In 2011, a new festival came to the Big Apple in the form of the one-day electronic fest Governors Ball, housed down south of Manhattan on Governors Island.In 2012, Governors Ball returns with a new location, and new style, and a new second day!Now to the northeast of Manhattan on Randall’s Island, Governors Ball keeps the electronica on Saturday, but adds a killer indie-rock line-up on Sunday (emulating somewhat San Francisco’s Treasure Island – QRO Festival Guide).
Saturday, June 23rd sees a dance & electronic set of acts to get you moving, while Sunday features some indie favorites (including some very welcome returns) to get you feeling:
SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD
|Kid Cudi, 9:50 PM – 11:00 PM, Honda Stage
Kicking out the beats at Governors Ball Kid Cudi (QRO photos outdoors), who’s work with GOOD Music labelmates like Kanye West, Common, and David Guetta (QRO album review), and earned major plaudits for his live show (QRO live review) and for 2010’s Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (QRO album review).
|Passion Pit, 8:30 PM – 9:45 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Blowing up very fast was Cambridge, Mass’ Passion Pit (QRO photos). Single “Sleepyhead” (QRO video) found its way to MTV nominations, while debut Manners (QRO review) found its way onto the charts – and expectations are seriously high for this year’s follow-up, Gossamer. Catch the big-name indietronica stars (QRO photos outdoors) headlining Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival), after they did a DJ set there last year (QRO photos), ‘cause they’ve moved up to the big-time (QRO photos), and aren’t playing small places – or even medium-sized (QRO photos) anymore…
|Duck Sauce, 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM, Honda Stage
Remixologist Armand Van Helden recently teamed up with A-Trak (QRO photos at a festival) as Duck Sauce. Under the hip-hop electronic mogul of Fool’s Gold Records, the disco savvy producers have released the hits of “aNYway”, and “Barbara Streisand”.
|Chromeo, 6:20 PM – 7:20 PM, Hype Machine Stage
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).
|Atmosphere, 5:25 PM – 6:15 PM, Honda Stage
The DJ/producer and rapper duo hailing all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota, 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.
|Major Lazer, 4:25 PM – 5:20 PM, Hype Machine Stage
The collaboration between DJ/producers Diplo (QRO photos) and Switch (QRO photos) made a serious breakthrough in 2009 as Major Lazer (QRO photos at a festival), with Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do, and followed it up in 2010 with tour EP Lazers Never Die – and word is they’ve got a new release coming up this year.
|Special Disco Version, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM, Honda Stage
The world may no longer have LCD Soundsystem (QRO live review), but main man James Murphy is still running the important dance label DFA, and along with LCD drummer Pat Mahoney, form the DJ tandem Special Disco Version (QRO photos).
|Santigold, 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Formerly known as Santogold (changed due to threat of lawsuit from an infomercial jeweler Santo Gold – QRO live review), Philadelphia’s Santi White (QRO photos) toured with everyone from Coldplay to Kanye West – but is returning to Sasquatch! (QRO photos at a festival) a star in her own right (QRO photos at a festival), behind her new Master of My Make-Believe and stellar live show (QRO photos at a festival).
|Big Gigantic, 2:10 PM – 2:55 PM, Honda Stage
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, Big Gigantic has been showcasing their electronic fervor all across the globe. The band currently has a downloadable album off their website, and are set to soon play the popular Red Rocks Amphitheater in September.
|Penguin Prison, 1:25 PM – 2:05 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Known for their funky guitar riffs, bubbly synths, and smooth bass lines, Penguin Prison released their first full-length, self-titled album last year. To support their album, and gain a wider audience, they have been striking a groovy beat amongst stages all across America, ensuing in an electro-pop frenzy.
|Walk the Moon, 12:50 PM – 1:20 PM, Honda Stage
In their new, self-titled album, Walk The Moon, these Ohio natives (QRO live review) have become one of America’s infectious indie rock groups (QRO photos at a festival) and it’s easy to see why: their catchy guitar riffs, fun and creamy pop beats can strike a tune within any listener. Later in the year, the band will be the supporting act for fun. (QRO album review).
|Art vs. Science, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM, Hype Machine Stage
The small three-piece band, from the Down Under, has been captivating audiences with their euphoric electro and energetic punk sounds. Ever since the critically acclaimed album, The Experiment, has hit the market, the band has been relentlessly touring and sending dance floors all across the world amuck. No word is out on new material, but Art Vs. Science is bound to strike a groove in your dancing shoes.
|K. Flay, 11:45 AM – 12:10 PM, Honda Stage
A musical aficionado, she seems to know how to do it: producing beats, making rhymes, and playing guitar, piano, and drums. Her inexplicable catchy hooks, and beats are something least expected of a Stanford graduate but has already been deemed the “new best thing in hip-hop.” To promote her mixtapes, K. Flay has been touring all over, but keep watch there is word out for a new mixtape very soon.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24TH
|Beck, 9:45 PM – 11:00 PM, Honda Stage
Beck is back! Your favorite musical non-conformist (QRO photos at a festival) broke through in the mid-nineties thanks to songs like “Loser”, “Where It’s At”, and “Devil’s Haircut” off of early records Mellow Gold and Odelay (QRO deluxe edition review), mixing white boy funk with indie-rock and experimental – as well also delivering a stripped, soulful folk side to boot. His last full-length was 2008’s Modern Guilt (QRO review) and 2006’s The Information (QRO review), after which he took off time to work as a producer (such as on Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts – QRO review – and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ Mirror Traffic – QRO review), only releasing a few soundtrack tracks (like writing for the fictional band Sex Bob-omb in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – QRO soundtrack review). But he’s finally working on a new full-length & finally returning to the stage.
|Modest Mouse, 8:30 PM – 9:40 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Washington State’s Modest Mouse (QRO photos) broke through to mainstream success in 2004 with Good News For People Who Like Bad News, and followed that up by adding Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr for 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (QRO review) – unfortunately, Marr has since left to join the even younger Cribs (QRO live review) and more. But they’re still big enough to even headline (QRO photos headlining a festival), are great outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), and word is they’re finally working on a new album.
|Explosions In the Sky, 7:25 PM – 8:25 PM, Honda Stage
There might not be a more important or beloved post-rock band that Explosions In the Sky (QRO photos at a festival). The Austin band (QRO photos outdoors) basically introduced the epic, vocal-less concept that is ‘post-rock’ into both the indie-sphere and the wider world (including overseas – QRO photos at a European festival – and providing the theme song to Friday Night Lights – QRO soundtrack review), and made the Top Twenty on the Billboard charts with last year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (QRO review).
|Fiona Apple, 6:20 PM – 7:20 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Known for entrancing audiences with her musical style infusing jazz and rock, Fiona Apple (QRO photos at a festival) has garnered the reputation of being one of America’s most successful songstresses. Ever since her Grammy award winning single, “Criminal”, hit the market, audiences have been hooked with her stage presence and performance. She has a new album coming out on June 19 called the Idler Wheel… and already has a single called “Every Single Night”.
|Cage the Elephant, 5:30 PM – 6:15 PM, Honda Stage
With hardly a full-length album to their name, Kentucky’s Cage the Elephant (QRO photos) were snatched up by EMI Records at a low-key SXSW showcase. Following some impressive U.K. airplay, the band packed up and moved to London, where they released their first studio album in 2008. The following two years have been a haze of international touring, late night TV shows, and preparation for last year’s Thank You, Happy Birthday. As their blues-y rock infused live show will prove, elephants were never meant to be caged.
|Built To Spill, 4:40 PM – 5:25 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Yes, the ‘biggest indie-rock band outta Boise, Idaho’ (QRO photos at a festival) is still around, still on Warner Bros., and still putting out new music (QRO live review), most recently 2009’s There Is No Enemy. They’ve gained a second life on the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival) – and have been moving up the festival food chain (QRO photos headlining a festival).
|Devendra Banhart, 3:50 PM – 4:35 PM, Honda Stage
Alt-folk singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart (QRO photos) has just been getting bigger & bigger, from dating Natalie Portman in 2008 to signing to major label WB/Reprise the following year & putting out What Will Be Will Be (QRO review). More recently he’s collaborated with the likes of Beck (see above) on Life During Wartime soundtrack, and with Beck & James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem – QRO live review – and Special Disco Version – see above) for the audio-visual “Song 1” project at D.C.’s Hirshom Museum. So who knows what’s next for Banhart…
|Cults, 3:05 PM – 3:45 PM, Hype Machine Stage
When Cults (QRO photos) broke out in 2010 with infectious single “We Go Outside”, they’d achieved the near impossible: being famous without anyone knowing anything about them (QRO photos outdoors). Since then, the wall of silence has broken down (QRO photos), with the catchy sixties male/female duo recruiting a band, playing South-by-Southwest (QRO photos), and signing to major label Sony for last year’s Cults (QRO review). But even if you’ve got a face (QRO photos) to put to the un-Google-able name, they’re still a hook-laden band (QRO photos at a festival).
|Phantogram, 2:20 PM – 3:00 PM, Honda Stage
Barsuk brings Saratoga Springs’ dancetronica act Phantogram (QRO photos at a festival), who have been getting notice less for their debut full-length Eyelid Movies (QRO review) than their enchanting live show (QRO photos at a festival) – but will it work outdoors in the afternoon (QRO photos outdoors at a festival)?
|Freelance Whales, 1:35 PM – 2:15 PM, Hype Machine Stage
Seriously blowing up are multi-instrumentalist alt-folksters Freelance Whales (QRO photos), whose packed shows (QRO photos outdoors) created real interest in debut Weathervanes (QRO review), and songs like “The Great Estates” (QRO video).
|The Jezabels, 12:50 PM – 1:30 PM, Honda Stage
Known for encompassing an eclectic amount of genres from disco pop to indie rock, this four piece band have already garnered much airplay in their hometown, Australia, as it appeals to many different audiences. They have already released their first album, Prisoner, which has gained much success and has peaked at #2 on Australian radio. Don’t expect anything any new material at the moment, as the band is currently busy touring due to festival season all across the globe.
|Alberta Cross, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM, Hype Machine Stage
London’s Alberta Cross have made a major showing there, being part of opening tours for the likes of The Shins (QRO live review) to Oasis. Having since moved to New York, their blues-influenced alt-rock is getting even closer to home (QRO photos at a festival).
|Turf War, 11:45 AM – 12:10 PM, Honda Stage
The cacophonic four piece band hailing all the way from southern Georgia have been known to for their raucous performances and gritty rock songs. The nearly nameless band only has two singles out on their Facebook but has already garnered much publicity along the east coast. They have a lot of potential as the band makes gritty southern rock ‘n’ roll music that has the fervor of a nostalgic ‘70s band.
Both nights of Governors Ball, there’s an official after-party at Brooklyn Bowl (QRO venue review) – $10 ticket, $5 with Governors Ball ticket stub. Saturday night features up-and-coming Dutch electronic three-piece Nobody Beats The Dream (hosted by Red Bull Music Academy), while Sunday night has Governors’ own Penguin Prison and Art Vs. Science.
For festival website, go here: http://governorsballmusicfestival.com/