The line-up may have been small but the sound was still big. Girl Talk, Big Boi, Pretty Lights, Empire of the Sun and more rocked NYC’s Governors Island on Saturday (June 18) for the inaugural Governors Ball Music Festival.
The two stage set-up and limited number of artists ensured no overlapping sets and saved attendees from musical “Sophie’s Choice” type decisions: Big Boi or Empire of the Sun, Girl Talk or Pretty Lights?
Video: Empire of the Sun, “Walking On A Dream,” Governors Ball 2011
Fittingly, Empire of the Sun hit the southside “Gotham” stage just as the sun was setting. The Australian duo, fresh off a well-received Coachella appearance, wowed the packed Governors Island crowd with a show that wouldn’t have seemed out of place on Broadway. They kept up a tribal outer-space aesthetic with the help of eight back-up dancers, several groovy costume changes and a ceaseless heart-rattling bass.
Girl Talk took the northside “Big Apple” stage after full dark and turned the festival into his own private dance party. The mash-up artist, clad in his trademark headband, led a chant of “Girl Talk” before launching into the first track off of his “new” album, “All Day.” The set featured a healthy dose of new musical mixtures, and enough toilet paper launched into the crowd to service the dozens of port-a-potties surrounding the Island.
Video: Girl Talk, “Every Day,” Governors Ball 2011
Perhaps the best known artist, however, was not a headliner. Big Boi, of OutKast fame, had his set before Empire of the Sun. He treated the audience to mostly old OutKast songs, with Andre 3000’s verses removed, while getting in several songs from his 2010 solo debut, “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.”
Other artists at the one-day Ball included: up-and-coming rapper Mac Miller, two members of Passion Pit DJing, recent indie heroes Neon Indian, Brookyln rappers Das Racist, Yonkers alternative rapper Outasight, three-piece Athens, Geor. act Reptar, electro-pop group Miami Horror, and L.A-based hip hop group People Under the Stairs.