Yesterday kicked off the ninth annual Governors Ball on New York City’s Randall’s Island.
The early afternoon welcomed performances from Still Woozy, Cautious Clay and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Followed by midday performances from Jessie Reyes, Hippo Campus, The Internet, Mitski and Blood Orange.
Hippo Campus’ breezy brand of late-night-talk-show guitar pop drew the masses to the American Eagle stage, despite a decidedly early set time. There was nothing particularly exciting about the set or the songs- it was pretty music played perfectly by pretty people- but it was the high-water-mark in terms of attendance for guitar-based music, a telling sign for the demographics of this young festival.
Mitski’s performance was an affirmation of the various dualities in her artistic identity- equal parts sensual and distant, casual and capital-P Performance, her riveting set found her sitting at and sliding over a plain white desk placed at the very front of the stage while she delivered perfectly-rendered versions of the songs off Be The Cowboy. The stagefront was her own private fourth wall, and she by turns broke and rebuilt it, sometimes appearing to perform for us and sometimes only for herself. All philosophy aside, though, it became apparent that the kids don’t love Mitski as much as the internet does- her crowd was by no means small, but it paled in comparison to The Internet, who were playing on Main Stage at the same time.
Dev Hynes didn’t have to prove a thing during his set. A year into performing Negro Swan live, Dev has solidified into this generation’s closest analogue to Prince, comfortable and sensuous and most importantly capable of delivering consistent jams. With the sun low behind the Bacardi Stage, Dev guided the crowd through the surreal, dreamlike transition into night, roaming the lush undergrowth of his immaculate backing band, his glimmery painted face on the big screen appearing like a totem of good tidings.
The Voidz started late with a rather long soundcheck, in appropriate Casablancas fashion. The crowd was small, with the majority of the festival headed to Lil Wayne’s set. Decked out in neon paint that turned them into a neon glowing raver band, The Voidz had a great set, which surprisingly translated pretty well in a festival setting. It was an exciting dip into the performance Casablancas will put on during Sunday’s headling Strokes performance.
The rest of the night was headlined by Lil Wayne, Gesaffelstein and Tyler, The Creator.