Music

8 Take Aways from the 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival

Brief bouts of rain didn't dampen the most vibrant Governors Ball yet. The fest had a lot to offer an all-ages audience. Most importantly: great performances.


Governors Ball Music Festival

City: New York
Venue: Randall's Island

With the conclusion of the 2017 edition of Governors Ball, there are a few things we can take away from the great festival weekend. Overall, the festival mixed a small percentage of somewhat big annoyances with a lot of good music and wild performances. Here are eight takeaways I garnered from the festival (in no particular order).

1. The Age of the Audience

On the first two days of the fest, relatively sunnier days, I felt older than most of the crowd. Governors Ball is all ages, and a relatively youthful bracket turned out for Lorde's performance on the first day. They were there again on the second day. But on the third day, when Tool were headlining, the crowd was noticeably older and had more people wearing black than flowers.

2. Tool

On Sunday, Tool fans stood out prominently due to the aforementioned black attire, often with the band's name on it. Maynard James Keenan, clad in riot gear, led his band from the back of the stage and unleashed a visual nightmare on the audience. The epic performance was one of the festival's highlights for sure, particularly for those who knew the music of a band that hasn't released new music since 2006.

3. Rae Sremmurd

I found myself in the Bacardi Tent on Saturday rather randomly for Rae Sremmurd after I saw a bit of the Range "pop-up" DJing at Casa Bacardi next door. Rae Sremmurd had probably the largest crowd of people watching of anyone not on the main stage. The audience surged against the rails, making it appear as if they might burst into the photo pit. Every so often (or rather too often), someone was pulled out of the mass and over the barricade to safety. The performance by the two brothers, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, was wild. They climbed the scaffolding, leading them to leap off of it, and thrashed about the stage.

4. Childish Gambino

Donald Glover's only planned performance of 2017 seemed like it could have been a farewell show too. It was only his first in North America since he released Awaken, My Love! last year and on stage, he announced his next album (date TBD) would be his last.

5. Cookie Dough is Hot Right Now

DŌ, a new NYC cookie dough cafe had the longest lines of people waiting for its sweet treats. Even at 1PM on Saturday, barely a couple of hours after the fest's doors opened, the line was extensive. I got to sample their Signature Chocolate Chip dough and found it enjoyable if not overly sweet when eating it without a proper meal.

6. Lorde

New Zealand's leading export performed a set featuring powerful set of pop including songs from her forthcoming album. She brought out Bleachers' Jack Antonoff, with whom she has been collaborating, to join her at the piano for a couple of songs, including a cover of Robyn. It was my first time seeing her live, and hearing "Team" in particular was pretty amazing, but the crowd was very exuberant when hearing "Green Light", one of my favorite tracks of 2017. Lorde fittingly ended her explosive set with green fireworks.

7. Dua Lipa

A British-based pop singer, Dua Lipa had delayed her debut album for more than half a year to get it right. Apparently, as she honed Dua Lipa, she got a tattoo of the word "patience" done. Although the album isn't perfect, it's probably my favorite pop album of the year so far, and her strong, lower register voice might have something to do with it. She had a decent sized crowd for an early Saturday set that she followed up with an album signing that probably a couple hundred people queued for.

8. Lo Moon

Going into the festival, I hadn't heard much from Lo Moon as they have only officially released one (maybe two now) song so far, "Loveless". But they were one of the surprise gems from the weekend, making their quiet music a transcendent experience. I look forward to hearing more from the band

 
Day 1

Charli XCX

Tove Lo

Michael Kiwanuka

Lorde

Majid Jordan

 
Day 2

Lo Moon

Dua Lipa

Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest

Stormzy

Stormzy

The Range

Rae Sremmund

Local Natives

Local Natives

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan

Banks

Banks

Childish Gambino

Phoenix

Phoenix

Phoenix

 
Day 3

Parquet Courts

Warpaint

Warpaint

Warpaint

Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco

The Avalanches

The Avalanches

The Avalanches

Phantogram

Phantogram

Air

Logic

Logic

Tool

Tool

Owls, Aliens, and Others

Essayist Brian Phillips is no staunch empiricist, nor does he want to shatter delusions or expose machinations. In Impossible Owls, he is content to remain in a wide-eyed and owl-ier place.

Books
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2018 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.