Our third stint at Governors Ball was an overall success. Last year all our energy was spent surviving the mud while trying to catch/cover as many bands as possible. This time, perfect weather all weekend and no work responsibilities helped us use our energy for other things like food adventures, shaded naps, deciding between which acts would soundtrack our napping/meals (most of them) and which acts we absolutely could not miss.
The first day of the fest had the best weather, the least people and the most acts we wanted to see. Things got off to rough start with an overzealous bag checker but quickly went on the up and up with some tacos, our first soft serve and chill vibes courtesy of country crooner Jason Isbell. The masses gathered (the most beautiful POCs we’ve ever seen included) for Janelle Monae's set. It was so high energy, her brass section blew us half way across the field which was alright because we were headed there to get mellow with Washed Out anyway. Back at the main stage, Julian Casablancas introduced us to the glory of his devil-may-care stage presence with the Voidz and later TV on the Radio came on and anything that got us down ceased to exist. One of the top live sets of the whole fest, the band electrified the Big Apple stage, everyone wild for their NYC comeback. Tunde almost knocked us on our bottoms with his hip work, could. not. handle. it. Across the way, Damon Albarn broke and sent our hearts a-flutter, all in one fell swoop at the Honda Stage. We stayed for three songs and had a hard time walking away from such lovely sounds for Outkast. Making it just in time for “Rosa Parks,” the Atlanta duo sent us all down memory lane for their highly anticipated headlining set. We danced, laughed at horrible white people dancing (and their odd fashions) and winced at inappropriate drunken behavior. Hungry and tired of the spectacle we finished off listening from a distance and engaged on our favorite end-of-day ritual at Gov Ball: munching on one of the world’s best pizza slices from Pie for the People.
The summer sun was cruel and had us chasing shade. Tanlines and Luke’s lobster rolls made a good combination until technical issues ruined their set. The sweltering heat made us give up on watching Disclosure whose dance party would’ve been better off at a later slot (like the one reserved by a ‘getting turned up to death' artist that headlined that same stage).
A Bollywood flashmob and some more soft serve later, The Strokes gave everyone what they wanted and the crowd took it in without a care. Musically, the reunited band was tight but they seemed very fractured on stage — each dude in this own world — and it was somewhat disturbing. At the end of the day, we casually caught Spoon at sundown and a bit of Jack White's impressive rock show during our date with PFTP.
We got down with a Odd Future double-header with Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator and some break-your-tooth crispy crunch of Handsome Hank’s fish and chips. Tyler’s self-awareness: I don’t really like festivals because people aren’t always there to see me but you all seem like nice people. I’m Tyler. I think I have less than an hour to yell onstage; and crowd heckling: All your photos suck! had us in stitches. Later, the worst summer festival personalities killed our vibe at James Blake, making us go off after the banging live version of “CMYK” and watch the show off on the patchy grass. At least we got to see rapper Yung Coconut (pictured below), who came straight from Thailand exclusively for Blake’s set.
Anyway… the crowd for Interpol was thankfully really cool making New York’s best dressed band’s flawless homecoming set a near perfect experience. We couldn’t have asked for more out of our first Interpol show together: The band was psyched to be back playing fan favorites and three great new songs from El Pintor as the sun set. Paul Banks was the happiest and most vocal we’ve ever seen him, absolutely chuffed at the audience going nuts during “Slow Hands” and a security guard that encouraged the crowd to cheer as loud as possible for an encore. Interpol happily complied returning for not one but three songs before riding off into the night. All that was left was to recount the magic we just experienced while savoring our final slices of pizza heaven.
Side note: The crispy, spicy and cheesy goodness of Pie For the People’s slices weren’t the only food making us happy at Gov Ball. For all deliciousness our bellies would like to thank Pommes Frites, King of Pops (Thai Tea pop is too good!) Free Ben & Jerry’s AmeriCone, Cafe Habana’s Mexican Corn, Brooklyn Soda Works —every flavor available was just so refreshing!
Also, thanks to Happy Birthday Man, Cage and Travolta, Jeff Goldblum and Raging Arnold for making us laugh whenever you were hanging around.
The morning after we were left aching and exhausted but missing all the fun and eats we enjoyed so much.
See ya next year, Governors Ball! (If these aging bones can handle it!)
Words by Cheep and photos by Snail.