After Drake’s satisfying headlining set and Florence‘s injury-free performance at the first day of Governors Ball 2015, expectations were fairly high for the second day of the 2015 edition of the festival. Fortunately, performers from Bjork to Flume to Clean Bandit fulfilled more than their quota of awesome during the New York festival on Saturday, June 6.
From karaoke to apologies to parents, here are the highlights of day 2 of Governors Ball 2015.
1:15 PM: If you weren’t out late at Governors Ball on Friday night, you could still get your fill of Drake. The early festival crowd Saturday cheered for ASTR’s cover of “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
1:36 PM: Beach balls at a music festival are a common sight, but sometimes they can be a hazard, as one woman learned the hard way. During Clean Bandit’s “Real Love,” one ball hit an audience member’s drink, causing it to spill all over her and the ground.
1:40 PM: Alex Newell, also known as Unique from Glee, joined Clean Bandit on stage for “Stronger,” going note for note with vocalist Elisabeth Troy. Newell later returned at the end of the band’s set to add a few vocal runs to the hit “Rather Be.”
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2:32 PM: “Yassssss!” exclaims Rustie, aka Russell Whyte, a Scottish producer known for bass-heavy blend of grime and instrumental dubstep. His early afternoon DJ set in the Gotham tent, which was peppered with synthesized wolf howls and tracks by fellow producer Hudson Mohawke, was packed to the brim. He cycled through hits from his 2011 album Glass Swords but leaned heavily on Green Language, his 2014 album on Warp Records, which included the rambunctious “Attak,” featuring Detroit rapper Danny Brown, which threw the crowd into an epic frenzy. In the front of the tent, a crowd of fans waved a flag that read “MORE BASS.” Based on the popularity of the few electronic artists this year’s festival offers, it might be a message more for the organizers than the artists.
3:56 PM: Kiesza turned the afternoon up with her finely choreographed set, slipping off her tunic following “Vietnam.” The high-energy “No Enemiesz” preceded her rendition of her feature on Jack Ü’s “Take Ü There,” which revved up the crowd as when dancers did head stands on the stage. “Hideaway” closed the raucous performance, as an audience member walked by, exclaiming, “Oh, I know this song!”
4:25 PM: Billboard doesn’t typically change lives in the most direct sense, but at Governors Ball 2015, history was made. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but one Billboard writer did pull a tick off a stranger’s shirt just before it was about to sink itself into his neck. Billboard: Lyme’s disease’s worst enemy.
4:39 PM: Toward the end of her moving mid-afternoon set, Sharon van Etten moaned the lyric, “I washed your dishes, but I shit in your bathroom.” Without a doubt, it was one of the more true sentences uttered at Gov Ball 2015, but nevertheless, one to couch. After uttering the lyric, van Etten — whose parents were in the audience — offered up an obligatory, “Sorry mom.”
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4:47: Happy birthday, Jack Patterson! The Clean Bandit member is presented with a birthday cake in the VIP area by Marina & The Diamonds’ Marina Diamandis, and friends cheer on the “Rather Be” group member as he blows out the candles.
5 PM: Brother-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone play a mellow set at the festival’s Honda stage, drawing mostly from their 2014 eponymous album (the ballad “Crash and Burn” seemed to be a crowd favorite). But there was a special nod to longtime fans with “For You,” a song from their 2010 album Down the Way. The low-key duo is among the many high-profile Australian acts to play Governors Ball, including Flume and Tame Impala, but are among the few genuine folk acts offered.
5:18 PM When the simple synth bassline that sets off “Ritual Union” — the title track from Little Dragon‘s third album — kicked in, their main stage set’s energy kicked up. Like many of the sets at Governors Ball, the Swedish synth-soul quartet was held back by sound problems, but it didn’t matter for this song, perhaps their catchiest. As always, Yukimi Nagano — wearing a yellow short-cut jacket and some sort of amazing silver blanket/dress — was an entrancing frontwoman. “Thank you for dancing with us,” she shouted, but the pleasure was ours.
5:31 PM: Kiesza has covered everyone from Nirvana to Haddaway while performing live. So who’s next for the “Hideaway” star? “Queen… Or maybe Jeff Buckley,” Kiesza tells Billboard with a laugh during a backstage interview.
5:57 PM: “To those who are not friends yet, I’m your new shitty f–king friend!” shouted Atmosphere‘s Slug, backed by his group partner Ant as they cracked into “Puppets.” The Minneapolis duo revved up the packed out audience opposite Future Islands, parsing through tracks from 2008’s When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold and The Loser Win.
6:17 PM “Let’s get fucking raw.” Samuel T. Herring, the Future Islands frontman you can’t keep your eyes off, didn’t say that till half way through the Baltimore new waver’s Gotham Tent set, but it served as a good mission statement. He embodied the group’s songs about heartbreak by slapping himself in the forehead, beating himself on the chest, growling, grunting, and dancing — kicking like a Rockette one minute, feeling himself up like Rihanna the next.
8:11 PM: “Karaoke! Come on!” One of Björk’s only audience interactions is a request to sing along to set closer “Hyperballad,” which receives a special bonus when fireworks explode behind the Icelandic pop chanteuse as she closes out the 75-minute main stage showcase.
8:20 PM: After Australian producer Flume started off his set with his popular Chet Faker collaboration “Drop the Game” and “On Top,” which features rapper T.Shirt, he segued into “Holdin’ On,” arguably his biggest hit to date. Right as the song began, a handful of fans to the right of the stage cracked open bags of marshmallows (how they got them past security is a mystery) and started throwing the white sugar cubes into the crowd. A fellow writer next to me breathed a sigh of relief when he got a hold of one, though, that they weren’t golf balls from the course that shares the grounds with the festival.
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9:05 PM: Most Electronic acts have a difficult time at festivals. So much of what makes their music interesting is precise machined drums and complex rhythms, and since that’s the exact type of music that comes across terribly in a festival setting, they are forced to rearrange their music in order to resonate with a festival crowd. That much can be said about SBTRKT’s set at the Gotham Tent, which featured the expected mix of the mask-wearing Canadian duo’s unique sound. Sans Sampha and Jessie Ware, tracks like “Wildfire” left their vocal parts up to finger drumming on an electronic pad while another dude enthusiastically played drums – though Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig did make a rousing guest appearance to perform “NEW DORP. NEW YORK.” Still, even as most of the audience began to drift off to Deadmau5 amidst long rhythmic interludes, a core of the crowd did remain active, dancing the night away.
9:40 PM: Deadmau5’s crowd is confused by the sound issues that the Toronto artist has been battling since his set’s start. “Fix that shit” chants begin in earnest, while some speculate that the proven prankster is messing with them. The mercurial artist’s onstage body language indicates otherwise, as he removes his trademark mau5head to holler at the tech crew. He then dashes to the front of the stage, shrugs and does a few push ups to the amusement of those assembled.
10:21 PM: Deadmau5’s heavy bass from across the festival grounds started to bleed into Ryan Adams’ territory. This became especially evident in the silence between songs, and Adams broke out the snark: “Try to make this song on your fucking iPhone! This song is not going to match the robot music over there… It’s like we’re living in a fucking Terminator nightmare!” He then admitted he actually liked the Terminator series, and commenced the heartfelt Heartbreaker say-goodbye-to-the South slow jam “Oh My Sweet Carolina.”
10:52 PM: Inspired by a vocal fan eating a hot dog in the front row, Ryan Adams ad-libbed a folk rock song with his band which, going off the chorus, probably would have been called “Put Your Hands in the Air If You Had a Hot Dog Tonight.”