Mother Nature rained heavily down on this year’s Governor’s Ball, which took place on Randall’s
Mud Pit Island. It was a test, and us New Yorkers proved that we sure have some spunk, staying true to the festival’s slogan: “You’re doing great!”
I earned personal emblems of a successful music festival: purple bruises made to look like sunsets on my skin, irreparably damaged white Air Force Ones, and an inevitable cold from being wet for the duration of Saturday. The last one, I deserved. That morning, the weatherman and I were adamant that I wouldn’t need a jacket.
Then, there was Sunday’s disappointing full-day cancellation that left legions of fans angry because they traveled x amount of miles to see Kanye or Death Cab for Cutie. When I got the news, I remained motionless on the couch, silently crying the tears I’d have shed at Death Cab’s closing set.
And the biggest curse of a festival, as always, is not being able to be in two places at once. I was sad to have missed Big Grams or another fun show from Matt and Kim because I parked myself at the main stage all of Friday. And even on Sunday while I was camping out for a last-minute Two Door Cinema Club ticket, I was also committed to missing two surely phenomenal performances by Courtney Barnett and Prophets of Rage, both just a walk away.
But I digress. Let’s end this one with some highs, shall we?
The Strokes covered “Clampdown” for the first time since 2004
To be fair, I could peg the whole set as my favorite part of the festival. When I was 11, I used to blast this Clash cover on my iPod, fantasizing that I might one day hear it live. That, and “Red Light,” which they performed for the first time since 2010. Everyone and their mothers know that The Strokes are my favorite band, but even I can objectively say that lately, they haven’t been at their best. However, on the heels of a new EP whose songs fit seamlessly into their set, New York’s finest garage rockers showed that they’ve been revived with a new positive energy. The best feeling was watching the expressions as all five of them performed with unrivaled mastery, looking truly happy to be together.
Getting intimate with Two Door Cinema Club
Though it’s been a minute since their last album (almost four years, but who’s counting), 15-year-old me would’ve never forgiven present-day me for skipping Two Door Cinema Club’s make-up show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Adrenaline distracted me from the cold air and the rain drenching me through my flimsy windbreaker during the four hours I waited out (tip: phone a friend who’d be willing to bring you a lox bagel while you wait. You’ll need it). It proved to be worth it; there surely is no better venue to see a favorite band than one where from every angle, you feel like you’re in the front row. Plus, even through moshing with grown men and crowd surfing during the encore, my glasses survived the night.
Beck being Beck
A live Beck experience was yet another realized fantasy from my fleeting youth, ignoring the fact that his breakout hit “Loser” is a couple of years older than me, and “Where It’s At” is less than a year younger; in any case, they all fit seamlessly into one animated set. And during “Hell Yes” I couldn’t help but laugh, overhearing the guy next to me ask, “Is he rapping?” And it’s only been two years since “Blue Moon” reduced me to tears, and only a little more than a month since Prince’s tragic passing. Beck recalled accepting his Album of the Year award and a hug from The Artist himself, which he described as one of the “strangest, most amazing moments.” His cover of “Raspberry Beret” was easily the best of myriad Prince tributes this weekend.