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Governor’s Ball, Friday, June 3rd, 2016, Reviewed


It was a dark and stormy night… Except Day One of Governors Ball was neither dark nor stormy though it was overcast and a little sad. And bustling with activity, mostly eaing.

So ok let’s start watching

Transviolet – I arrived  relatively early and still missed most of these Alyson Camus faves… Cute chick lead singer, the penultimate number was a good loud one, the last song a quiet sucky one – B-

Public Access TV -imagine a young Strokes without the leather jackets, all hot  boys singing classic rockisms. The lead singer looked cool in shades – B

Black Forest Fire – I didn’t like the album and the live show did nothing to change my mind. White boy blues rockers who didn’t sell it – C

Elle King – I didn’t like the album here either but she was fantastic live. The voice was never in doubt but the cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” quieted all my doubts and a song about never going back to the South was very strong. Plus she is very funny. Self deprecating and enjoyable but with that Janis Joplin about her -B+

Bully – I love these indie rockers who write very well about sex but this wasn’t happening, it was like 45 minutes of “Territorial Pissings” -C

Boogie – Straight Outta Compton rapper gets stupid drunk, sounded better than anybody at Bad Boy last week, energizer bunny hot hip hop old school – B+

Years And Years – I thought these guys were a boy band like Take That but they are more of a mix of Pet Shop Boys and Culture Club and Take That, the lead singer is a charmer and a late “Hotline Bling” was super cool electronica. The lead singer has star power – B

Action Bronson – upgraded from the Bacardi to the Honda stage, the other other Queens superstar was in fine voice, unable and unwilling to stop grassroots chants of his name. The Uneasy Rider can be moody live but this set was on the money with his DJ the Alchemist playing the darkest of sounds while Bronson’s hoarse cadence was never anything but on the beat. Even Bronx is hometown for the hometown hero. B+

Big Gram – I musta missed “Lights Out” somewhere or other, it is a goodie. Big Boi we know but on any level Sarah Barthel is a revelation, a knockout in a blonde wig. “I forgot this song, too” she says. But she bobs and weaves while Big Boi knocks it out… Better than that other band I saw him perform with here though it’s a pity they showed late and we only got 30 minutes? A surprise “Miss Jackson” just cemented it forever ever – B+

Father John Misty – In theory, this is the one where the charms of the folk rocker, completely lost on me on record, emerges on stage. And for sure, that soupçon of Jim Morrison and slithered lizard sexiness does him well. But his songs suck and he doesn’t maintain his energy level over even two songs. He needs to be a social media star because he isn’t good enough to be a star based upon his limited skills.  Worst of all his mid song tone shifts are stupid and he has zero communication with the audience. Jim can rest easy – C

Beck -Opening with a quite literally electrifying “Devil’s Haircut” and continuing with a early wobbly art funk “Tambourine”, the first handful of songs were circa Odelay live show worthy and though Beck doesn’t get any better, “List Cause”, “Raspberry Beret” and a huge singalong to “Loser” we’re no slouches. Fabulous set concluded with “Where Its At” – B+

Jamie XX -if there is anything more boring than watching a nerdy DJ DJing, I have no idea what it is. The two times I saw his band the xx’s the light was so dark you could barely see em, and it was more visually arresting than this stuff. Still, it sounds better than the record does so… C+

Bloc Party – The UK indie rockers have some ska in their DNA, not to mention House and trip hop. On stage it can be  lively stuff, Kele Okereke is good frontman and a great singer and when you listen to new rock gods Young Fathers, remember these guys, I just wish they’d give the broken hearted ballads a miss. Still, greeted like returning heroes and deservedly so, Bloc Party are just a remix away from the US Charts again – B

The Strokes – Kanye West kept us waiting 15 minutes, these guys nearly half an hour. Worth it? Last time I saw em here, in the bright daylight and sun, the Strokes performed a career spanning best concert of the life. Here they sound like what they are, the band who fell to earth: guitar rockers with that sweet Hammond Jr. sound but past it . Julian was in great voice and after opening with three newbies, all pretty good, they dug into their album tracks -also all pretty good. So after learning nothing from their success estimate, they played songs people didn’t wanna hear in shadows. I gave em half an hour and went off in search of Robyn. Still, man, they sounded good – C+

Robyn – sounded even more disco and less pop than usual, performing hot dance in a slinky pant suit. B-

All in all, a lot of work for very little pleasure, bad enough for me to skip today (tomorrow has

And the winner of day one? Well blow me down, Beck!!

Grade: B-

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