line-up featured not only bigger acts but also featured the festival moved from Governors Island to Randall’s Island and split into two days as opposed to one. On the first day the mood of having a carefree time was damn near tangible due to the crowds output of excitement. Acts such as Walk The Moon, Duck Sauce, Penguin Prison, and Santigold not only caused the crowd to dance throughout their sets but also to continue their dancing all over the festival grounds. It was impossible for the sheer mood of the festival to not overtake you and seeing such a great attitude from thousands of people was a seriously grand site.
The major stand out acts of Saturday was certainly Major Lazer and Chromeo. Major Lazer practically demolished the Hype stage with their coordinated yet unpolished attack of fun. The groups new hype man did his rounds throughout the entire crowd that occupied the Hype stage while his dancers climbed the stages rafters and danced vigorously on top of the amplifiers as well. He also found the time to get inside a gigantic hamster ball and rolled his way onto the crowd! It was a lightning fast set that was filled with electronic beats, jumping, hand clapping, and people simply having an incredible time. Chromeo bought style and infectious arrangements to the crowd of Governors Ball. Guitarist/Vocalist David Macklovitch sported a Hollywood movie star smile as he strutted the stage while shredding away on his golden Les Paul while his partner P-Thug kept the crowd entertained with his golden grin and keyboard skills.
Saturday evening headliners Passion Pit & Kid Cudi ended the night with sets filled with energy and crowds that were clearly into it. Passion Pit bought their new album, Gossamer, to life and embraced the fact that they had clearly been missed. Cudi suffered some mixing issues but his energy and swagger greatly compensated for this.
The mood of Sunday was clearly different as the day went on. It was a bit tamer as compared to Saturday but despite that the music lovers at Governors Ball could be seen clearly having a great time. It might have been due to shoegazing acts such as Phantogram and The Jezabels keeping the crowd completely transfixed during their sets. The most powerful performances came from both Modest Mouse and Fiona Apple, two acts that were quite possibly the most anticipated acts of the entire festival and judging from the reception they received it does not seem like either act disappointed their fans.
My personal favorites for Sunday were definitely the more straight-forward rock bands such as Cage The Elephant and Turf War. Cage have been a constant staple of what a live band should be and their set at Governors Ball was only clarified that. Front-man Matt Schultz notified the crowd of how the bands management wanted them to pull from the gig due to his loss of voice, Schultz gladly told the crowd how he told their management “FUCK THAT!” and crowd surfed right into the bands second tune. This was Cage’s last show of the year and the fact they wanted it to take place in New York City only made it that much more of a memorable set.
Turf War blew me away with their raw energy and quick guitars. They’re the type of band you’d hope to find in a dark broken down venue with beer all over the floor but to see them completely own a festival stage like that was truly mind blowing. This is definitely a band you will hear more about and rightfully so, they’re a fucking brilliant yet straight-forward punk band. It doesn’t get better then that.
One act that blew me away and was also a grand surprise was Explosions In The Sky. I’ve heard about the band for years but never checked them out until Governors Ball. They’re set was filled with layered instrumental tunes that felt as though they were being arranged right before my eyes as watching them. It probably sounds quite cliché to say their tracks felt to represent stories but with Explosions In The Sky their literally wasn’t any other way to describe what it’s like seeing them live. They’re an immensely talented group and if you love remarkable live shows then you need to see them live.
Beck ended the night with a highly anticipated set filled with fan favorites from almost all his albums. Governors Ball 2012 was a bigger festival anyone else could’ve had anticipated and seeing New York City have a festival like this can only make the city proud. I am confident in saying that people will definitely be anticipating the weekend of Governors Ball for years to come.
This review was written/photographed by Ken Grand-Pierre, a writer/photographer/graphic designer/bear fighter in New York. If you want to see more photos from this show and more be sure to visit his flick (where you can find full photo galleries of this event & others). Also if you like what you see and you want to hear about more than be sure to follow on twitter and tumblr
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