And I’m spent:
Another trip over the Robert F. Kennedy bridge and another day of the Governors Ball, this time with a more rock centric program for the throngs making the trek from all around the world. As with Saturday, the final day of the festival featured no overlapping sets allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere as there weren’t six concurrently running stages to run to.
Freelance Whales took the Hype Machine Stage early in the day with their weather appropriate brand of breezy Pop-Rock. The band moved seamlessly from instrument to instrument displaying their dynamic abilities as a unit.
Electro-rockers Phantogram were up next over on the Honda Stage with its bass rattling the multicolored balloon rainbow tethered to a fence nearby, in honor of the celebrated Pride Day. Ambient synth and guitar made for a complimentary launching pad for singer Sarah Barthel’s voice to soar. With a touring drummer in tow, the Phantogram duo played off each other both in verse and energy.
Cults brought the perfect sound to accompany the mid-afternoon beach towel-squatting crowd. The New York-native Indie-Pop group ran through its best material from their eponymos debut, including ”Abducted,” “Go Outside,” and “Most Wanted,” with a powerful xylophone-tinged presentation.
“That’s my family back there. That’s my mom and my brother,” said singer Madeleine Follin while gesturing out into the crowd.
Devendra Banhart’s hippie flavor was met with the ideal amount of sunshine and floral dresses back over on the Honda Stage. The singer songwriter played a relatively short set packing in plenty of great examples of his signature croon.
Back across the grounds, Built To Spill played an impressive show worthy of their influential Indie-Rock legend. Doug Martsch kept a steady rhythm with an ever tapping leg going from soft to loud in stretches with great intensity.
A day removed from performing to an equally receptive audience in Atlantic City as part of the Metallica-curated Orion Festival, Cage the Elephant brought a wild, heavy effort to their early evening set. The always entertaining Matthew Schultz growled and head banged all throughout the band’s high energy rock n roll showcase that included cuts spanning the the outfit’s catalogue including the Pixies influenced “Around My Head” and “Shake Me Down,” as well as the bluesified setlist staples that are “In One Ear” and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.”
The hotly anticipated appearance of fierce-tempered Fiona Apple kicked off with an arresting rendition of “Fast As You Can.” From there on the impassioned vocal talents of Apple and the pitch perfect backing band brought the songstress’ discography to complete realization. Every cantankerous movement by Apple was followed by an extremely attentive festival crowd.
The Texas-based Atmospheric-Rock collective Explosions In The Sky followed on The Honda Stage accompanied by an ominous, cloud-covered New York City sunset. EITS delivered with a progressively building, swirling wall of instrumentation never letting the soundtrack drop at any moment.
After several minutes of ambient rainfall and thunder the Hype Machine Stage closers Modest Mouse brought their northwestern Alt-Rock with two percussionists and a worthy light show in tow.
“They usually schedule us here during a storm. It seems to not be raining out so that’s cool,” said Isaac Brock, referencing the band’s last rain soaked NYC appearances, right before ripping into “Fire It Up”.
The band proceeded to crank out gem after gem with the swaying and dancing crowd responding most to Modest Mouse classics like “Bukowski,” “Gravity Rides Everything,” and “Dramamine”.
Both days of the Governors Ball ultimately bowed to Beck’s headlining slot which he opened with “Black Tambourine” in stylish cowboy garb. Dovetailing in and out of different stages and aural aesthetics from his varied career output, Beck engaged the hyper-excited masses with a no-nonsense, head bobbing rock show…guitar riff chugging center stage.
“We have a band of musicians who can’t whistle so we need a little help on this one,” cued Beck leading into the country call intro of “Sissyneck”.
Lighters flicked during the mid-set spacial acoustic “The Golden Age” while rocketing right back into fuzz-guitar crowd shakers like “Devil’s Haircut” and the indelible “Loser”.
Walking back to the bus to the final strokes of “Where It’s At” and “E-Pro” the resounding notion echoed that the Governors Ball had achieved its goal in establishing itself as a uniquely organized, annual NY metro area festival force.