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Governors Ball 2014 – Day Two Recap

The Strokes
Emily Tan, Diffuser.fm

As great as the first day of the Governors Ball music fest turned out to be, the second day was even greater. More than twice the people showed up on Saturday at Randall’s Island in New York City for the three-day fest.

One of the first acts on the bill, Catfish and the Bottlemen, didn’t quite expect to see such a large turnout for their set, but their quick-paced guitar riffs were so welcoming that they pretty much won over everyone who heard them.

With songs like ‘Pacifier’ and ‘Kathleen,’ their floppy hair and monochrome stage clothes, they could easily be compared to fellow Governors Ball band the Strokes. Frontman Van McCann took it all in stride and even had a bit of a laugh about it.

Another new act, Lucius, has quickly risen through the indie-pop ranks. Their set proved why. Dressed like multicolored disco balls, with blue-tinted round shades to add more quirk, singers Jess Wolfe and Holy Laessig wowed everyone with their powerful yet succinct vocals on ‘Tempest’ and ‘Turn It Around.’

U.K. breakout electro duo Disclosure also brought crowds to their stage. Best known for tracks like ‘When a Fire Starts to Burn’ and ‘Latch,’ Guy and Howard Lawrence proved that they could hype up a crowd with bass so heavy that it made our bones vibrate and R&B-style beats that inspired fans to actually move. While Mary J. Blige — who sings on a remix of their song ‘F for You’ — didn’t show up, AlunaGeorge’s Aluna Francis did to perform ‘White Noise.’

In the past, the Naked and Famous’ anthemic songs haven’t proven to be all that dynamic onstage. But their set at Governors Ball was something different. Singer Alisa Xayalith strayed out from behind her keys and mic stand and danced for the audience.

Even though Jack White and Skrillex got the night’s two headlining gigs, it was pretty much given that hometown rockers the Strokes would be one of the most popular bands at the fest. After a small delay in actually making it to the stage, the group quickly jumped into ‘Barely Legal’ (from their classic debut) before moving on to ‘Welcome to Japan,’ from their most recent release, ‘Comedown Machine.’

The band highlighted their entire catalog, playing hits like ‘Reptilia,’ ‘Hard to Explain,’ ‘Someday,’ ‘The End Has No End’ and ‘Last Nite,’ which capped their set. Still, Julian Casablancas’ Hawaiian shirt and tired face put a bit of a damper on things. While we’re used to his casual stage presence, this was a little too much.

Jack White had no problem looking the part of a rock star with his patterned button-down shirt and suspenders. Instead of loading his set with songs from his new ‘Lazaretto’ album out on Tuesday, he mixed things up, playing songs from his past, like the White Stripes‘ ‘Icky Thump’ and ‘Seven Nation Army.’

Basically competing with Skrillex, who was playing on the opposite side of the island at the same time, White’s set featured plenty of guitar solos and overlong interludes. It seemed a bit unstructured at times, but that’s what festival shows like this are all about.

Next: Governors Ball 2014 - Day One

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