Azealia Banks, Icona Pop, Kendrick Lamar and Japandroids rock Randall's Island a day after a rain-soaked opener
Day two of Governors Ball was a much sunnier affair than the rainy start on Friday, but it was far from dry. Festival goers splashed and sludged their way through the eight-inch-deep mud that had congealed the day before as acts like Kendrick Lamar, Cut Copy, Japandroids, Icona Pop, Dirty Projectors and the rescheduled Kings of Leon played in the (still partly cloudy) sunshine.
Perhaps the most fitting cover of the day came from MS MR on the You're Doing Great stage, who sang LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yrself Clean" as part of a medley with the band's own "Ash Tree Lane."
|Governors Ball 2013 Video|
Randall's Island was significantly more crowded Saturday, due in part to the fact that single-day tickets from Friday were honored, and more sets that overlapped during the first half of the day to make room for Kings of Leon's last-minute make-up set. Founders Entertainment, the festival's producers, stayed on-site well into the morning with the band's manager and agent to work out a scenario that could accommodate the Kings' first New York City show since a sold-out engagement at Madison Square Garden in 2010. The wait for the Followill brothers (and cousin) was worth it -- the band played a lively 75-minute set that included a new song from the band's upcoming album "Mechanical Bull," out September 24.
Elsewhere, Azealia Banks played a rare U.S. festival date with brightly colored Spandex-clad dancers, previewing her oft-delayed debut album "Broke With Expensive Taste," while rock acts like Alt-J, Fucked Up and Edwarde Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros kept daytime crowds revved up. Indie collective Divine Fits, featuring members of Spoon, Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks, surprised the main stage with a cover of Frank Ocean's "Lost?" that was equal parts funky and soulful, with Britt Daniel lending the song a layer of twang that suited it well.
The night's headliner, Guns N' Roses, were coming off a valiant effort two nights prior at the Brooklyn Bowl, where frontman Axl Rose fought off what he deemed as a case of "Truck Stop Revenge." Over on Randalls Island, however, Axl and his now-solidified cast of top notch sidemen (especially Bumblefoot, Richard Fortus and of course, Tommy Stinson) A: Showed up on time (hell, a little early even!), and B: Hammered out the band's timeless hits like "Welcome to the Jungle," "Sweet Child O' Mine" and the Wings classic, "Live and Let Die" (which was also played in Brooklyn Saturday night by some guy named Paul). We'd post a photo of the band's performance, except their lead singer was wearing a t-shirt with a topless woman on it. Oh, Axl.
While GN'R's main stage spectacle raged across the way, Nas rocked in his own right. Backed by fiery a live band, the 39-year old Brooklyn native blasted through an authoritative live set that pulled verses and choruses from across his catalog and wasn't afraid to get nostalgic. Playing the Honda Stage, much of the crowd -- especially those up front -- had been awaiting Nas since Kendrick Lamar left the stage and the historically-appropriate crossover left them at a fever pitch. Playing "Life Is Good" cuts alongside "Illmatic" cuts, Nas' narrative offered a bit of the new ("I'm single again… but I"m still out of my mind") and the old ("Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in the 90s and I wanna put my shit out on cassette").
"As you guys know, we were supposed to be doing this last night, and we're supposed to be getting ready to go to London right about now," Jared Followill told the crowd during Kings Of Leon's rescheduled Saturday set, which the band was able to make up after postponing a flight to kick off its U.K. tour this week. "But some of our equipment had to go on ahead, but we're still going to give you our best show." Missing gear aside, the Followill brothers tore through a career-spanning set that included old chestnuts like "Taper Jean Girl," "The Bucket" and "Knocked Up," hits like "Use Somebody" and "Sex On Fire," and a brand-new song previewed mid-set called "Super Soaker." The latter previews upcoming album Mechanical Bull, due September 24. "I don't know my home / I don't know my face / I just wanna be there," Jared Followill sang on the hard-charging Southern-rock stomper.
An eclectic Saturday lineup meant many highlights and some tough calls with overlapping sets (Dirty Projectors, Divine Fits or Fucked Up? Kings of Leon or Kendrick Lamar? Nas or Guns N Roses? but many highlights. Check out some other notable performances of the day:
"Shout out to shorty with the boobs out," Harlem, New York native Azealia Banks said on stage, showing love to one fan that flashed the rapper her pair from audience while atop a male friend's shoulders. Yeah, it was that kind of show. A scantily clad Banks (in a tight-fitted orange dress with several pieces cut from it to expose cleavage) tore through her tongue-tying verses from songs like "Liquorice" while an absolutely enthralled crowd bounced to each word. "This one's just for you," she screamed just before closing her set with her breakout cut "212," which gives props to NYC's most famous area code. Homegirl killed Governors Ball.
Edward Sharpe and his merry band of merrymakers (the Magnetic Zeros) have a great reputation for uplifting live shows, and with the midday sun just starting to poke from behind the clouds, their set was a welcome mid-day pick-me-up. Accompanied by nearly ten musicians, Sharpe formed a little community on the You're Doing Great Stage, with plenty of old-timey folk stylings in their stand-up bass and homemade percussion. Their set attracted a massive crowd, which reacted strongest to folk fist-pumpers "Janglin'" and "Home." During the latter, Sharpe halted the playing during the bridge for a random story from a front-row fan, which told of a smile making one's day and included a cry of "I love you so much!"