Since I went to Gov Ball days 1 and 3 this past weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to theme this week’s “10 Best Songs” post around Gov Ball — kind of like a festival recap.
When it comes to great music, Gov Ball is pretty much on point. When it comes to the entire festival experience, though, Gov Ball is slacking. Compared to other music festivals, Gov Ball seems like a series of diverse concerts thrown together in the park. And sure, they might have tasty food trucks/stands and a super fun silent disco (who doesn’t love looking like an idiot?), but they lack that certain umph that makes the festival feel like, well, a festival. Being held in a city that overflows with emerging artists, Gov Ball could easily feature various art installations that would totally be Insta’ed, which would add to Gov Ball’s festival cred and image. Regardless, I still had so much fun at Gov Ball both this year and last. Gov Ball has no where to go but waaay up (I’m saying this primarily to make a play off of Big Sean’s “Blessings”). Here are my favorite songs from the weekend:
1. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa by Vampire Weekend. Unfortunately, Vampire Weekend wasn’t officially at Gov Ball this year. BUT Chromeo teased the crowd by playing the beginning chords of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” and then proceeded to bring Ezra Koenig on stage to perform the song. It was AMAZING, and it definitely brought me back to Gov Ball 2014. After, Chromeo played “I Could Be Wrong,” which Ezra is actually featured on — and if I’m being completely honest, I had no idea they even had a song together.
2. Jealous (I Ain’t With It) by Chromeo. Chromeo is always so groovy, and when they played their hit, the entire crowd (even way back where I was) got funky and pulled their weirdest dance moves out with no judgment whatsoever.
3. Bloom by ODESZA. It’s probably obvious by now that I may or may not be Odesza’s #1 fan so it will come as no shock that I loved their set. However, just like Coachella, they were stuck in a tent so I had no choice but to squeeze through the tight, sweaty crowd to get a little further in from the back to fully hear the set. Again, I wasn’t thrilled with the sound quality since it didn’t quite reach the back, but the duo was amazing as usual. To be fair, I had high standards for the quality of the performance since I saw Harrison and Clayton (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis now) play the night before at Rough Trade to a super intimate crowd of maybe 200 fans. No matter how many times I see them, their live performance will never get old to me. The energy at their Gov Ball performance was so palpable and quite possibly my favorite of the weekend.
4. What Kind of Man by Florence + The Machine. I’m a sucker for heavy percussion so this song was definitely my favorite of her Gov Ball set. When I saw Flo last, it was at Coachella right after she broke her foot; due to her broken foot, she had to have a stripped performance, which was great, but kind of a downer since she always has the best stage presence with her electric energy. This time, she didn’t hold back one bit. Her performance was a mix of songs from Lungs, Ceremonials, and her newest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. I’m a huge fan of her old albums, but it was cool to hear her perform new songs, like “St. Jude” and “Ship to Wreck.”
5. Energy by Drake. Talk about ENERGY when it comes to Drake’s performance. Drake started and closed with “Legend” and boy is he a “motherfucking legend.” He was just as amazing as he was at Coachella, but there was something about that Gov Ball/New York vibe that made his performance that much better. Also, nice try, Drake, but you also said “this is the best festival crowd I’ve ever seen” and “I’ve never experienced a crowd like this before” at Coachella — I guess his acting gig on Degrassi really paid off.
6. You + Me (Remix) by Flume, Eliza Doolittle. I didn’t go to Gov Ball day 2, so I wasn’t there for Flume’s set, but from what I’ve seen via Instagram video, it was absolute *fire emoji*. If it was anything like his performance at Terminal5 that I was at last summer, I’m sure it was nothing short of amazing.
7. Elephant by Tame Impala. I said this at Coachella too, but Tame Impala is definitely meant for people tripping on acid. They just have a way of sending out those triply, groovy vibes. It would’ve been a different experience if the band played at night though since it was a little hard to see their visuals in the daylight.
8. Get On Up by Big Gigantic. I was pleasantly surprised by the successful blend of jazz and electronic music — the mix of saxophone, drums, and bass flowed naturally into one another. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the saxophonist is a D.I.L.F. (I don’t know if Dominic Lalli is actually a dad, but still).
9. Video Games by Lana Del Rey. I’m a huge fan of Lana with her deep vocals and melancholy rhythms so I was stoked to see her perform. In fact, she was a big part of why I decided to go back to Gov Ball on Day 3. Her back drop was a sight, her outfit (a New York Yankees jersey dress) was on point, her hair was perfectly coiffed, her face was obscenely beautiful, and her voice was- well I’m not really sure. For some odd reason, the sound was terrible at the Honda stage, and the crowds to the side of the stage and all the way back could hardly hear her. From seeing other people’s Instagram videos who were closer to the stage, she sounded angelic. But looking back at my own Snapchat story where I recorded Lana, I could only hear the people talking around me instead of the music. However, every time I was able to hear tiny snippets of her singing, I was in love.
10. Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys. Since I was at Lana for her entire performance, I sadly missed all my favorite Black Keys songs, like “Howlin’ for You,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Lonely Boy,” and “Gotta Get Away.” However, ending Gov Ball weekend with “Little Black Submarines” just felt right. Starting as a ballad that could almost pass as a lullaby, the song explodes with energy as it erupts into a full-on rock chorus heavy with guitar riffs and drums. As we were all air guitar-ing, fireworks burst into the air right on cue to signify the end of a weekend filled with great friends and live music.