Speak Into My Good Eye

Governors Ball 2013 Day 1: Crystal Castles Made Things Sort Of OK

Mike Mehalick June 8, 2013 Live, Reviews No Comments

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Woof, sheesh, and other sigh related expressions. What the actual fuck happened yesterday? To those of you who ordered delivery, snuggled up on the couch, and made it through Tropical Storm Andrea in style, and congratulations, you made the right choice.

Yesterday the 2013 and expanded iteration of the Governors Ball Music Festival opened its gates and welcomed unwitting and unprepared summer revelers to a mud caked, flood zone wasteland formerly known as Randall’s Island. We’ll just, as affectionately as possible, refer to it as being “in the shit”. A good majority of the people who made it out, were grossly under-dressed, as much as an Urban Outfitters sundress is appropriate for working out on a fisherman’s wharf.

Spirits were as damp as the socks in everyone’s shoes, with flashes of moments were things weren’t good, or great, just OK. Apparently there was music.

St. Lucia did their best and received a healthy, though waning enthusiasm back from the soggy masses while the walk to Polica on the other side of the park really hammered home just how ridiculous the whole experience was going to be. At one point there was an actual lake that separated the two fields of stages with people being forced to stomp through to see their favorite acts or even just call it and go home. Mid-way through Polica’s set, which triumphed with material old and yet to be released, a giant oak of a man fell ass backwards and passed out. Nobody yelled “timber”, but you didn’t need any warning to know this was going to be an absolute shit-show.

Dinosaur Jr. took the main stage with a sea of grey J. Mascis wigs out to greet them. The ear splitting, fuzz rock trio soloed and thrashed through “Feel The Pain” and a cover of “Just Like Heaven”. J. looked absolutely miserable bundled up in a storm coat with the hood pulled over.

By the time it was Best Coast’s turn to try and bring some summery, West Coast cheer to the damp revelers, things really started to get cruel. I had a full two piece, yellow rain suit with suspender raised pants and a coat with a hood and I couldn’t handle it. There were people with much, much less on still trying to salvage their escape from reality. Except instead of “Woodstock” it was more “The Perfect Storm”. Best Coast was alright.

It took all of my begging to get my compadre Jaclyn not to leave, and how could you blame her for wanting to go? I left her in the only refuge area in the Skyy Vodka Tent to catch Of Monsters Of Men which took me about 20 minutes to get through the “Neverending Story” level swamp fracas. You could have legitimately lost your horse best friend on this day.

Crystal Castles was really the only enjoyable point of the day, and that’s largely because it was a self contained, warm, rain-less electro-war zone. In the daylight and given the circumstances, this was the least nightmarish Crystal Castles performance imaginable. Everyone was just happy to be under cover.

Then Jaclyn and I spent about two hours waiting underneath the tent housing rows of porta potties. Once the sun went down, things just spiraled way out of control. It was pretty clear Beach House had no intentions of going on, but either contractual obligations or the insane people waiting at the front of the stage culled them out for a shortened set that sounded as angry and despondent as a Beach House set could be. I ventured out to catch “Lazuli” and “Norway” with the rain causing a visible blur between the stage and the still remaining concert freaks.

Then the skies really opened up and the harsh reality began to set in for Pretty Lights and Kings of Leon fans that things just weren’t going to work out this time. What a fucking shame. Imagine waiting through all that bullshit to finally get to the act you largely came to see, and then have that happen. It was the right move, but one that came about eight hours too late.

I really hope people spread the word about what happened “in the shit” yesterday, because the utter disregard for attendee and paying customer safety was disgusting and staggering.

Governors Ball’s social media leading up to this hellish romp proclaimed, “Can’t wait to get weird with you in the rain!” It was weird, but not in that fun “Workaholics” way, more like in the “how could put people through this?” sort of way. And I recognize that I’m talking about a music festival and that people chose to be there, but organizers insistence led to, I’m sure, injuries, illness, and that stark, empty sense that you had been taken for a ride.

The performances were as good as they could be, the people made the best of it. I’ve been to plenty of festivals including last year’s Governors Ball, but this was some next level fuckery from some people unwilling or unable to offer refunds. Absolutely ridiculous.

That all said, I’m still going the next two days. Fat Axl tonight! And apparently KoL will play after all.

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About The Author

Mike is a graduate of the School Of Visual Arts with a BFA in Film & Video focused on screenwriting. His career stops have included editing positions at AOL, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed. He regularly contributes to a variety of outlets. Follow him @mmehalick

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