Governors Ball Day Two At Randall’s Island, Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 Reviewed
On Friday, Danny Brown mentioned that at Governors Ball we could keep our world of responsibilities away and just have fun, and watching these teens and early twenties kids dash through Randalls Island in the Bronx, from one side to another, in the warm Spring sun, it really felt as though for a little while, hedonism ruled. By the late afternoon news of another terrorist attack had filtered through but not to these last hopes of American moral supremacy, it was like being enveloped in one large safe space.
Yesterday, I arrived early because I wanted to check out Jessie Reyez and I did, only they let us through the gates quarter of an hour late for some reason they decided not to share with us and cut Jessie’s set by ten minute, all we got was twenty minutes, the one true revelation of the two days I went. I would meet her later that day at the Schoolboy Q set -ah yes, the joys of GB -where the elite meet the jerks!
Jessie Reyez – In shorts, a hoodie and a Yankees cap, her tangled hair cascading, the Toronto via Columbia former dancer is certainly ready for her close up. At 25 years of age she has all the potential in the world. Jessie opened with “Fuck You,” and moved on to an acoustic moment with a sparkling cover of “That Part” before a superbly sung “Figures’ -the song that made her break all the way through. Jessie comes across as a very sweet woman, giggling as she stopped a song to decide upon the crowds participation. A terrific set, that’s all. Next year let’s see her at 345p… – A
Welles -business as usual rockers, they even have a song called “Rock And Roll” that is surprisingly good. Of course, that’s their only song and Jehsee Welles isn’t much of a leader though anybody who claims “poverty, substance abuse, and the party that ensues” is his subject matter can’t be all bad. Still, they need to figure out how they present themselves. – C+
Lo Moon – an indie hipster trio of silken rockers who don’t give out much on stage – C
Dua Lipa – is an EDM pop girl from the U.K. as written, talented, well dressed, terrific shoes and with a new album released on Friday which I haven’t gotten round to. With rock band back up and a tough, sweet voice, Dua exudes more personality than most but at 19 years of age she hasn’t mastered the stage and is all knee kicks and hair swirls, catch her on the next tour – C
Arizona – up and coming Americana rockers Arizona have a good current album and sound terrific live with a good frontman and a handful of killer anthems. When they drag they really drag but when they nail it they’re impressive – B
Car Seat Headrest – Are the indie band de jour, or at least de 2016, maybe even 2017 on the strength of their fabulous live show. This was indie wall of sound, not a million miles away from a dozen early 00s bands, like Nothing only better. Again, they don’t make great use of the extra real estate but you’ll forgive them because their shoegazey psychedelia is a blast, there is even a mosh pit . The fans are few but very enthusiastic. “Fill In The Blank” is the poster boy for teens in bedsitland – B+
Stormzy – First things first, not only is Stormzy the best rapper after Kendrick working today, he is also the face of Grime, and an ancestor of punk coming from the same South London council flats that brought us the Pistols. On stage, he stops a slow jam of “Cigarettes And Cush” (no Kehlani -“she’s backstage” he claims) with a full on “Mr. Skeng” “we’ve come for ignorance and energy” and then powers his DJ along for a fast, smooth (even the anger is smooth) “At ease at easy, funky and free” is the anthem and this is that as the great rapper storms the stage “funky sexy, funky free” and dances and hops from one end to the other.. He introduces “Shape Of You” as being by a very good friend and raps the verse from his remix, a good one. He completes the triumphant performance “Big For Your Boots”. “This is England in the building, and I give zero fucks” and ends the set with “Fire In New York” -considered overrated in the UK, he is the best on the grime seat and the second best rapper around . A-
YG – I don’t know the West Coast gangsta as well as, say, Stormzy, but what I do know I like, and I know “FDT” (aka Fuck Donald Trump) written before the Agent Orange was elected. From a chant of “show your titties” to an “all bitches and hos” and a “hate the game, nigger,” this is the crack cocaine of rap: nasty, lethal and addictive… hey,must be the money and done – B-
A$AP Ferg – Walking back to another stage, I heard Rae Sremmurd in the background but since I am seeing em open for The Weeknd at the Prudential (skipping day three to do so), I kept walking. I’ve see ASAP Ferg a number of times and prefer Rocky… but first a DJ. We’re at a festival, who thinks we need warming up exactly? Ferg can sure rap and has a way with words: “I fucked your bitch, she sucked my dick” is not an unusual sentiment… and that’s the hook not an observation! The Trap Lord is all punch and counterpunch today, on point from one end to this best at his most vicious, “I’m gonna murder something” is the oddest of chants – B
The Head And The Heart – I’ve reviewed two of their albums and can’t remember a song and watching these Subpop indie rockers I don’t know why. Melodic and strings moody tied to a folkie rockdom… they have a following though not today… this is a hip hop crowd. I like em fine anyway – B
Rufus del Sol – a tedious wall of good vibrations and I have to run because… WU IS NEXT – C
Wu Tang Clan – This is the set, it feels bigger than the headliners that late afternoon one. Yesterday, we got six rappers performing their greatest hits and mostly, on its 20th Anniversary,Wu-Tang Forever, though they open with “Bring da Ruckus,” “Da Mystery of Chessboxin'” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit” and we aren’t ten minutes in. And how ya like ODB now? The Wu have had competition up the ying yang this weekend, but as old school goes how do you beat RZA, Ghostface Killah and Method Man. Who else is sampling Scarface (the Pacino one) anymore? I was never a huge fan -sure Enter and Forever, but after that all I loved was ODB, Ghostface, and RZA who is so weird he should change his name to Lauryn and move to Jamaica. Plus, when they all rap at once it becomes a wall of voices only saved when they solo. Having said that, this works as a variant on the Strokes set a coupla years back: just crowd pleasers and audience pleasers. Method Man respects the dead and shimmies with the power of a man who rapped with Biggie, he stole the set while U-God was a pleasant surprise. They bring out ODB’s son and it is so great to see YDB -he looks a lot like his pop., then they bring out Redman who looks a lot like Redman. Nice cover of “Come Together”. Anything else? Feel free to up the grade if you’re a fan – B+
Mark Ronson Vs Kevin Jenkins – Nope not mud wrestling, DJing and spinning “Humble” – C