Governors Ball 2015 Day 1 Review & Recap: Florence + The Machine Wails, Drake Spits Fire & We Spot Stars!
Last year, it was scorching hot at Governors Ball. This year, it was raining. The opening hours of New York City's major music festival were marked by just the slightest yet most irritating drizzle, but that rain couldn't keep the music at bay.
Day one of GovBallNYC was heavy on hip-hop, with Drake, Rae Srummerd and Future all taking the mainstage. But, of course, indie and rock was more than well represented with roaring sets from Florence + The Machine, My Morning Jacket, Chromeo and more. And Music Times staffers Carolyn Menyes and Ryan Middleton were there to take it all in.
Here's what we saw...
12:15 - The dim noise I hear from my balcony grows louder as I walk closer to the festival grounds from the 103rd street bridge. The excitement is palpable among those walking with me. - Ryan Middleton
1:30 - Getting to music festivals on time can be a little bit difficult, so my apologies to the first few acts of the day. After getting situated in the press tent, I walked by as Rae Srummerd was working it to "No Flex Zone." Talk about good timing and a great start to GovBall 2015. - Carolyn Menyes
1:40 - Right as photographers were being escorted out of the photo pit, Slim Jimmy manages to break his leg and the show comes to a halt as paramedics rush on stage to treat the rapper. Jimmy announces on the mic that he has a massive piece of glass in his leg, but he hopes people will put the incident on Instagram. But, the show must go on as the Swae Lee continues to perform, playing a new one with Wiz Khalifa and bringing it home with "No Type." - RM
1:46 - I was actually making my way over to see DIIV, a band I knew best for the frontman getting arrested with Sky Ferreira a while back. However, DIIV was on hand to ~dive~ into new music. This was indie rock I could get into and a relaxing festival act for what is essentially the morning. - CM
2:21 - Benjamin Booker had taken up on the Big Apple Stage, and he was SOOOOO GOOD. This according to a woman parading around, clearly on something good. I can, in fact, confirm that Booker's blend of old school, blues and shredding guitars is pretty good. - CM
2:45 - If you're looking for the cheapest food at Governors Ball, let me recommend to you Jalapeño Corndog. It's a Corndog, you see, and only $6. Everything here is silly overpriced and so is this, but it's crispy and tasty and, you know, still kind of cheap. - CM
2:50 - Gorgon City are rocking the house, currently to "Here For You" as the pair show off their live show. They brought along a drummer, two singers Lulu James and Josh Barry and themselves on keyboard, drum machines and APCs. The tent is packed, because people want to get away from the rain and Gorgon City is under the Gotham Tent. - RM
3:25 - It's pretty bizarre and fun and empowering to be in a crowd that's shouting out "P*ssy Power!!!" But here I am at Charli XCX, and this punky pop star can deliver a show! From "I Love It" to "Boom Clap," this set was unadulterated energy with a big overwhelming sense of "f*ck you." - CM
3:30 - Future has capped off a little feature segment with "Good Kush and Alcohol" and the hat has come off for it. - RM
3:47 - Iggy Azalea gets a lot of hate these days, but nobody here has a problem of singling along to "Fancy." - CM
4:15 - Rudimental are live with their 11-piece band, though they showed up 10 minutes late, and having played some new tracks from We The Generation, have gone back to Home and gotten a large group of women and the occasional man on shoulders for "Free." - RM
4:40 - QUICK! Everyone run to the Gotham Tent. MO is doing "Lean On" to close out her set. It was worth running from the beer stand too for the 200 or so people I observed going just this. - CM
5:05 - Sorry. I was too busy grooving real hard to Chromeo to take any actual notes. Seriously. This was the most fun, danceable set of the day by faaaaaar. But, at 5:05, last year's headliner Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend popped up to perform "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" and "Bonafied Lovin." It was bona fide awesome. All the more to groove to, my dear. - CM
5:34 - Vance Joy calls out tracks and is met with adoring screams from the ladies up front, but as I walk out during "Riptide," one girl acknowledges his discography, saying "I love this song! It's the only song I know." - RM
5:52 - Death from Above 1979 is insanely loud for two people. Like damn. - CM
6:00 - The tent of overflowing for Odesza. The pair bring the live set up as they occasionally play in unision on their drums and then trigger sounds on controllers in front of them. During the set, talk about Florence + The Machine was everywhere. People expected her to rock it. - RM
6:40 - Odesza drop "Sun Models" as the crowd goes wild and fans breath a sigh of relief that they heard the group's biggest track. The tent largely cleared out after to miss a heavy trap song as an encore. - RM
6:50 - "It's always been a dream of mine to play adjacent a New York City tollbooth and a patronzing boom box." Always loving your onstage banter, Colin Meloy. Even if your set list is the same as I saw two months ago with The Decemberists. I'll always love you. - CM
7:30 - Because I hate myself, I felt obliged to see both Florence + The Machine and The Decemberists, which resulted in fighting a massive crowd to get to the front for Flo and missing the first minute of photo pit time. Seriously, this was the most packed this field was all day, even for Drake later on. Set-wise, Florence kept it close to her new album How Big How Blue How Beautiful, giving "Ship to Wreck" and "What Kind of Man" soaring vocal deliveries. Florence was also loving being able to walk and run around onstage again, and she commented with gratitude all throughout her too-short set. - CM
8:18 - Florence Welch has the voice of an angel and is a goddess. -RM
9:02 - Somehow, I only saw the very last song of St. Vincent's set. It was a chaotic, thrashing guitar-filled moment of rock. I wouldn't have expected anything different. - CM
9:04 - Everything syncs up for Ratatat as they play "Wildcat" with pictures of lions roaring behind them as lasers pepper the trees behind the Gotham Tent. The tent could really be bigger. - RM
9:22 - Jim James of My Morning Jacket has two notable things in his live show: his glorious curly mane (we have that in common) and his flawless vocal delivery. His take on "Circuital" was as clear and record-like as anything heard at GovBall today, and it made not seeing Drake with everyone else feel more than fine. - CM
9:25 - People are really ready for Drake as the stage packs in. Everyone wants to know how he will do after a patchy Coachella performance. - RM
9:30 - As it turns out, Drizzy starts the show with a clip from his mini-doc "Jungle" before launching into "Legend" and then "Trophies" as he a bright spotlight on him. Later, he hints at a possible OVO Fest in New York because of the crowd. Roughly 30 minutes into his set, Drake splits open the LED screens to reveal a "Jungle" background with trees and a blazing fire. He then launches into a medly of features like "Tuesday" getting the crowd to sing almost half the song. GovBall really did go up on a Friday. - RM
9:55 - Stars! They're just like us. Emma Roberts, of American Horror Story fame, was rocking out to Drake's "Blessings," dancing like there's no tomorrow. Girl, same. - CM
10:10 - Drake swears on his mama Gov Ball is the best festival crowd he has every played for. Bold statement. - RM
10:45 - Drake ends with his recent big hits "Know Yourself" and "Energy" before capping everything with a slowed down version of "Legend" as he stared up into the sky wear fireworks were going off. After dissapointing at Coachella, Drake redeemed himself with this performance. Shades of Outkast last year.