Off the southern tip of Manhattan, but closer to Brooklyn than Jersey (unlike poseurs Liberty & Ellis Islands…), Governors Island has struggled to raise its profile since the Coast Guard base there was closed in 1996 (hey, Smothers Brothers were born there…). In 2010, the ‘Gone to Governors’ series of free shows opened at one part of the island (QRO venue review), while another, larger site hosted HARD NYC (QRO recap). ‘Gone to Governors’ is gone, but arising in the larger space is the new Governors Ball.
The inaugural Governors Ball takes place all day on Saturday, June 18th, with dance acts kicking up a storm – and no overlapping sets. So go to Governors, and have a Ball with these artists:
|Pretty Lights, 10:30 PM, Big Apple Stage
Colorado-based producer Derek Vincent Smith puts some energy behind his electronic work as Pretty Lights, with 2009’s Filling Up the City Skies free to download.
|Girl Talk, 9:05 PM, Gotham Stage
Greg Gillis (Girl Talk) moved from biomedical tissue engineering to DJ mash-up engineering, taking samples from across the spectrum and making something very new. While he started out playing clubs, he’s graduated to ballroom & even the great outdoors (QRO photos outdoors) – but that just means he’s got bigger stages to fill with dancing concertgoers… (QRO photos at a festival)
|Empire of the Sun, 8:00 PM, Big Apple Stage
Australia has been doing very well in the international electro-dance scene, such as The Midnight Juggernauts (QRO spotlight on) & Miami Horror (see below), and one of the biggest is Luke Steele & Nick Littlemore – a.k.a. Empire of the Sun, who burst out in 2008 with Walking On a Dream and “We Are the People”.
|Big Boi, 6:55 PM, Gotham Stage
Still probably best known for being one-half of massively successful duo OutKast, Big Boi first showed off his solo skills in the Speakerboxx half of OutKast’s 2003’s double-LP, Speakerboxx/The Love Below (the latter half being partner Andre 3000’s own solo debut). But the hip-hop artist is out with his own, fully solo Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty last year.
|Neon Indian, 5:55 PM, Big Apple Stage
Alan Palomo works solo as VEGA (QRO photos at a festival) and recruits a live band as Neon Indian (QRO photos at the same festival), where he’s far stronger (QRO photos with his band), especially outdoors (QRO photos outdoors with band) & at a festival (QRO photos at a festival with band).
|People Under the Stairs, 4:55 PM, Gotham Stage
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.
|Miami Horror, 4:00 PM, Big Apple Stage|
|Mac Miller, 3:10 PM, Gotham Stage
Neither Pittsburgh nor Judaism is known for a plethora of rappers, but what there is delivers, and hailing from the hometown of friend Wiz Khalifa (QRO photos) and home faith of Matisyahu (QRO photos) & Beastie Boys (QRO album review) is Malcolm McCormick, a.k.a. Mac Miller, whose new EP On and On and Beyond just came out in March.
|Das Racist, 2:20 PM, Big Apple Stage
Check out mock-rap outfit Das Racist (QRO photos at a festival), especially their hilarious breakthrough single, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”.
|Passion Pit (DJ set), 1:30 PM, Gotham 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. So even though it’s just a DJ set, catch the burgeoning indietronica stars outdoors (QRO photos outdoors) at Governors Ball (QRO photos at a festival), ‘cause they’ve moved up to the big-time (QRO photos), and aren’t playing small places – or even medium-sized (QRO photos) anymore…
|Reptar, 12:50 PM, Big Apple Stage
Fresh off opening for Matt & Kim (QRO spotlight on), and in the middle of their tour with Art Brut (QRO spotlight on), Atlanta’s Reptar (QRO photos) already have a good rep to open Governors Ball.
|Outasight, 12:15 PM, Gotham Stage
From just outside the five boroughs is Yonkers’ Outasight (Richard Andrew), who describes his music as, “Energetic hip hop mixed with melodic soul.”
|Art and Artists
In addition to all the music, Governors Ball welcomes some expressive, expansive artists, including the inflatable suits & sculptures of Jimmy Kuehnle, interactive sculpture of Hannah Craft and Joshua Knoblick, and the towering balloon chains of Airspace (QRO photos at a festival).
For festival website, go here: http://governorsballmusicfestival.com/