Music Festival

Governors Ball Announces 2016 Lineup

By Will Oliver, January 8th 2016

Governors Ball 2015

It’s that time of year again already, the lineup for this years edition of our hometown festival Governors Ball is here. The festival will return to the comforts of Randall’s Island during the weekend of June 3-5, as usual.

This year sees a bunch of old Governors Ball favorites returning to headline the fest. Returning for the 2016 edition of the festival is Kanye West, The Strokes and Beck. Also joining them this year are The Killers, Robyn, Death Cab for Cutie, M83, Haim, Of Monsters and Men, and CHVRCHES.

There’s a lot of great groups and artists rounding out the midcard, such as Two Door Cinema Club, Miike Snow, Father John Misty, Courtney Barnett, Jamie XX, Bloc Party, Gary Clark Jr., Matt and Kim, Purity Ring, Lord Huron, Eagles Of Death Metal, Cold War Kids, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Albert Hammond Jr., Day Wave, Against Me!, Bat For Lashes, FIDLAR, Miuel, Joey BadAss, Thundercat, Torres, Bully, Black Pistol Fire, and Public Access T.V. The lineup does favor “indie rock” this year, with no big EDM headliner this year, which is ok with me (and Ryan Adams).

We have covered the festival for the past four years, and are looking forward to our fifth year back on Randall’s Island taking in some great sights and sounds once again. Summer can’t get here soon enough.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now at the Governors Ball website, and you can find our coverage of last year’s edition of the festival here.

Photos: Landmark Music Festival 2015 (Day 2)

By Will Oliver, December 31st 2015 — with 1 comment

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[The Strokes]

After a great first day of of the inaugural Landmark Music Festival, there was a different feeling in the air with a rare performance from The Strokes looming. It helped that the rest of the day featured a great lineup that included CHVRCHES, Alt-J, Dan Deacon, The Joy Formidable, Lord Huron and Houndmouth. It was a great day of music, and a great finish to what was ultimately a very successful first year for the new festival. I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for next fall.

Find photo galleries of all the sets I caught on day 2 below, in order of appearance.
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Photos: Landmark Music Festival 2015 (Day 1)

By Will Oliver, December 31st 2015

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[The War On Drugs]

This September marked the first ever Landmark Music Festival in historic Washington, DC over the course of two days on September 26 and 28 The festival came in support of the Trust’s Landmark Campaign for The National Mall. Although it was the first year of the festival, everything was run smoothly. The lines for food and beer were a mess on day one, but were immediately fixed by day two. There was a great deal of music to enjoy across a variety of stages with the scenic history Washington DC providing a wonderful backdrop. I hope it returns again next year.

On Day 1 I caught performances from War On Drugs, Miguel, The Lone Bellow, Band Of Horses, Albert Hammond Jr, Twin Shadow, Ex Hex, and local act U.S. Royalty. Find photo sets from all the bands below, in order of their scheduled sets during the festival.
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Photos: Basilica Soundscape 20015 (Day One)

By Will Oliver, December 29th 2015

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On September 11 I returned upstate to Hudson, New York, for Basilica Soundscape, the annual team-up between Basilica Hudson’s founders, Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone, along with Pitchfork managing editor Brandon Stosuy and Brian DeRan of Leg Up Management. Last year was my first time at the festival, and I had such a great time that I went back for seconds this year.

I was only able to stay the first day, but caught unforgettable sets from the likes of HEALTH, Viet Cong, Lydia Ainsworth, Weyes Blood, Indrajit Banerjee & Gourisankar, and Actress.

The festival seems to now be a staple each September in Hudson, New York, making me excited to make the trip again next year. Find photos from Day 1 of this year posted below.
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Photos: Full Moon Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, November 1st 2015

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On August 1 the Brooklyn Mirage was turned into a beach scene ready to celebrate electronic music for the fifth annual Full Moon Festival. This was the festival’s first time in Bushwick, after previously been held at Governors Island for four years.

Photographer Leah Runyon was on hand that day capturing some of the sweaty electronic action on our behalf. Find some belated photos from the festival posted below.

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Recap: Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 27th 2015

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After years of wondering what I was missing, I finally decided to make the trip to the Newport Folk Festival this year. Man, am I kicking myself for missing out on this great festival all these years. I’ve been to almost all of the major festivals in the East Coast, and I have to say, Newport Folk Festival is as good as they get. There’s just something so different about it. It doesn’t feel like a giant event or major festival, but rather a large community coming together to enjoy music.

I mean, really, what other festivals can you see people enjoying music while sitting on folding chairs? There’s just a positive energy to be found at Newport, one of the only festivals I’ve attended that truly only seems to be about the music. The entire weekend I was there I didn’t see any go pros, selfie sticks, flower crowns, or vintage NBA jerseys. Now that’s saying something.

All jokes aside, the environment is basically a music festival heaven, full of positive energy and love from every corner. The lineup, carefully curated with respect to the well beloved genre of folk rock, was pitch perfect at every point of the weekend, with special guests such as My Morning Jacket and James Taylor keeping us on the toes. Anything can happen at Newport Folk Festival, which is why I will make sure I find myself there every weekend at the end of the July from now on (as long as they’ll have us back).

Below, I’ve posted a list of all the performances we saw over the weekend, which you can click through to find the individual recap and photo galleries of. You can also find some of our favorites photos from the weekend, along with a list of the top 10 sets we saw at the festival, as tough as that was to make.
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’65 Revisited at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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Walking the grounds of Newport Folk Festival, there was much speculation from fellow media members, fans, as well as artists/industry folk about who the special guests could be for grand finale of the festival,’65 Revisited. The performance served as a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s legendary 1965 set at the festival where he went electric. After getting special sets from My Morning Jacket (who also served as Roger Waters’ backing band) and James Taylor, expectations were pretty damn high.

I won’t go through the countless number of now hysterical predictions that I heard throughout the weekend from (Neil Young to Pete Townshend to even freaking Bono), but it turns out that there really wasn’t any huge spectacle to be found, but rather a collection of refined special guests, along with various artists who played previously that day at the festival.

One by one we got a variety of special guests sharing covers of classic Dylan tunes, sometimes alone, sometimes joined by each others company. The list is long an extensive, and wholly impressive on the whole. Guests included: Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Deer Tick, Dawes, Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit, Blake Mills, Hozier, Willie Watson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Al Kooper, and Robyn Hitchcock.

It was an unforgettable set of collaboration and celebration, one that we will never see in the same way ever again. It may not have had the “giant star power” that people were anticipating, but it was a perfect combination of talent, both old and new, that served as a pitch perfect tribute to not only Dylan, but the festival.

Find a gallery of photos of all the artists that participated in ’65 Revisited, posted below, along with the detailed setlist:

1. Mr. Tamborine Man (with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
2. All I Really Want to Do (with Willie Watson)
3. Love Minus Zero (Willie Watson,Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
4. It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings)
5. Maggie’s Farm (with Dawes)
6. Takes a Train to Cry (Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Welch, Dawes, Al Kooper)
7. Tom’s Thumbs Blues (Pres Hall, Welch, Dawes, Rawlings, Kooper, Hozier and First Aid Kit)
8. Outlaw Blues (Deer Tick, Dawes, Al Kooper)
9. Just Like a Woman (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Kooper and Blake Mills)
10. Visions of Johanna (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Al Kooper and Robyn Hitchcock)
11. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later) (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Al Kooper)
12. Like a Rolling Stone (Welch, Rawlings, Dawes, Kooper)
13. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Everybody)
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Shakey Graves at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015 — with 1 comment

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I’m far from perfect, sometimes I just never catch on to an act even though good sense and countless recommendations from others have warned me that I probably should reconsider. Time to Shakey Graves, the Austin-based project of Alejandro Rose-Garcia, to that list.

In a matter of seconds of his set, the energy of him and his three-piece band has summoned everyone out of their seats and up on their feet. The blues-inspired music from Shakey Graves has folk-rock in its spirit, but done so with a dirty garage stomp. The amount of energy that they unleashed on the crowd was one of the best surprises of my entire Newport Folk Festival weekend, the sort of thing that I will never forget.

I hope to catch an even longer set from them when they come to New York for a performance at Terminal 5 on November 11.
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J Mascis at Newport Folk Festival 2015

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2015

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When not keeping busy making ear drums ring with Dinosaur Jr., frontman J Mascis keeps busy with solo records of his own.

Last year he released his most recent solo album Tied to a Star via Sub Pop. Even with the solo material, his short but efficient set featured Dinosaur Jr. songs such as “Little Fury Things,” as well as special covers such as Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You,” and The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”

Find some more photos from his Newport performance posted below.
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