Words by Audra Tracy and Dan Schaffel | Photos by Michel Dussack
Sure, Day 1 was a disaster. But guess what: everyone came BACK for Day 2. The rain had stopped, the clouds parted, and finally the sun was shining over New York again.
Three day ticket-holders knew they had two more days of trekking through a shoe-eating swamp, but even an ugly and treacherous landscape could not keep those crazy kids from their rock n roll racket. And one day ticket holders from Friday’s wash-out were invited to join Saturday’s festivities, which included a rescheduled set by Kings of Leon.
That’s right, even ruthless acts of Mother Nature could not keep the people from the party. Yes, things were looking up for Day 2, which included performances by MS MR, Fucked Up, Alt-J, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and of course, Axl Effing Rose…
Playing to their largest fan turnout for a NYC show, MS MR showcased the great songs they’ve put together on their debut album Secondhand Rapture. Their single ‘Hurricane’ gave the audience members at the You’re Doing Great stage a fitting reminder of the previous night’s storm, and how good it felt for it to have passed. Lizzy Plapinger’s voice was smoother than silk, especially on ‘Bones’, building up momentum with perfect patience and excitement. This performance definitely spread the word more over the five boroughs about the Brooklyn duo’s unique sophisticated sound.
Canadian punk rockers Fucked Up certainly changed the mood at the Skyy Vodka tent, instead getting the crowd fired up for a set of hardcore havoc. Die-hard fans heeded no mind to the Day 2 muck at their feet, stomping in puddles and crowd-surfing away to angst-fueled songs like ‘Queen of Hearts’ and ‘The Other Shoe’. With a personality as big as his belly, lead singer Damian Abraham brought both front and center, spending much of his band’s set greeting fans in the photo pit and regaling with stories about his love for professional wrestling. And after all that intense energy, it was time to decompress over at the Honda Stage…
Seeing Alt-J perform during the day at a music festival is like seeing Radiohead play at the mall, or The Dead Weather rock a high school pep rally. Some sounds just don’t fit their surroundings, and the dark tone of Alt-J’s material was definitely in stark contrast with Saturday’s sunny skies and open air. Nevertheless, catching Alt-J play richly layered songs like ‘Tesselate’, ‘Fitzpleasure’, and the buzz-worthy hit ‘Breezeblocks’ should be on every music fan’s bucket list. If their 2012 debut An Awesome Wave was just the prologue, we’ve got our ears to the ground for what’s to come from this breakthrough act.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
“Only one desire/That’s left in me/I want the whole damn world/to come and dance with me”, Edward Sharpe (aka Alex Ebert) sang, instigating the flower children of Governors Ball to shake those hips on Saturday afternoon. He and his Magnetic Zeroes drew in the sunlight upon the You’re Doing Great Stage, playing songs off their 2012 release Here. Highlights like ‘Man on Fire’, ‘That’s What’s Up’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Pray’, and ‘Child’ really thickened up the set, and the Zeros really seemed to enjoy the overwhelming crowd response to their second to last song (and probably best-known tune), ‘Home’.
Kings of Leon
While Friday’s tropical storm halted the headliners from performing their true time-slot, Kings of Leon got their second shot at main stage glory during their rescheduled set on Saturday evening. The arena rockers played tunes from their chart-topping album Only By the Night, including the single ‘Sex on Fire’. And as the sun began to set on Randall’s Island, KOL’s set seemed to climax amid the audience-wide sing-along for the mega-hit, ‘Use Somebody’. “We’re just the opening act tonight”, lead singer Caleb Followill confessed during his band’s hour-long make-up gig, “and we wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Guns N Roses
His high-pitched howl is one of a kind, his ego is seemingly limitless, and if you were a child of the 80’s, his songs filled your tape deck for hours on end. Love him or hate him, Axl Rose is a rock icon, and even without Slash on board, fans still lined up to see Axl’s latest iteration of Guns N Roses for an explosive headlining performance at the main stage to close out Day 2. Nostalgia set in hard as Rose & Friends tore through a set of hard rock hits like ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Rocket Queen’, and the epic ballad ‘November Rain’. And sure, GNR may not have been a big draw for everyone at Governors Ball, but you better believe that anyone within earshot of the main stage could be found belting out the chorus to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.
Stay tuned for coverage of Day 3!
TheWaster.com | Gov Ball 2013