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The Decemberists at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, August 3rd 2015

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Folk-rockers The Decemberists are no longer the underdogs (like they may have been the last time I saw them play), but the sort of band who commands a strong presence at any music festival. Although they’ve certainly proved themselves, it’s still strange thinking of the group as a major label band who just released their seventh album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World back in January (via Capitol Records).

The group ran through many tracks from the new record, along with long-standing favorites such as “16 Military Wives” and “O Valencia!” Frontman and lead singer, Colin Meloy, found hilariously noted that it was their first time playing alongisde a toll both (Randall’s Island Park is right near the RFK bridge). No matter the scenery, they delighted the audience with a tight performance perfect for a summer day, even if they did play “Anti-Summersong.”

Below, find photos of their Governors Ball performance posted below, along with their setlist.
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Death From Above 1979 at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, August 3rd 2015

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There was a time not too long ago where it seemed like getting to see a reunited Death From Above 1979 back together and consistently playing live shows was a pipe dream. We lucked out, as last year they not only released a brand new album called The Physical World (that is good), but have been touring in full force.

They duo of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler were originally booked to play Governors Ball last year, but cancelled in order to complete work on The Physical World . They made it up to fans by returning to the festival this year, even though they stopped in New York twice last year, including an album release show at the very intimate Rough Trade NYC.

Their set at Governors Ball was a relentless ball of energy that had fans rushing into one another, disregarding the heat as their bodies flew into one another in full force. It’s always an amazing sight to see the two men working in perfect synergy, creating the massive sounds that they do. Their live show can’t really be matched, although bands like Royal Blood are sure giving it a try.

Find photos of their Governors Ball performance posted below.
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Chromeo at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, August 3rd 2015

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If Governors Ball has any veterans, it’s gotta be electro-funk rockers Chromeo, a familiar name that has graced the stage many times at Randall’s Island Park. Only this year was their biggest moment to date, as the band took over a mid-afternoon set at the mainstage.

The appearance followed their longstanding tour for last year’s White Women. The duo of Dave 1 and P-Thugg rose to the occasion big time, getting everyone in the crowd to show off their best fancy footwork. They had a few tricks up their sleeve, teasing the all-too-familiar guitar riff of Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” The tease wasn’t random, as soon enough Chromeo was joined by Vampire Weekend’s very own Ezra Koenig, who then launched into a full on version of the track, and stuck around to help out on “Bonafied Lovin (Tough Guys).” It was a very New York moment, one that the city didn’t take for granted.

Find some shots from the performance posted below, along with a video of Ezra’s appearance.
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MØ at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, August 3rd 2015

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Seeing Danish pop-star is always a treat. Formally known as Karen Ørsted, the singer has seen a significant rise in her stock in recent months thanks to her featured vocal spot on Major Lazer’s successful single “Lean On.”

I first saw the result of this back at Boston Calling in May, and this carried over yet again at Governors Ball back in June, where Ørsted rocked the Gotham Tent with confidence and ease. I’ve watched her grow as an artist over the years, and she continues to impress. It’s only a matter of time before she starts taking over the festival main stages.

Find more photos from her Governors Ball set posted below.
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Charli XCX at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, July 30th 2015

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The sun came out and pushed the cloudy skies away just in time for the set of English pop star Charli XCX, who used the sunshine to her advantage in a devastatingly fun set that got the midday crowd into party mode.

She ran through tracks off last year’s Sucker (out via Atlantic Records), such as the all too familiar “Boom Clap,” and “Famous.” Charli also integrated “I Love It,” her massive collaboration with Icona Pop that took over the radio in 2013.

Her set was a constant ball of energy, delivering a colorful performance brought to life vividly with props such as a giant inflatable guitar. Even though pop music isn’t traditionally my thing, her set was infectious and hard not to enjoy. I only was able to catch the first half, but it was a lot of fun.

Find more photos from her set posted below.
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Benjamin Booker at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, July 30th 2015

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There’s a revival of old school rock and roll at the moment, helped by up and coming artists such as New Orleans’ Benjamin Booker.

Booker’s smokey garage rock comes dipped in the roots of bluesy rock of an older time, given a fresh-faced revival that feels alive and well. He first caught my attention opening for Mac DeMarco at House Of Vans last summer, and he took his game that much further with an impressive showing at Governors Ball in June. His 2014 self-titled debut album (released via ATO Records) got deserved acclaim last year, and he’s already an accomplished live performer with all the confidence in the world.

The future of rock and roll is looking that much brighter with artists like Booker climbing the ranks.

Find some more photos from his Governors Ball performance posted below.
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DIIV at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, July 29th 2015

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Zachary Cole Smith’s DIIV will return with their anticipated new album Is the Is Are later this year via Captured Tracks. Back in May they stopped by Baby’s All Right to play most, if not all, of the new album. They followed that performance a month later which a much bigger showing at Governors Ball.

This time they integrated a few tracks off their debut album Oshin in between the new songs as a bit of a cushion for the festival audience. The new songs did well the spacious festival setting, sounding almost fitting for the ominous weather that just didn’t want to give up.

There’s still no official release date for Is the Is Are, but we can hopefully expect to hear it soon.

Find photos from DIIV’s set at Governors Ball posted below.
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Black Pistol Fire at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, July 29th 2015

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Austin duo Black Pistol Fire came storming out of the gate with a punchy set of blues-inspired garage rock that didn’t take long to win over the crowd. Guitarist Kevin McKeown inspired the fans with his rock star moves, all while drummer Eric Owen pounded away at his kit. They may just be two guys, but they’re able to summon quite a bit of noise with ease paying their respect to blues-rock while also delivering some brash garage rock along the way.

Be on the lookout for Black Pistol Fire, they’re a name you’ll be seeing again in no time.

Find photos from their performance posted below:
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The Districts at Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, July 29th 2015

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Day 1 of Governors Ball 2015 began on a gloomy note, with ominous skies and eventually a cold downpour of rain. But my day, and the festival, began with a set from Philadelphia’s The Districts, who had a storm of rock and roll ready to conquer the dreary skies.

The group have made a few stops in New York throughout the year, in support of their promising debut album A Flourish and a Spoil (released via Fat Possum). Considering their set took place a mere 15 minutes after gates opened, and with the eventual downpour, the group attracted a modest but appreciative crowd. Those who were there were treated to a memorable set of The Districts power rock, just more proof that they are most certainly one of the most exciting prospects in rock and roll.

Catch them this fall when they return for a pair of shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Lady Lamb on November 4 (tix) & 5 (tix).

Find photos from their Governors Ball set posted below.

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Preview: Governors Ball 2015

By Will Oliver, June 5th 2015

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Today, Governors Ball returns to New York City to take over Randall’s Island Park for another edition of the annual festival. It’s hard to believe that it’s June, let alone time for another edition of NYC’s beloved festival.

By now, you should (probably) have a good idea of who you’ll be seeing tomorrow, as well as the rest of the weekend. But if not, I’ve compiled a list of artists who I plan to catch throughout the weekend, if that will help sway your decision.
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