There is something both beautiful and melancholic about the final day of a music festival. You know it’s about to come to an end, so mentally you’re prepared to make the most of every little second of your time. Of course, this happened to us on day three of Governors Ball this year. Once, again we arrived early in the day, with the intention of capitalizing on all the remarkable talent performing, starting with LA-based singer/songwriter BANKS. Taking to the Gotham Tent at 2:15, the bassy, love ballads of the quickly rising-star had the enormous crowd singing and grooving along. With the suns blisteringly hot rays beating down upon everyone, the mass of gathered fans keep their hands waving for the entire set until she played the Shlohmo-produced “Brain” and the crowd went absolutely bonkers. Pretty impressive considering she hasn’t released her full length debut yet.
Anxious, self-deprecating, voice of a generation, Tyler, the Creator took to the Big Apple stage immediately after Earl Sweatshirt’s set ended. Tyler, had joined his fellow Odd Future members during his set, before racing over to the other stage to perform his set. Controversial rap group leader and empire builder Tyler isn’t necessarily the best rapper, but he knows it, and doesn’t give a fuck. Making sure his crew gets put on, getting paid in quadruple this weekend (the equivalent of four shows worth), the young LA rap mogul put on a real show. Speaking his mind in both his songs and on-stage banter, the much too honest rapper told it exactly how he saw it. “I didn’t even know this festival existed until like a month ago… when I found out I was performing at it; but, you seem like nice people,” he said, before belittling all the photographers in the photo-pit with “All your photos suck. Stupid camera,” and mocking all the people gathered in the partitioned off VIP section. “What is this? VIP? Did your rich parents pay for them? You fucking assholes. We only fucking with these guys” points to the GA section. “I’m only fucking with the real working Americans.”
Meanwhile, over at the Gotham Tent Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge, burst on stage rocking Stella McCartney and a pair of fresh cream leather Converse, immediately charming the crowd with her bad ass dance moves and infectious smiley energy. Playing tracks from 2013’s much acclaimed Body Music album to start, they quickly shifted over to a few new tunes, which sounded better than ever for the New York crowd.
As the sun started to make its slow, earthly decent towards the horizon, Fayetteville, North Carolina rapper, J. Cole swaggered on to the Honda stage after a lovely musical intro. Dropping his verse song, the young rapper took a full minute to silently bask in the glory of performing to 40,000 gathered fans. The quieter sleeper of a rap classic, paid homage to his own influences, festival headliners Outkast, with his “ATlien’s” sampled “LAnd of Snakes,” before weaving his way through his surprisingly diverse discography of songs. Cole’s special brand of well thought out rap was delightful and mood-altering divergence from the previous two hours of rowdy Odd Future.
Immediately following Cole on the Honda stage, electronic musician (emphasis on ‘musician’), James Blake took his perch behind his keyboard set up. He started his set by singing a gentle acapella verse of “I Never Learnt to Share” crafting a looming dark dub beat that he used as the foundation of the entire eight minute song. James Blake is a bit of a musical conundrum, his talent is overwhelming and evident, weaving together beautiful get-low kind of beats with his sulky yet sultry vocals, all the while singing about some really depressing shit. It was a beautiful dance-party full of people crying and sharpening their metaphorical razor blades, all the while smiling. During his set Blake performed a beuatiful cover of R&B legend Bill Withers’ “Hope She’ll Be Happier.” Whoa!
Ending the night off with an electro pick me up, Empire of The Sun landed (from space) into a super packed Gotham tent. A crew of four back up dancers took the stage in futuristic get ups, setting the mood for lead vocalist Luke Steele’s slow and steady arrival to his light up pinwheel looking podium centre stage. Steele played the first few tracks from last years Ice On The Dune with his gold crown on, before removing it and really letting loose. We danced into the night opting, like many to skip out on Vampire Weekend’s headlining set.
Check out our photos from the final day of Governors Ball 2014 below.
BANKS at the Gotham Stage
Earl Sweatshirt at the Honda Stage
Aluna George at the Gotham Tent
J. Cole at the Honda Stage
James Blake at the Honda Stage
Empire Of The Sun at the Gotham Tent