Dance Trumps Rock And Other Lessons From Governors Ball 2014
It is raining as I write this so excuse me if it goes astray but as a long weekend I’ve anticipated for months and months becomes memory and legend, it is time to reflect on three days and some (wait for it) OVER THIRTY SHOWS, what, if anything, did I learn.
1. Dance trumps rock, no two ways about it. Skrillex and two thirds of Swedish House Mafia siphoned off 75% of the audience, leaving 25% for Jack White and Vampire Weekend. The sheer numbers were incredible. Broken Bells was free and easy, you couldn’t move at Disclosures set which was occurring on a different stage at the same time.
2. Youtube trumps all streaming services combined. If you are getting millions of viewers on youtube don’t worry about officially releasing albums. It doesn’t matter so much.
3. The secret to music festivals is the secret to streaming: sample, sample, sample: if there are two people playing at the same time, see both. With exceptions that is what I did.
4. Live rap has come of age. My buddy Mike Long was asking me about the sound, you know the bass heavy headaches of rap through the ages. Well, the state of the amplifier has come of age and rap sounds great live.
5. Girls wear bra tops instead of bikini tops and boys, even straight boys, dress sexually ambiguously: not unlike straight German men in the 1980s.
6. Rap is beginning to sound better live than on record. The reason is new r&b tends to be very Wu Tang dark until the chorus, rappers realize this and so use the choruses to bring in the audience.
7. Some bands simply don’t translate well to the festival circuit, the Kills, Alunageorge, Neko Case and Jason Isbell all seemed a little out of their element. They should have invited Luke Bryant. I’m not a fan but, not unlike Jimmy Buffet, I bet he’d kill it in a party atmosphere.
8. Organization matters, security matters, freedom matters, Medics matter: Governors Ball was a masterpiece of thinking through problems before they occur.
9. And man does the weather matter. After 2013’s disaster, the weather was, as Tyler put it “awesoooome”: sunny but not too warm, just humid enough, just very very comfortable
10. The sets in order of preference and an overall grade of A-
1. Janelle Monae
2. Chance The Rapper
3. The Strokes
4. J. Cole
5. Jenny Lewis
7. TV On The Radio
8. Tyler The Creator
9. Frank Turner
10. Earl Sweatshirt
11. Jason Isbell
12. Jack White
14. Sleigh Bells
15. La Roux
19. Damon Albarn
22. The Bloody Beetroots
23. Washed Out
24. Run The Jewels
25. Julian Casablancas
26. Neko Case
27. Wilde Belle
28. Damian Marley
30. The Kills
31. Broken Bells