By: Elaisha Green (@elaishajade) –
The fourth annual Governors Ball kicked off with a moderate crowd milling between stages during the sunny day. Brooklyn based 4-piece Haerts opened the fest on the mainstage. In a chevron dress and with tambourine in hand, vocalist Nini Fabi crooned onto the festival grounds. They played signature hit “Wings” and new track “Too early for That”. Other indie rock acts Drowners and Kurt Vile and the Violators took over the Big Apple stage during the warm afternoon as the fest began to fill up. As the sun poured over the crowd Vile bowed over his guitar while wearing sunglasses as fans sang along to the bluegrass group’s tunes.
DJ Treadstone, who spun and scratched tunes live, joined rap duo Run The Jewels. Killer Mike and El-P’s synchronized rapping got audience members fists in the air as they rapped with a mix of bass heavy electro grunge beats. On the mainstage a choreographed extravaganza by Janelle Monae began with her sheathed in a white straightjacket while wheeled on stage to join the rest of her talented stage band who wore black and white. Backed by the chug of guitars chords from “Givin’ Em My Love”, the theatrical opening was incredible. With ‘60s reminiscent choreography the horns swelled over the audience when “Tightrope” began. Her charismatic performance was among the highlights of opening day.
Under the clear sky back at the Big Apple stage, Bastille opened with “Bad Blood” and later played a mashup of the XX’s “Angels” with TLC’s “Scrubs”. Mainstage performer Julian Casablancas called out “Time to rip this shit in half” after entering through a guitar heavy intro. While his mullet blew in the breeze, Casablancas sang robotic Daft Punk tune “Instant Crush” with distorted vocals. Sunny balloons flew over the crowd of girls wearing custom flower crowns made on site at the fest.
Across the way with flaming hair striking against her pale skin Elly Jackson of La Roux got a dance party started at the Gotham Stage. Grooving on to retro-like sax solo from “Let Me Down Gently” and later sang “Fascination”, above the cries of her fans beneath flashing strobe lights rocking circular sunnies.
With Lennon sunnies and signature red hair contrasting against her red hair La Roux front-woman Elly Jackson twirled on the Gotham Stage as a dance party ensued under the tent. Performing 30 minutes late, French pop-rock group Phoenix dominated the mainstage and opened with recent hit “Entertainment”. Their projection show burned red when popular song “Lisztomania” began and audience members waved along. Other tracks “Trying to be Cool” and “Rome” was highlights of the evening show.
Six-time GRAMMY award winning Outkast made a surprise return to the limelight with an extensive festival tour this summer. Their most recent stop was New York’s Governors Ball on June 6, which brought thousands of fans to Randall’s Island. The crowd launched into a cheer as the crimson sheath that covered a transparent cube in the middle of the stage was lifted to reveal Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan“Big Boi” Patton. The southern rappers remained in a tableau as lights flashed before them and an American flag was projected on the cube. Rocking a platinum blonde wig and a black jumpsuit blazoned with the statement ‘Art or Fart?’ Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin played homage to selling out with a sold tag dangling from his arm.
“We wanna thank ya for putting up with our shit for 20 years,” said Benjamin. With no recent releases, the band performed their roster of hit songs. During, “Aquemini” the duo reentered the cube and prowled the perimeter of the prop as blue lights strobed around them. Throughout the concert the cube projected a lion’s head, naked women and a steamy hot box with dancing weed.
Joined by a live band and choral of singers the pair ran through a medley of throwback tunes including “Player’s Ball”, “Git up Git out”, “Hootie Hoo”. Controversial track “Rosa Parks” had Patton in his element as he chanted to hands waving and fans rapping along, Janelle Monae joined them on stage during crowd favourite, “Hey Ya” and Killer Mike during closing song “The Whole World”. Radio hits “The Way you Move”, “Ms. Jackson” and “Roses” got the crowd enthusiastically chanting the lyrics.
Outkast’s next stop is the Orange Warsaw Festival in Poland. This southern duo won’t releasing new material anytime soon but they kept two decades of fandom alive