The Governors Ball, Randalls Island, New York, NY June 7-9, 2013

Splashed with mud several times to the face, drudging through an ankle-high river of mud, the first day of the Governors Ball gave new meaning to a sloppy outing.

Friday’s main acts —Kings of Leon and the electronic dance music act Pretty Lights — both had to suspend Friday’s closing performances.  A rep for the festival stated that “due to high winds and unsafe stage conditions,” were the cause of the cancelation.  Governors Ball has just stated this afternoon that that the bands suspended Friday night set has been rescheduled for the following evening.

During DJ Dillon Francis’s set, the rain had an added benefit:  People were dancing in the rain, taking their clothes off, making- out profusely, jumping and fist-pumping in the air. “Dancing in the rain makes us feel like kids again,” said Francis, and that certainly was true; there was this sense of absolute freedom.

Dillon Francis

Another crowd favorite Reignwolf, is a blues-rock trio who burst onto the stage with screaming emotion and charisma. Guitarist and singer Jordan Cook hooks you immediately with his soulful vocals.  The band delivered great jams like “Lonely Sunday” and “Mandolin Sun” and rocked out a sweet cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”  To end their set, like true rock stars, Jordan Cook plays his guitar in the rain, showing off those chunkier, power-chord rhythms, and then flings the wet guitar in the air. They owned it. At the end of their set, everyone kept asking one another “who was that on stage… I want more!”

Mostly known for her R&B and soulful presence, Erykah Badu’s show Friday was heavily hip-hop influenced, while hyping the crowd with beats samples from M.I.A. “Bad Girls,” and Kanye West “Good Morning”. Badu also bused out well-known crowd-pleasers such as “Window Seat” and “Love of My Life,” she also perform a flawless cover of Aaliyah’s 2002 hit single, “Rock the Boat.”

A muddy nightmare was Randall’s Island Saturday as festival goers sloshed around mud puddles to get from stage to stage to see a day that was filled with great hip-hop. Azealia Banks never fails to turn heads as she strutted on stage in a neon cut out jumpsuit, while kicking-off her electrifying set with fan favorite “212,” her latest single “Yung Rapunxel, while also including the “Harlem Shake” into her set.

Kendrick Lamar one of the main highlights on Saturday as he performed a very interactive set, engaging his audience handily.  Lamar played all of his hits including, “Money Trees,” “Poetic Justice,” “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and one of his older songs, “P&P” and, of course, closing with “Swimming Pools (Drank).”


Last to take the stage was Nas, who receiving a warm welcome from his fans chanting, “Nas!” as he walked on stage.  Nas performed a substantial selection of songs from “Life is Good,” including “Bye Baby,” in honor of Amy Winehouse, “Cherry Wine,” the very personal, “Daughters,” and “The Don.” Busting out favorites, including “The World Is Ours” “New York State of Mind,” “Represent,” “The World is Ours,” “Sweet Dreams” ” and “Life’s a Bitch,” we chanted, “Life’s a bitch and then you die; that’s why we get high,” and “If I Ruled the World.” Nas continued to rule the night with his guitarist shredding the guitar, to the rock remix of “Hip Hop is Dead.” With such an epic performance it’s safe to say hip-hop is not dead.

On Sunday, Mother Nature finally gave Governors Ball attendees a break with sun-filled skies and warm weather. Cold War Kids’ alluring new song “Miracle Mile” from their latest album Dear Miss Lonely Hearts should be a staple for future shows filled with guitar and piano-heavy sounds and contagious hooks.  And let’s not forget, the 2007 fan favorite “Hang Me Up to Dry.”

Demanding attention over on the main-stage was Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis, skipping around stage, walking into the crowd between songs with his guitar playing frenetic math-core riffs.  . Funky dance-punk tunes kept the audience bouncing up and down singing along to “My Number” and “Olympic Airways.” Theband closed their riveting live set with “Two Steps, Twice.”

The atmosphere grew somber once Grizzly Bear took the stage.  Solemn jazzy sounds resonated the air during “Sleeping Ute,” from their album “Shields,” while their single “Two Weeks,” received the strongest reception.

When Kanye West, the man of the hour, finally hit the stage (twenty-minutes late, but we’ll forgive him) thousands crushed toward the front to witness the best hour and a half of artistic expression. He opened with “Black Skinhead” and later on with “New Slaves.” Kanye played all of his greatest hits – “Heartless,” “Diamonds,” “All of the Lights,”  “Flashing Lights”  “Jesus Walks” and “Clique”.

He delivered a show where the sounds were not just audible, but visually captivating.  Kanye debuted new songs from his upcoming sixth album “Yeezus” out June 18. As the show went on, the very outspoken Kanye went on one of his epic rants, this time about the radio industry: ”But honestly, at this point, when I listen to radio, that ain’t what I wanna be no more,” he continued, “At this point, I could give a fuck about selling a million records … at this point, I don’t really give a fuck bout outside opinions.”   How can one not love this man’s honesty?  We all can’t wait to see what else he has to say on the new album.

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