Liz Maher checks in enduring the suffering that must have been day #2 of Governor's Ball 2014 on Governor's Island, NYC. Take it away, Liz:
Anyone not properly drunk or medicated enough, and probably most of the staff working the show at Governor's Ball NYC on Saturday, can relate to legendary Fear's "Let’s Have a War". I know, my bad, so forgive me for any grumpiness that comes across.
Fitz & the Tantrums, playing at the Honda Stage, are a "fucking party band." Not a bad one, but
|A fucking party band|
do they really need to remind a crowd to "fucking get down and party" more than once, no less seven times? Dropkick Murphy’s been there and done that better, too. They do have a James Lovelock point about living a meaningful life in the face of ecological collapse and the well-deserved extinction event that is the past shelf-date death of humanity. So, "fucking get down and party!" That being said, the giddy crowd obediently waved their hands in the air and, like Miley advised prolifically on the eve of her Walmart collab, chorused back a dutiful "Yeah!" Noelle Scaggs was beyond super-human, dancing in the heat non-stop, self-flagging herself like a Penitente with a tambourine through F&T's full set. It was almost like she was at another band’s show instead of at frat-boy central. She said, "I was going to be all cute in black" but was also suffering in the heat despite being exactly what she intended. Future fest-goers should take hints from her flattering shorts,and pink sports bra, offering both coolness with a hint of color, all shrouded in airy and forgiving black mesh and fringe. Of course, "Out of My League" and Scaggs-sung songs reigned as successes for the adoring hoard. A cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" was pretty good, too. Scagg on!
Fashion note here, wearing only a bra works best if you are fit and flat chested. If you disregard this fashion hint, at least don't wear a dirty, flimsy nasty grey-colored bra. Back in the day, Courtney Love pulled it off only because at 6'2", with arms toned from Hole performances, she only wore quality vintage. Only young, firm flesh should be exposed and Lena Dunham’s sisters should stay on the wall at the Rijksmuseum in the Hague lying on couches and eating grapes in Rubens portraits. Consider what works best for you, not what starlets wear to past Coachellas. Plunging neckline tanks looked fresh on just about everyone. Have you noticed that humans (you mean Americans? - Ed.) are only allowed to enjoy the passing of time if it is commodified and sold as an event?
So, next up was Broken Bells, but we needed water, so spent enough time in the sun-battered water
line to send us into delirium, which required crashing in the shade of the Gotham Stage. On the way we passed a long line at the Flower Crown concession. Another fashion note, flower crowns had a moment four years ago. They don't anymore. Especially so if said head piece is made of plastic in China. Gilded head combs are lighter, more flattering and in style, although I am not a head comb girl. Another fashion note: If you have long hair, please braid it as a courtesy to those unfortunate enough to be standing behind you. Also, do not dip your braids in chemicals.
The Strokes "look terrible but sounded great," remarked my astute buddy. "Still cool!" according to Julian Casablancas, who has come full circle from style icon to punch line to retro chic. Appropriately, he wore a Hawaiian bowling shirt. Didn’t I see him in a Gin advert or at a Walkmen reunion? And so the Strokes, in a set thankfully dominated by Room On Fire and Is This It? made me wish I had not passed on their pre-GovBall NYC show at The Capitol Theatre. Should we be worried about Fab Moretti? He's looking like Charlie Watts now does. Guess their 30's are the new 60's. Albert Hammond Jr. looked the healthiest, kind of like Tim Broun does these days although his business model is closer to Jarvis Crocker. No matter, the songs are solid as one would expect after so many years and 35-year old Casablancas's voice remains strong. (Probably all the spiru-protein veggie garlic smoothies.) Their VU repetitive chords remain unscathed and perfected with Strokian non-chalance. Drone rock this was not. "Barely Legal", "NYC Cops", "Take It Or Leave It" and "Reptilia" got the biggest applause.
|The Strokes by Dana (distortion) Yavin. See more at Brooklyn Vegan (They really DO look like crap! - Ed.)|
Spoon was strategically ditched in order to score a better spot for Jack White, which was just as well as they sound dull as hell. Passing on that new album. Yeah, and the Guster record, too.
Festival Etiquette Lecture: Please men, do not use women as arm rests or recliners, especially when said male is over 200 lbs and said woman is 110 lbs. Please also refrain from smoking when fellow concert goers are squeezing the life's breathe out of each other.
About a half-hour before Jack White went on, I passed out and wound up in the medic tent, which is a strange experience. My only comfort was that I was too hot and dehydrated to evacuate, like poor still-dead Hunter Thompson after a gin binge (again, pretty sure that was Casablancas in the gin advert). Most of the staff was caring, winning praise for working under stressful conditions. Whoever was in charge that night should be nominated for a Grammy for humanitarian acts of kindness. My assigned doctor looked like an un-buff, episode 7-8 Matthew McConaughey in True Detective, but then I was semi-delirious. It's sort of interesting watching them play "Guess Which Drug(s) This Guy Took?" as they gather around and spit out various remedies. Naltrexone, anyone? Then White came on and it was time to end my accouchement. I caught the first few songs from the tent, and they rallied me to get back out there and cover this show. Remember dear reader, I suffer for you.
|Jack White by Burak Cingi/Getty Images|
A trim White looked amazing and sounded even better. His stage show was stunning: bathed in blue light with scaled up "Highball Stepper" and "Lazaretto" vid effects. The stage set made the entire White experience feel like we were all watching TV in a dark living room, reinforced by the blue and white wave display television from the video. Wearing a Liberty-like printed floral shirt and suspenders, White was in top form, covering new material with a few well-chosen early Stripes songs that fitted well with his current reflection on early-twenties Jack White and one Raconteurs' "Steady As She Goes". "The Rose With A Broken Neck" was even thrown in for those who missed the film. Honestly, "We're Going To Be Friends" never sounds as good as Jack Johnson's cover of the song for his Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for Curious George soundtrack, although it was a pretty good effort on White's part. He was undisputedly the best dressed person at the show, even without a flower crown. "Lazaretto" is almost made for audience sing alongs - When I say nothing, I say everything. Guess the litigation as therapy is working out for him. White, more energized and less stressed than he was during his Blunderbuss tour, cut his pounding, physical performance with dramatic stops to build on his tone and atmosphere, outdoing any synthesizer or shoe-gazing act out there. His phrasing on the lower bridge of the neck was impeccable, as always, and it is that precision which allows him to stop, unlike many sloppy shredders whom I will not name. His new material is dazzling, making you scratch you head at how he achieves various effects and causes. Supporting him is a band retaining only Lillie Mae Rische from the Peacocks and most of the Buzzards. White's intimate performances with Rische were sweet, making every woman in the audience wish they had red hair. Unfortunately, the closeness of these two performers killed any chance of Allison Mosshart making a cameo.
Aside from White's slightly patronizing quips like "Is that too much for you, NY?" and "If you want to sing along, I won't get mad at you," he made the whole horrible festival experience and medical emergency drama worth it, but it wasn't worth missing handstand workshop the next day. We're eagerly awaiting the release of White's album tomorrow, and hopefully a full tour that includes NYC's smaller arenas.