The 2019 Governors Ball performances ranked from HOT to NOT
The 2019 Governors Ball music festival took place last weekend from May 31 to June 2 on Randall’s Island Park in New York City. Boasting three days full of incredible live performances, gourmet food and unique art installations, the festival, now in its ninth year, barely disappointed despite the unfortunate last minute weather-related evacuation on the final day of the fest.
However, during Friday and Saturday Govball certainly delivered on its promise of music, food and fun. Just as in the past, Govball did an incredible job of getting a varied and eclectic lineup of artists spanning many different genres, age groups and mainstream popularity level. In order to pay homage to the 2019 festival, we ranked some of this year’s performances from hot to not.
The 2019 Govball performances from HOT…
There’s nothing worse than a DJ performance in which the artist presses play on one song, lets it run until it reaches the end and then repeats the process (I always wondered – isn’t the entire point of a DJ to creatively mix songs together?) Luckily, with Major Lazer’s set on Saturday night starting at 9:45 p.m. and going until close, this DJ faux paus was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the electronic group was able to maintain a high energy level and consistently good music throughout their entire hour and 15-minute set.
Major Lazer is a trio consisting of record producer Diplo and DJs Walshy Fire and Ape Drums. Walshy Fire mainly interacted with the crowd, getting everyone excited while screaming commands into the microphone to keep the audience dancing all night long.
The Major Lazer set also included a group of about six to eight female backup dancers which added to the fun and party-like atmosphere of the performance. With three costume changes and nonstop dancing, these girls were a major asset to the performance and added to the incredible energy. It was also unlike anything I had seen at any other DJ set, and this novelty aspect of the performance heightened its enjoyability.
All in all, Major Lazer was definitely one of the best DJs sets I’ve seen (and as someone that had a slight EDM phase in high school, I’ve seen a good number) as well as perhaps my favorite set at Govball this year. What this electronic group did best that not every DJ is able to master was creating a fun and exciting set for both hardcore EDM lovers as well as more general fans that just want to dance and have a good time.
I may be biased in saying this, as Brockhampton’s Friday afternoon set at Govball this year was my third time seeing them live, but I don’t think the rap collective can put on a bad performance. Their Govball 2019 set proved my theory, as they put on both an exciting and emotional performance that I (along with many people in the crowd) wished would last forever.
What’s most unique about Brockhampton’s performances is the way in which the six performing members interact with one another as well as the crowd. While Brockhampton includes all of their creative members, from producers to visual artists, as part of the band, the members that sing and rap onstage are Matt Champion, Dom McLennon, Merlyn Wood, Joba, Bearface and Kevin Abstract, the latter of which founded “America’s greatest boyband,” as they often refer to themselves.
Up on the Govball stage, the energy and comfort between the six members in palpable. This collaboration gave Brockhampton’s performance a level of emotion and familiarity that is difficult to create in any live setting, let alone while playing to a huge crowd on the biggest festival stage. Brockhampton is able to make the audience feel as though they’re part of both an intimate jam session and a lively festival set at the same time.
In addition to the sheer energy between the members, Brockhampon never disappoints in terms of stage design and costumes, which provides another exciting aspect to their performances. Their Govball set began with Bearface, alone on a platform attached to a crane, hovering above the audience dressed in an iridescent silver spacesuit. After his intro, the stage curtains opened to reveal the rest of the members sitting in a model rocketship, dressed in the same spacesuits as Bearface.
Throughout the set, the members of Brockhampton utilized the spaceship in their performance while also interacting with the entire crowd, spreading out so they could each take time and attention to the left, right and middle parts of the audience. As Brockhampton continues to gain more popularity, it’s clear that their ability to put together visually and sonically incredible live performances is an asset that will continue to aid them in their rise to fame.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler’s headlining set on Friday night had a certain magic to it, as it was one of the first times he performed his new number one album “IGOR” live and perhaps the actual first time for such a big crowd. Just like the album itself, Tyler’s performance did not disappoint. The set began with Tyler dressed in a neon green suit and the blond bobbed wig that has become synonymous with his “IGOR” persona as the track “Igor’s Theme” played.
Tyler jumped into an incredibly high-energy performance, moving from one song off “IGOR” to the next with the sort of frenzied and eccentric energy that the rapper is known for. The crowd responded in full force, singing along to every song although the album had just been released a week ago. Tyler even acknowledged how grateful he was to everyone that liked and knew the album, giving his set a sweet, heartfelt touch while still being incredibly fun.
Tyler had a costume change, switching out of his suit and wig into his classic shorts and button-down shirt combination to play some hits off of his 2017 album “Flower Boy” and even going as far back to his 2013 album “Wolf” before returning to “IGOR.”
Perhaps what’s most incredible about Tyler’s performance was that he was up there completely on his own, yet the excitement and energy that accompanied his set didn’t wane for a second. Besides a cool set of different leveled speakers from which Tyler could stand on to perform, it was mainly just him, the stage and the audience.
He truly was able to command the audience for the entire hour and 15 minutes, a feat difficult for even the most seasoned of artists. “IGOR” allowed fans to see a different side of Tyler as both an artist and a person, and his Govball set reflected this sentiment completely, making it both exciting and nearly historic for music lovers.
Anybody who knows me knows that I love Lil Wayne, and his set was the one that I was perhaps most looking forward to on Friday. So it’s with a heavy heart that I say his performance was disappointing, to say the least. He began his hour and fifteen minute set on Friday at 8:00 p.m. by thanking his fans and God, which was a nice way to begin his performance.
Unfortunately, his set went downhill from there. The truth is, Lil Wayne just doesn’t sound the way he used to and his Govball performance reflected this. He can no longer rap as quickly and eloquently as he did on the recordings of his most popular songs.
Furthermore, he didn’t perform any of his tracks all the way through: He played about a third of “6 Foot 7 Foot” and half of “Lollipop” before stopping and switching over to another track. Whether these shortened song performances were due to lack of breath control, fatigue or even just timing is unclear, but they definitely put a damper on Weezy’s set.
However, the famous New Orleans-based rapper gets bonus points for the huge diamond-encrusted sunglasses and huge white hat he wore throughout his set (the man may not be able to rap live like he used to, but he has serious style). Just being in such close proximity to a living legend like Lil Wayne nearly made up for the fact that his set was less than stellar.
Playboi Carti’s Saturday afternoon set was neither good nor bad, thus putting it in the indistinguishable “okay” category that’s sometimes even worse than just flat-out horrendous. Besides his DJ, Carti didn’t have anybody else on stage with him. However, unlike Tyler and other solo artists at the fest, he seemed unable to completely command the audience with just his own presence.
This isn’t to say the audience responded badly to Carti: Everybody enjoyed when he played his hits like “Magnolia” and “wokeuplikethis*.” However, his hour long set soon became repetitive and, if truth be told, a bit boring. Perhaps Carti would shine better in a smaller setting, but at Govball he didn’t seem to have the stage presence to command an entire festival audience.
The “Mo Bamba” rapper had much the same issue as Playboi Carti: He seemed unable to command an entire festival stage. Like all other artists that performed on the last day of the festival, Sheck Wes’ set was cut short on Sunday due to impending weather conditions. However, this shorter set almost seemed to benefit the young rapper, as he was clearly struggling to get through his entire performance in terms of energy level and breath control.
Like Carti, the audience responded well to Wes’ hits “Mo Bamba” and “Live Sheck Wes,” which he played to close his set. For these songs, the audience seemed to be doing the majority of the work, screaming the lyrics louder than Wes.
However, this isn’t to say Wes is a bad performer: I once saw him in a much smaller, intimate setting where he had a shorter set time and much better command of the crowd. It’s possible for Wes to continue to grow and become a better festival performer, but after seeing his set at Govball it’s clear that the young rapper needs time to develop his performance and sound to better serve a larger stage.
The Governors Ball music festival will be returning in 2020 from June 5 to June 7 for their 10th anniversary. Until then, we’ll just have to relive the magic of the 2019 festival.
Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.