By June 20, 2011

My Life: NYC’s Governors Ball Invades Gov. Island with Mac Miller, Big Boi, Empire of the Sun, Girl Talk & More

Just like The Roots Picnic kicked off Summer Festivals down in Philly (click here to see my recap), The Governors Ball officially set off Summer in NYC with a bang. Though it wasn’t strictly hip hop related – given the site is called The Hip Hop Update – it was an eclectic group of artists that made it one of the best collective concert experiences I’ve been to in a while. Click below to check out my official recap, including my pictures of Mac Miller, Big Boi, Neon Indian, People Under the Stairs, Empire of the Sun, Girl Talk, and more:

Interestingly enough I’ve lived in NYC going on three years, but I’ve never gone to Governor’s Island. The island, itself, is right off the tip of Manhattan and literally a 10 minute ferry ride. After attending the Governors Ball, I fully support more artists/labels/etc holding events on the island. Plenty of great space that’s easily accessible.

As with most outdoor festivals I’ve attended, the crowd was mixed but mostly held a younger demographic (or, at least, looked young). I find that with most outdoor festivals with no age restrictions hold a very mixed crowd. Like I’ve said in the past, there’s one common point that brings the crowd together: Good Music!

I wound up getting to the fest a little late (It opened at noon but I got there at about 3), but I was right on time to catch Mac Miller and his team rock out. This was my second time catching Mac and after seeing him at The Roots Picnic, I had high expectations. A little group prayer from the team before hitting the stage.

Mac heads up the steps to the stage so he can face the anxious crowd.

DJ Clockwork held it down until Mac’s official arrival on stage. Thumbs Up.

Thumbs Up! Mac Miller did his thing, opening up with some of his best tracks from Best Day Ever and K.I.D.S. While I had heard him perform about a month ago, he and his hype man TreeJay bring a lot energy to the table.

Another thing I noticed – and I don’t really know Mac or any of his camp personally (aside from interaction on Twitter) – is that Mac seems genuinely excited to be up on stage giving it his all. A good trait for an artist on the rise. Never get content with your most recent success.

Here’s that excitement. Crowd interaction was on point. That’s something fans appreciate more than anything. Take note.

With the sun shining, Mac killed it and had the audience in his hand. I couldn’t stay for the whole set because I had to meet someone, but props to Artie, Mac, Tree Jay, and Q for creating their lane and putting in work. More pics of Mac at the end of the recap.

Before rolling to the other stage, my buddy and I snagged some drinks from the media area. There, we caught up with our good friends the Rosenthals aka Its the Real aka The Hype Men. Jeff has been keeping busy doing show reviews for the Village Voice, while they have both been doing freelance stuff for MTV – aside from their Hype Men podcast.

Headed back out to catch People Under the Stairs bring some underground heat to the crowd. Though I haven’t been keeping up with the duo as I used to, I was thoroughly impressed by both the music and the crowd response. There were a lot of younger kids out there that knew the lyrics to all their tracks. I appreciate that and I’m sure Double K and Thes One did too.

The two MC’s manned the turntables and performed singles from their past albums, including “Trippin at the Disco.” For an underground act with critical acclaim, it was a great performance at the Governors Ball.

Back at the other stage, the crowd was gearing up for Neon Indian. For the sake of keeping this hip hop focused, I won’t get in to too much depth – but I loved what the Texas band brought to the table.

If you’re in to an alternative, trippy indie rock sort of music, I definitely recommend checking out Neon Indian. More pics from the performance at the end of this post.

With Neon Indian killing their set, I started rolling back toward the other side of the festival. One thing I’m sure the crowd appreciated was that there were no overlapping sets. That means you could check out Neon Indian and walk right over to the other stage to catch Big Boi without missing any of the music.

Big Boi’s time to shine came toward the end of the day as he approached the stage with the sun glowing over Manhattan in the distance. Big Boi always brings that ATL bounce to the stage, so I was excited to hear his set.

As expected, Big Boi rushed the stage to a cheer of applause from the audience. One thing I noticed Big Boi rocked the same sort of outfit he wore when I saw him at the Crown Royal event not too long ago.

He had the crowd hyped up as he performed classic Outkast cuts. “Rosa Parks” and “Ms. Jackson” especially had the crowd in a frenzy.

I caught Mac Miller rapping along to Big Boi’s Outkast classics. He looked like he was having a great time just being a hip hop fan. After all, we all start out as fans, right?

Years upon years in one of the toughest industries to stay relevant in and Big Boi was still enjoying his time on stage. He’s in a rare position where his music will be passed on from generation to generation as some of the best hip hop has to offer. Outkast’s legacy >

Yo Mac

Truthfully, Empire of the Sun was the band I was most looking forward to throughout the day. The Australian duo is known for their unique costumes and stage shows, making it a lively experience like no other.

Like Neon Indian, I won’t get in to the specifics, but Empire of the Sun lived up to expectations. Probably drawing the biggest crowd of the day, the band performed their most popular material as female dancers in bodysuits flew around the stage. DEFINITELY recommended if they come to your city. More pics at the end of the post.

The day was coming to a close. Only Girl Talk and Pretty Lights remained as the festivals headliners. Great scenery with Manhattan in the background.

Fans were ready to end their day with Mashup artist Girl Talk. Mac Miller fans as well? Yup.

YES. Girl Talk’s stage was set up as his logo glowed in front of the crowd. I like this photo as I made the light from his logo streak with my camera.

Soon enough, Girl Talk came on stage dressed like he had just come from the Gym. Appropriately enough, the crowd was in for a workout as he pumped his music from the stage.

A few fans enjoying their time. Gotta love the crowd!

I’m not 100% sure how they were chosen, but a select group of fans rushed the stage to dance it up during the DJ set. Everybody needs their time to shine on stage. My day was over, however.

While I had to head back to the city before Pretty Lights ended the fest, I had a chance to reflect on the day via the short boat ride back to Manhattan. All in all, it was a an excellent festival that gave the people something for everyone. At the end of the day, however, it was the music that brought everyone together. A+ day.

Stray Observations:

~My only complaint of the day was there was zero to minimal cell phone service. I don’t know if that is based on the island, itself, or the amount of people in the space…but I’ve been to plenty of festivals where cell phone service has worked just fine.

~Thanks to Beth, whose sunglasses I stole and are now on my desk at home

~Free drinks and lounges in the media section were clutch…especially with it being such a hot day out.

~As far as I saw, there were no fights, no altercations and no issues throughout the day between the crowd. People don’t know how to act when there’s alcohol and its hot out, so that was a positive

~Governors Ball did a good job of setting up vendors and activities occupy the crowd all day when they weren’t watching a given set.

~Sorry to those who I missed at the Fest. See the first observation….

~Governors Island should be utilized more often for festivals

~HUGE thanks to Chris V.

Here’s an additional gallery of pictures from the festival, which includes the ones in the recap and many more. Check um:

Posted in: My Life