In 1998, Baz Luhrmann offered us his song/speech that had one important piece of advice: “Wear Sunscreen.” And after three days at Governors Ball this past weekend pacing back and forth between stages under the beating sun and purchasing beer so costly that I thought my pee would turn to gold, I can confirm that Baz’s words remain the best advice I never took.
But as my sunburn transforms into a nice tan, my memories follow suit and become more beautiful as I look back upon a slew of performances that were worth every bead of sweat I perspired. Extending a wide variety of genres, Randall’s Island became a temporary home to artists such as Grimes, James Blake, and Outkast (with a ton of noteworthy musicians in-between). But the highlights remain sets from Jack White, The Strokes and Vampire Weekend.
Jack White is no stranger to festivals, and that was evident when he busted out “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” from his White Stripes days. He also made sure to mix in a few new tracks off of his newest release Lazzaretto; namely, its title track and the instrumental “High Ball Stepper.” White’s energy was infectious, but was slightly diminished by a shared timeslot with that mistake of a musician (and hairdo) Skrillex. White also threw in “Sixteen Saltines” from 2012’s Blunderbuss, making his set a well-rounded mix of nostalgia and innovation.
Then there was New York City natives The Strokes, who managed to gather the biggest crowd of people, defying their reputation for being markedly ambivalent on stage. Offering a set of songs from both of their albums, these guys were able to keep the crowd hyped all the way up to their ballsy but necessary encore “New York City Cops” with a chorus that chants “New York City Cops/They ain’t too smart.”
Recent Grammy winners and my most anticipated performers of the weekend, Vampire Weekend, wrapped up the festival with a crowd that remained fervid even after the previous heat-stricken days. Ezra Koenig even took the win for most unique outfit, beating out Grimes, in a goofy red button-up and some camouflage shorts that ended just above the knees. But if “Diane Young” won’t change your mind, then I guess she won’t change his either when it comes to clothes.
But remember, wear sunscreen.
– Carianne Hixson