THE GOVERNORS BALL LINEUP COUNTER
East Coast Coachella?
With the highly-anticipated hype of 2019s Coachella reveal last week, the organizers of the Governors Ball counteract full force by releasing one of their strongest lineups yet. The Governors Ball has always been a pleasant surprise since its fruition in 2011. What began as a brief single day event quickly gained notoriety by morphing into one of New York’s premier weekend long festivals. The festival was formally produced by Founders Entertainment, but was soon bought by Live Nation, which is one of the biggest festival producers in the United States.
One of the best aspects of the Governors Ball is its well-curated list of acts without the excess fluff seen in other festivals. It features a total of 70 artists that are split amongst three days—each with its own brilliant headliners. Here’s what you should be looking out for:
Tyler, the Creator
The obvious headliner for day one is Tyler who has been on a hot streak and has managed to stay in the public eye continuously since his Odd Future debut in 2007. Tyler has great stage performance and presence, as seen in his most recent show at Camp Flog Gnaw 2018, with his great visuals and stage setting. On top of that, he has created an expansive discography throughout the years; most notably his brilliant production on 2017s Flower Boy. Tyler is the perfect headliner for day one of the festival with his fun personality and ignorantly hype lyrics, which are sure to bring the entire audience to an uproar.
Gesaffelstein is definitely the biggest dark horse of day one. He is a French electronic artist who has been making big waves in the techno scene. He has worked with a wide variety of artists, most notably Kanye West on his 2013 album, Yeezus. His sound can be described as dark and grimy, utilizing an expansive range of synths and unique sound effects. He creates simple synthetic beats to which he overlays heavy manipulated sounds, calling for a haunting electronic sound. Through the combination of his sound and crazy visuals, his set is sure to be one of the more unique experiences from the entire festival.
Jorja Smith is one of the bigger and newer R&B acts of the first day. With her debut in 2016, she has been turning heads in the music community with her soulful voice. Her style can be described as “old school” in the way that she sings with cadences, resembling that of Lauryn Hill. On top of her virtuosic voice, the laid-back beat completes a perfect blend of sound. Having just released her first studio album in the summer of 2018, this is a perfect opportunity for any new and old fans to catch her on a big stage.
Other notable acts: Lil Wayne, Brockhampton, Blood Orange, Mitski, The Internet, Hippo Campus, and The Voidz
Florence + the Machine
Day two leads off with another strong artist with Florence + the Machine. Formed in 2007, the indie rock band gained great success with one of their first singles, “Dog Days are Over.” Florence has stayed in the public eye for over 10 years, with an album average of three years per release. Florence is also riding the new album wave with their recent release of High as Hope in the summer of 2018.
The band shines in two major aspects: the first and most recognizable is lead singer, Florence Welch. Her voice and the way she sings is something that cannot be described so simply. Her ability to sing both softly and loudly with great emotions and vibrato is an impeccable skill. The second aspect is the band and the production behind her. They still have the feel of an indie band, but with the added flavor of the violin and percussion, creating an overall grandiose sound. Though I’ve yet to see them live, I’ve heard from countless of people that they are a spectacle and can turn anyone into a fan.
Of course, in the complete opposite direction, we have the supergroup that is Major Lazer. Originally formed in 2008 by DJs Diplo and Switch, however, Switch would soon leave the group in 2011—he was replaced by DJs Jillionaire and Walshy Fire to be the Major Lazer that most are familiar with today. The trio produces electronic dance music with a heavy emphasis on “dance.” Their style is based in the sounds of reggaeton and dance hall, while fusing it with today’s popular electronic music. On top of this amazing cast of DJs, they have collaborated and produced many hit songs with other artists, such as Justin Bieber, Travis Scott, and Bruno Mars. They also have a new album coming out this year, so keep your ears open for any new songs. If you’re a frequent goer to festivals, you’ve probably caught them before and know that it’s worth the experience. With amazing visuals and often live dancers, their performance will definitely shake the entire festival.
One of the premier hip-hop artists of the festival, Vince Staples is the first rapper billed for day two, and for good reason. Part of the new generation of rap, Staples started his career around 2010 in the streets of Long Beach. Hailing from a city with such a rich rap history, Staples does not disappoint his predecessors. You can say he is the modern-day gangster, rapping with a dark and twisted beat. Riding the new album wave as well, he released FM! late last year to critical acclaim. On top of that, his entire discography is filled with great scores all around, and will definitely be a fun time to hear live.
Although I’m not a big fan of Clairo, it’s worth noting her appearance at the Governors Ball. Rising up through the YouTube artist ranks, Clairo has created a big following with millions watching her videos where she shines in her lo-fi aesthetic and a DIY approach to music. The songs are very simple, and her slow-paced, out of tune vocals give off a dream-like vibe. To be honest, I have no idea what to expect from her set at all, and that’s exciting.
Other notable acts:: The 1975, Zhu, Ty Dolla $ign, Playboi Carti, Denzel Curry, and Saba
One of my personal favorites and the biggest reason to go is The Strokes. Having their roots in the late 1990s, The Strokes were one of the biggest contenders of the post-punk/garage rock revival. If you’ve lived through the 2000s, you’ve definitely have heard one of their songs. When it comes to modern rock, these guys are the beacon to which bands turn to. One of the biggest reasons for the hype behind them is due to their multiple hiatuses in the last couple of years. Their last songs were created in 2016, and they toured very sporadically, being completely silent for the entire year of 2018. However, they are rumored for another comeback, and the Governors Ball being the first stop. With this next show, they are also one of the only artists that have ever performed more than twice. Their timeless songs that surpass generational gaps are sure to get the entire crowd singing and bobbing together.
Another blast from the past with a recent comeback is Nas. Nas is definitely one of the defining rappers of the 1990s with one of the strongest debut albums, Illmatic. Since then, Nas was pretty consistent with his album drops up until 2012. After six years, there was news that Kanye was producing a new Nas album, and in June of last year, Nasir was born. The seven-track album was one of the best to come from the “Wyoming sessions.” Its shortlisting called for each song to be intricate in beat, as well as sampled to perfection. Nas’ old school flow layers perfectly on top of the beat, feeling like a classic Nas album. Being able to see Nas is already a treat, but to be able to hear new stuff and have it be good is truly a blessing.
For the featured artist, it was hard to choose between Kaytranada or Louis The Child, both being DJs, so I went with seniority. Kaytranada has been around since 2010, and has become a premier DJ, being highly billed in EDM festivals. He’s notably known for his remixes of various artists, such as Ghostface Killah, A Tribe Called Quest, Beyonce, and Rihanna. His style can be described as synthetic hip-hop. This attribute sets him apart from his DJ peers, as he creates a chilled space with groovy dance beats. Being just a DJ, he implements many great talents for his actual music. Be ready to sway, bob, and relax when hearing him live.
Other notable acts: SZA, Louis The Child, Sheck Wes, Beast Coast, Lily Allen, Noname, Charli XCX, and Soccer Mommy
Overall, this is a stacked list of artists that is an all in one festival. I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of artists that should have been further discussed, but the list could go on for pages. I do believe this is a festival worth going to, with a lineup that arguably beats Coachella at a competitive price.