Welcome to New York City’s first big showing of the 2017 festival season! Governors Ball rolled into the Big Apple this weekend (June 2-4) with a packed lineup of hip-hop, pop, alternative rock, and more for the city’s music fans. Billboard‘s staffers are eager to share their experiences with you for each day. Now that day one is in the books, we present our wrap-up of Friday’s sights and sounds from around Randall’s Island.
2:00 p.m. “We’re gonna play you a cover!” announces MUNA vocalist Katie Gavin. If you’ve been paying attention to Billboard, you’ve got an idea of what’s coming. “It’s gonna get really dark,” teases guitarist-vocalist Naomi McPherson, to which Gavin adds, “You’re either gonna really love it or be really confused.” The mystery song is none other than Evanescence’s goth-rock smash “Bring Me to Life,” which the L.A. band executes with expert precision. McPherson’s screams are a sonic sight to behold. — Chris Payne
2:05 p.m. To close out its excellent set, MUNA shouts pride month, announces its solidarity with America’s immigrants, and ends its set with its standout single “I Know a Place,” which features singer Katie Gavin’s manifesto against Donald Trump: “I throw my arms open wide in resistance/ He’s not my leader even if he’s my president.” — C.P.
2:15 p.m. Francis and the Lights wastes no time turning his set into a “IDGAF”-themed dance party, with his now-signature moves that only he (and possibly Lorde) can deliver. Dressed in his go-to outfit of a black bomber jacket and shades, the indie-electronic artist runs through his stunning debut Farewell, Starlite! with such energy it’s as if his own music was electrifying him. Aside from repeating the same phrase in between songs — “let’s keep it moving” — he offers little speaking, save for when he asks the crowd with a smirk, “You guys like my video content?” before beginning his hit “Friends.” Elsewhere in the set, he runs offstage and circles the Bacardi tent, only to reappear on the other side, before proceeding to climb up the rafters. And if that wasn’t enough, Francis then ends his set with a surprise appearance from his good bud Chance the Rapper as the two dance along to “May I Have This Dance.” — Lyndsey Havens
2:33 p.m. “This was our favorite song in the fourth grade,” exclaims Judah & the Lion singer Judah Akers. It’s the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” which the banjo-friendly band jubilantly covers for the afternoon crowd. — C.P.
2:48 p.m. Judah & the Lion breaks out its biggest hit to close out its set. The Tennessee band wraps things up in style with the Alternative Songs chart-topper “Take It All Back.” — C.P.
3:00 p.m. Kehlani brings the Bay to the East Coast for a 45-minute R&B bash on the Governors Ball stage. She floats on her Sweetsexysavage singles “Distraction” and “CRZY,” and You Should Be Here favorites a la “The Way” (sans Chance the Rapper) plus the Suicide Squad smash “Gangsta.” — Adelle Platon
?3:12 p.m. Canadian folksters the Strumbellas are letting their positive vibes spread all over the Honda Stage. “You like Dave, huh,” asks guitarist Simon Ward, noticing a sizable contingent of the crowd calling out for charismatic keyboardist Dave Ritter (he’s wearing a fitted hat bearing the word “DAVE,” after all). “You know he’s a Patriots fan, right?” prods Ward. He then points out that he’s a fan of the hometown New York Giants, and, after not getting quite the reception he was hoping for, claims he roots for the New York Jets, then the Philadelphia Eagles. — C.P.
4:01 p.m. The weather can’t seem to cooperate (it’s gone from sunny to sun showers and back) but Charli XCX is rocking the Big Apple Stage. Around this time, the U.K. alt-popper gets a resounding reception for her Icona Pop collab “I Love It” and her own smash “Break the Rules.” — C.P.
4:30 p.m. Charli XCX brings out Chicago rapper CupcakKe to perform “Lipgloss,” the final track on her 2017 mixtape, Number 1 Angel. — C.P.
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4:40 p.m. Following a show-stopping performance, funk/soul icon Charles Bradley delivers an empowering speech to the crowd about various colors of roses: “Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t forget about the black rose.” He then thanked the audience and walked off stage, only to reappear with a bouquet of red roses — “because we all have a heart” — that he proceeded to toss one by one to his fans. — L.H.
4:44 p.m. “This is a big f—ing celebration for us,” Bleachers frontman Jake Antonoff tells the crowd, referring to fact that the alternative-rock band released its latest album, Gone Now, the same day as their Gov Ball set. Throughout the performance, Antonoff runs through a genre-spanning setlist, rapping at times and reaching for his falsetto elsewhere. They end with some of their bigger hits both old (“I Wanna Get Better”) and new (“Don’t Take The Money”). — L.H.
4:45 p.m. The mastermind behind Lady Wood performs to the fiery video of “True Disaster.” In a yellow spandex two-piece suit, Tove Lo tells the Honda Stage crowd, “Thank you for sharing this moment.” When it comes time for “Talking Body,” Tove Lo flashes her ta-tas for all of the Honda Stage audience to see. — A.P.
5:06 p.m. Even though their new album came out Friday, Bleachers still indulged themselves in a little classic rock cover. They tear through Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” with Antonoff manning Lindsey Buckingham’s vocal parts and the band admirably filling in the rest. — C.P.
6:45 p.m. With a 10-minute warm-up from his DJ who pumps out Lil Uzi Vert and Top Dawg hits, ScHoolboy Q hits the Honda Stage with his hype anthems in tow including “Gangsta,” “Hell of a Night” and “Studio.” He even strolls down memory lane: “I remember the first shit I ever done that was outside of L.A. was New York.” It was 2011, and he packed a 400-capacity venue. “I felt so tight,” adds The Blank Face MC before launching into his first hit, “Hands on the Wheel.” He also urges the crowd not to throw golf balls and chuck weed instead and says his surprise guest would have been Kendrick Lamar but he couldn’t make it due to an “emergency.” In honor of his absence, Q asks the crowd to open up a mosh pit and go crazy for his “n—a ‘Mar.” — A.P.
7:50 p.m. After performing an old one (“Buzzcut Season”), Lorde welcomes her Melodrama collaborator Jack Antonoff to join her beside the piano for a couple of new tracks: “Sober” and “Sober II (Melodrama).” — C.P.
8:32 p.m. Lorde is bringing her captivating set to a close. After playing a track from her forthcoming album, Melodrama, called “Perfect Places” for the very first time, she plays another old one (“Team”) before closing with her 2017 single, “Green Light,” the track that signaled her new album cycle. The members of the twilight crowd are bouncing up and down in unison, enthralled by the song’s jubilant energy. — C.P.
9:52 p.m. Chance the Rapper brings Sunday service to Randall’s Island for his headlining set. The rapper’s standout project Coloring Book is well-represented during the 70-minute set where he rolls in on a motorbike to “Mixtape.” He also dusts off gems from Acid Rap (“Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Favorite Song”) and Surf (“Sunday Candy”). He then catapults into recent crowd-pleasers off his last project including “Angels,” “Smoke Break,” a sentimental rendition of “Same Drugs” and the closer “Blessings” alongside Ty Dolla $ign. — A.P.