Governors Ball 2015 Preview

New York City's Governors Ball returns, Friday-to-Sunday, June 9th to 11th....
Governors Ball

Governors Ball 2015 Preview

For so long, New York City had not had a top-flight regular music festival. Sure, there’s industry fests like CMJ (QRO recap) or EDM raves like Electric Daisy (QRO recap), but where was the Big Apple’s answer to Los Angeles’ Coachella (QRO photos) or Chicago’s Lollapalooza (QRO recap)?

When Governors Ball debuted in 2011 (QRO recap) on Governors Island, it was a one-day limited electronica event. The move to Randall’s Island the following year (QRO recap) allowed it to expand to two days, one indie, one electronica, but it still wasn’t in the big leagues. That came in 2013 (QRO recap) with three full days stretching across genres – only for torrential rains to make the whole thing a giant, muddy mess.

But last year, Governors Ball delivered on the sunny promise that New York deserved (QRO recap), putting it up there will any other festival on the continent. And now it returns, Friday-to-Sunday, June 5th to 7th:



GovBallNYC Stage

Drake, 9:30 – 11:00 PM

One of the most successful and well-liked rappers working today, Drake comes to headline Governors Ball. The Toronto native (“Where the rappers are polite, and the mayor smokes crack…”) first came to notice as a teen actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation, but found his true calling with 2010 debut album Thank Me Later (QRO review), and has continued his chart-topping work with 2011’s Take Care (QRO review), 2013’s Nothing Was the Same, and this year’s surprise release, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. A few years ago he sparked a near-riot when he free NYC show at South Street Seaport (QRO venue review) was cancelled due to overcrowding (QRO photos of would-be show), but things should be better managed when the man who coined the term ‘YOLO’ comes to Randall’s Island.
Florence & The Machine, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Known for her yearning vocals and crooning howls (QRO photos), Florence & The Machine (QRO live review) have garnered the reputation of the world’s most renowned indie pop artists (QRO photos). However, their singles “Shake It Out” and “You’ve Got The Love” from 2011’s Ceremonials (QRO review) are only a short glimpse of her haunting soundscape (QRO photos). The group will come to Governors Ball just after the release of follow-up How Big How Blue How Beautiful.
Florence & The Machine
Chromeo, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

There are combos and then there are combos: Montreal’s Chromeo (QRO live review) are the electro-funk duo of Dave 1 (David Macklovitch) and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) has been best friends since childhood (QRO live review), billing themselves as, “The only successful Arab/Jewish collaboration since the beginning of time” (but what is their stance on Québécois independence?…). And their electronica works outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), day or night (QRO live review), even at a festival (QRO photos at a festival). They come back to Governors Ball (QRO photos at Governors Ball ‘12) for a second time (QRO live review), now after the release of last year’s White Women (QRO review).
Twin Shadow, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

With one of the best debut album of 2010, Forget, produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear (QRO live review), George Lewis Jr. (a.k.a. Twin Shadow – QRO photos) shot up on the hype meter. Turns out, the ‘80s new wave-influenced pop of the Dominican Republic born musician (QRO photos at a festival) actually lived up to its reputation. Sophisticated melodies and catchy hooks abound, the tracks of Forget easily transitioned from haunting poetics to infectious dance numbers (QRO photos at a festival), and he’s lived up to that level with 2012’a follow-up, Confess, which he tours (QRO live review) along with new record Eclipse.


Rae Sremmurd, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Twin Shadow

Big Apple Stage

St. Vincent, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM

After the one-and-only Annie Clark (QRO interview) made 2007 her break-out year, both as part of The Polyphonic Spree on The Fragile Army (QRO review) and with her own debut as St. Vincent (QRO photos), Marry Me (QRO review), she followed that up with even-better years (QRO spotlight on), gracing festivals (QRO photos at a festival), charming and surprising crowds with winning humor live (QRO live review), and bringing a stable of new songs (QRO live review). Those new songs, like “Laughing With a Mouth of Blood” (QRO video) and “Actor Out of Work” (QRO video) formed into 2009’s Actor (QRO review), which vaunted her into the even bigger time (QRO photos at a festival), including playing Lincoln Center (QRO live review) and other storied concert halls (QRO photos at a festival) & venues (QRO photos at Royal Albert Hall).

Admittedly, 2011’s Strange Mercy (QRO review) wasn’t quite as good, but then she teamed up with the one-and-only David Byrne (QRO photos at a festival together) for 2012′s Love This Giant (QRO review), and the holy St. Vincent (QRO photos) came back with a vengeance last year on St. Vincent (QRO review), including an absolutely stellar live show (QRO photos in Europe), with her platinum grey hair and mannequin moves shining outdoors (QRO live review outdoors), at festivals (QRO photos at a festival) and in the Old World (QRO live review in Europe). A must-see at Governors Ball ’15 (QRO photos at a festival).
St. Vincent
Death From Above 1979, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

For an act that only broke up five years ago, Death From Above 1979’s reunion is actually one of the most anticipated (QRO photos at a festival). It helps that the duo of Jesse F. Keeler (who’s been in MSTRKRFT since the break-up) and Sebastien Grainger (who had his own solo career after the break-up – QRO album review) basically invented the dance-punk/noise-rock scene. Their initial reunion gig at South-by-Southwest in Austin in 2011 (QRO recap) was so mobbed that policemen came in on horses and used mace – won’t be that nuts at Governors Ball, but expect a wild time (QRO photos at a festival) as the band tours (QRO live review) behind their self-titled reunion record (QRO review).
Death From Above 1979
Rudimental, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

A major hit in U.K. & Australia, London’s Rudimental (QRO photos in the U.K.) bring their liquid funk stateside at Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival).
Benjamin Booker, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

The neo-garage of Benjamin Booker (QRO photos at a festival) isn’t that special, but is getting him attention.
Benjamin Booker
DIIV, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Brooklyn shoegaze outfit DIIV (QRO live review) – previously known as Dive (QRO photos) – come to Governors Ball, after releasing debut Oshin (QRO review) in 2012.


Honda Stage

My Morning Jacket, 9:15 PM – 11:00 PM

The current alt-country wave has lifted the boats of bands that had already been doing it for a long time, such Wilco (QRO live review) and My Morning Jacket (QRO live review). The Louisville outfit, fronted by singer/guitarist Jim James, doesn’t have to just play it sweet, but also keep the rock. They reached the bigger time with 2008’s Evil Urges (QRO review) and 2011’s Circuital (QRO review), but are still growing – even had a whole episode of American Dad about/with them (okay, not Family Guy, but still…). Having already hit the big time (QRO photos outdoors), they can definitely handle headlining Governors Ball (QRO photos headlining a festival), which they come to just after the release of their latest, The Waterfall.
My Morning Jacket
The Decemberists, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM

Portland, Oregon’s The Decemberists (QRO photos at a festival) have been booming in recent years, from their showdown with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report (QRO Music on Late Night TV) to 2009’s excellent magnum opus, The Hazards of Love (QRO review), 2011’s The King Is Dead (QRO review), which earned them a Grammy nom, and this year’s What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. Oh, and they taught the children of Springfield Elementary on The Simpsons, plus appeared on the season finale of Parks & Recreation!
The Decemberists
Vance Joy, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

From the other side of the world, Melbourne’s Vance Joy (QRO photos) is the rare footballer (that’s soccer to you yanks) turned singer.
Vance Joy
Charli XCX, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Charlotte Aitchison, under the moniker Charli XCX (QRO photos at a festival), is one of Britain’s most elusive dark pop songstresses. Already after opening slots on big-name tours as well as festivals (QRO photos at a festival), not to mention co-writing the breakthrough song for Icona Pop (QRO spotlight on), “I Love It”, she started to solidify her career as a pop songwriter to be reckoned with (QRO photos), with 2013 seeing her release her debut full-length, True Romance, and playing her own headlining gigs (QRO photos). Last year she achieved her own breakthrough single, “Break the Rules”, on sophomore full-length Sucker.
Charli XCX

Kaytranada, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

The Districts, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PMQRO photos at a festival

The Districts

Gotham Tent

Ratatat, 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM

New York’s own Evan Mast & Mike Stroud form the electronic duo known as Ratatat (QRO photos at a festival). After putting out a self-titled record & following it up with Classics, their last two full-lengths have kept the simple-and-sweet-name, in LP3 (QRO review) and LP4, though July sees Magnifique. Fun will definitely be had, thanks to Ratatat’s energetic, psychedelic live show (QRO live review).
ODESZA, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Harrison Mills & Clayton Knight managed to put out their debut as electronic duo ODESZA (QRO photos) while still in their senior year back in ’12 with Summer’s Gone, and come to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) off of last year’s follow-up full-length, In Return.
MØ, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

Singer Karen Marie Ørsted, å.k.å. MØ, followed up her hit status in her native Denmark by getting American notice thanks to collaboration with Iggy Azalea (QRO live review) on last year’s single “Beg For It”.
Gorgon City, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Catch charting North London electronic garage duo, Gorgon City, as they play live (QRO photos at a festival).
Gorgon City
People Under the Stairs, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

Los Angeles underground hip-hop group People Under the Stairs, or P.U.T.S., a celebrated outfit compared to the pioneering likes of A Tribe Called Quest and Jurassic 5.  They return to Governors Ball for a second time (QRO photos Governors Ball ’11).
People Under the Stairs




GovBallNYC Stage

deadmau5, 9:15 PM – 11:00 PM

Coming off appearing at the medal ceremonies for his country’s Winter Olympics last year, Niagara Falls’ deadmau5 (QRO live review) is still most recognizable for his trademark headgear & light show (QRO photos at a festival). While his remix of Morgan Page’s “The Longest Road”, featuring Lissie (QRO spotlight on), lost out in the Grammy for ‘Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical’ to David Guetta (QRO album review), the progressive house artist (don’t dare call him a ‘DJ’…) has blown up, most recently with last year’s while(1<2).
Björk, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM

The most famous native of Iceland since Erik the Red, there is no one else like Björk. The singer/songwriter is known worldwide for her eclectic, experimental, and avant-garde output, most recently with this year’s Vulnicura and 2011’s Biophilia (QRO review), but she’s also worked in art, acting, and much more. You know her, you love her, it’s Björk.
Little Dragon, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

From chilly-but-beautiful Gothenburg, Sweden comes the chilly-but-beautiful electronic outfit Little Dragon (QRO photos), who’ve collaborated with everyone from Gorillaz (QRO album review) to José González, but last year put out their own Nabuma Rubberband, their follow-up to 2011’s Ritual Union (QRO review), and have been gracing festivals (QRO photos at a festival) & more (QRO photos at a festival).
Little Dragon
Marina & The Diamonds, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Great Britain has been putting out accomplished, interesting pop songstresses at an incredible rate, such as Adele (QRO live review), Ellie Goulding (QRO live review), and the woman who came in second to Goulding in the BBC ‘Sound of 2010’ poll, Marina Diamandis (QRO photos) – or Marina & The Diamonds (QRO photos at a festival), who comes to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) as part of her big U.S. tour (QRO photos in U.S.).
Marina & The Diamonds
Clean Bandit, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Electro group Clean Bandit (QRO photos) topped the U.K. singles charts with “Rather Be”, which featured elements of classical music along with a dance beat – and now they’re playing Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival).


Holychild, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM

Clean Bandit

Big Apple Stage

Flume, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM

Bringing electronics from halfway around the world is Sydney’s Harley Streten – a.k.a. Flume (QRO photos at a festival).
Atmosphere, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

The DJ/producer and rapper duo hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota (QRO photos in Middle America), has already garnered themselves the reputation of one of hip hops most cacophonous and respected acts. Known for his aggressive and energetic performances, Atmosphere’s set is a definite must-see (QRO photos outdoors) as he returns to Governors Ball (QRO photos at Governors Ball ’12).
Sharon Van Etten, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

While there’s a ton of stripped songstresses out there, one of the nicer ones is Sharon Van Etten (QRO photos at a festival), who evoked the sad strains of Appalachia on her debut, Because I Was In Love (QRO review), while 2011’s Epic (QRO review) made her the Brooklyn ‘it girl’ (QRO photos in New York), and 2012’s Tramp (QRO review) got her get even more acclaim – and attention (QRO photos). She’s even had a star-studded show in NYC (QRO photos), where she had special guests like Thurston Moore (QRO live review) of Sonic Youth (QRO live review) & Aaron Dessner of The National (QRO spotlight on). She comes to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) behind her latest, Are We There (QRO review).
Sharon Van Etten
J. Roddy Walston & The Business, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM
J. Roddy Walston brings the rock to Governors Ball as frontman for J. Roddy Walston & The Business (QRO photos outdoors).


Kate Tempest, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM

J Roddy Walston & The Business

Honda Stage

Ryan Adams, 9:15 PM – 11:00 PM

The alt-country/rock artist broke out in the first years of this century/millennium when he went alone, finding major success in the country/rock mainstream, but Ryan Adams (QRO photos) eventually embraced his backing band, The Cardinals, and kept on writing. After 2008’s Cardinology and tour, Adams announced he was leaving The Cardinals again, as well as going on a hiatus due to hearing loss and disillusionment with today’s music industry, but returned in 2011 with Ashes & Fire and last year’s acclaimed self-titled record, now hitting the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival).
Ryan Adams
Conor Oberst, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM

Welcome back, Conor Oberst (QRO photos at a festival). As Bright Eyes (QRO photos), Conor Oberst won legions of hearts (including Summer’s on The O.C.QRO Music of The O.C.), but after 2007’s Cassadega (QRO review), he dropped the name and strayed into unfortunate country terrain (QRO live review). In 2011, not only did the Bright Eyes name come back (QRO live review outdoors), but also the Bright Eyes (QRO photos at a festival) sound on The People’s Key (QRO review). In 2013 he revived his early agit-punk band, Desaparecidos (QRO live review), but he’s shifted back to being Mr. Oberst once again for last year’s Upside Down Mountain (QRO review), so who knows what to expect (QRO photos at a festival)…
Conor Oberst
Angus & Julia Stone, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

Australia’s been bringing a surprising number of up-and-coming artists, often coming to the wider world through the mother country, Great Britain. One of those acts is the brother-sister indie-folk duo Angus & Julia Stone (QRO photos), from the northern beaches of Sydney down under, who come to Governors Ball after last year’s self-titled record.
Angus & Julia Stone
Moon Taxi, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Moon Taxi (QRO photos at a festival) cross the dashed lines between indie, jam, progressive, and rock.
Moon Taxi
White Lung, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Vancouver’s White Lung (QRO photos at a festival) bring some punk rock to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival).


Charlotte OC, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM

White Lung

Gotham Tent

SBTRKT, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM

London DJ/producer Aaron Jerome, a.k.a. SBTRKT, has been impressing with his post-dubstep work, which he brings to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival).
Future Islands, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Baltimore’s Future Islands (QRO photos) play a highly acclaimed, darker form of synth-pop (QRO photos at a festival) as they come to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival).
Future Islands
Kiesza, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

Calgary’s Kiesza (QRO photos) learned to play guitar while a NavCom in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserves. She has successfully moved from her folk beginning to the disco-infused pop of last year’s sophomore full-length, Sound of a Woman.
Rustie, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Russell Whyte brings some electronic dance music over from his native Glasgow as Rustie.

ASTR, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PMQRO photos at a festival




GovBallNYC Stage

The Black Keys, 9:15 PM – 11:00 PM

The blues-rock from guitar/drums duo of Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney (QRO photos) sounds like it comes from the deepest (and blackest…) part of the South, but these two white men (QRO photos at a festival) hail from Akron, Ohio. However, The Black Keys (QRO photos outdoors) are as gritty as anyone, whether on records like 2008’s Attack & Release (QRO review), 2010’s Brothers (QRO review), 2011’s El Camino (QRO review), or live (QRO photos at a festival), as depicted on the Live at Crystal Ballroom DVD (QRO review). And the duo (QRO photos at a festival) comes back to Randall’s Island to headline (QRO photos headlining a festival on Randall’s Island), touring last year’s Turn Blue (QRO review).
The Black Keys
Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM

In the nineties, Noel Gallagher (QRO photos) and his brother Liam broke through in a major way, fronting Oasis, the band that defined Brit-rock of that era. They also pretty much defined ‘sibling rivalry’, as the guitarist/songwriter and singer (respectively) seemingly constantly feuded. Their commercial success declined at the end of the decade/century/millennium, with Oasis splitting & getting back together for two better-received albums – before Noel leaving again.

Since then, while Oasis-without-Noel Beady Eye failed to impress & broke up, Noel (QRO live review) has found continued/renewed critical & commercial success behind Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds (QRO live review), who come to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) with sophomore record Chasing Yesterday.
Noel Gallagher
Tame Impala, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

From Perth (QRO photos at a home) in Western Australia (QRO photos at a hometown festival), comes the psychedelic rock of Tame Impala (QRO live review), touring off of 2011’s Innerspeaker (QRO review) & 2012’s Lonerism, whose critical acclaim has won them fans across the world (QRO photos at a festival), and a spot at Governors Ball (QRO photos).
Tame Impala
Sturgill Simpson, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Though his sound is closer to traditional country, because Sturgill Simpson (QRO photos at a festival) operates his own label outside of the Nashville country music business, he’s labeled ‘alt-country’.
Sturgill Simpson
Echosmith, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Arrive early with the “Cool Kids” for Echosmith (QRO photos), who come to Governors Ball (QRO photos in New York) after playing on the season finale of American Idol.

Streets of Laredo, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PMQRO photos at a festival

Streets of Laredo

Big Apple Stage

Hot Chip, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM

Maybe the first band to hit it big in this century/millennium’s electronic indie-dance scene was LCD Soundsystem (QRO live review) – but the second was close friend Hot Chip (QRO photos). The Warning and “Over and Over” lifted the band (QRO photos) to the big time in 2006, and they’ve kept it going (QRO live review) with Made In the Dark (QRO review), One Life Stand (QRO review), and 2012’s In Our Heads. They come to Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival) behind their latest, Why Make Sense?.
Hot Chip
The War On Drugs, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Claimed to be “Best New Music” by Pitchfork for their 2011 album, Slave Ambient, The War On Drugs are often known for the jauntily confections of atmospheric guitars and rolling drums (QRO live review). The Philly outfit (QRO photos) later saw member Kurt Vile spin-off for his own successful career (QRO live review), and followed up Slave with last year’s Lost In the Dream (QRO mp3 review).
The War On Drugs
Royal Blood, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

Embrace the fast-rising blues-garage of Manchester’s Royal Blood (QRO photos at a U.K. festival).
Royal Blood

Chronixx & The Zincfence Redemption, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

DMA’s, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PMQRO photos


Honda Stage

Lana Del Rey, 9:15 PM – 10:30 PM

Few have had as quick an up-and-down as Lana Del Rey. The singer (actual name: Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) toiled in obscurity until becoming Ms. Del Rey, with which she suddenly jumped from playing dingy places like the late Glasslands (QRO venue review) in Brooklyn to becoming the musical guest on Saturday Night Live (QRO Music on Late Night TV). That SNL performance, however, was widely panned, as was her full-length Born To Die (QRO review), earning her the reputation as just being a ‘pretty face’ (being signed as an actual model didn’t help, either…). But see & hear for yourself as she plays Governors Ball behind last year’s follow-up, Ultraviolence.
Lana Del Rey
Big Gigantic, 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM

Boulder’s Big Gigantic (QRO photos at a festival) mix (big) electronic beats with live drums and even live saxo-mo-phone. Known to set crowds in a writhing heap of body parts (QRO photos at a festival), Big Gigantic (QRO photos at a festival) has been showcasing their electronic fervor all across the globe (QRO photos at a festival), including the last ever New Year’s Eve at New York City’s closed landmark venue Roseland Ballroom (QRO live review). They play Governors Ball for a second time (QRO photos at Governors Ball ’12).
Big Gigantic
A-Trak, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

Montreal’s Alain Macklovitch – a.k.a. A-Trak (QRO photos at a festival) – got notice when picked to be the personal DJ to none other than Kanye West (QRO album review), but has also produced for the likes of Lupe Fiasco (QRO photos at a festival) & Kid Sister (QRO photos at a festival), as well as his work with Armand Van Helden as Duck Sauce (QRO photos at a festival).

Logic, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Strand of Oaks, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PMQRO photos

The Picturebooks, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM

Strand of Oaks

Gotham Tent

Flying Lotus, 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM

While Flying Lotus (QRO photos outdoors) might be best known for making the music in Adult Swim’s bumpers (that text right before a show on the cable channel), he’s also an accomplished producer, as well as making & playing music in his own right (QRO live review) – not to mention his alter ego, Sealab 2021-inspired Captain Murphy.
Flying Lotus
Weird Al Yankovic, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Admit it. You’ve always liked Weird Al Yankovic (QRO photos), and you’ve certainly always wanted to see his live show. The best-selling/best-known comedy/music act ever, Yankovic has been parodying popular songs & writing his own comedic ditties for over thirty years now. Yes, he always drops off the radar (remember UHF?) only to return, with virtually every new album a ‘comeback’ – most recently with last year’s Grammy winning Mandatory Fun, the first ever comedy album to debut at number one on the charts.

Maybe you never had the guts to go against the hipster crowd and buy a ticket to Weird Al, but here’s you’re chance – and he reportedly does the parodies he couldn’t get the rights to, like of Wings, Eminem & James Blunt, live.
Weird Al Yankovic
Mayer Hawthorne, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

Actual name Andrew Cohen (QRO photos at a festival), he adopted his middle name & name of the street he grew up on (isn’t that how you get your porn name?…) for 2009’s A Strange Arrangement, and comes to Governors Ball behind 2013’s Where Does This Door Go (QRO photos at a festival).


Hermitude, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Bishop Nehru, 12:45 PM – 1:30 PM
Mayer Hawthorne



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