It was supposed to be a celebration for the people behind Governors Ball, the three-year-old New York City music festival hit its biggest and best year yet with an all-star line-up that included Kings of Leon, Nas, Kanye West, Guns 'N Roses, The Avett Brothers and more, but for day 1 of the Ball, it was anything but. The weather called for rain - and it came down, a whole relentless amount of it. Outdoor festivals are a catch-22, when the weather is perfect, a music festival could be one of the best days of your life, but when it is bad like it was today, miserable is an understatement and on the flood prone Randalls Island, it was surprising no one drowned in walking and swimming in the amount of water and mud that drenched the island on Friday.
Arriving a few hours after the gates opened, it was the sounds of Policia that greeted us at the door, while it was nothing different from what they had done at Lollapalooza last year, it was a gentle welcome and ease into what was going to come. Over at the Gov Ball Stage, the legendary Dinosaur Jr. were going to even tone down their set due to the weather. Frontman J. Mascis was bundled up in his rain coat while he performed and prevented his signature grey locks from flowing in the wind. The band sounded fantastic with their chomping riffs and playing a majority of songs off last years I Bet On Sky, they even snuck in a grunge cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven," which caught many off guard. From there it was a trek through the mud and into the SKY Vodka Tent for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. The British DJ, dressed as a psychedelic Medieval knight, had the audience forgetting about the weather outside and dancing in the palm of his hand. Combining retro dance riffs from the 80's and early 90's and mixing it with modern EDM and mid 90's industrial sounds, TEED was on fire.
From the pulse pounding sounds of a young British DJ to the acoustic sounds of an Icelandic buzz band, Of Monster and Men. The band, who are still riding the wave of success off 2011's My Head Is An Animal sounded exactly as they do on disc. The band did not seem to mind the rain and tried to get their fans to forget about the freezing winds that were starting to come in from the East River, but it was a difficult task. It would prove even more difficult for festival favorites Crystal Castles who were performing inside the SKY Vodka Tent and packed in it, however, by the time they were on, their audience was sinking into the ground like they were trapped in quicksand thanks to the flooded ground. The bands drone and gloom sound would normally be something to revel in on a day like Friday, but it was not about being entertained at that point, it was about trying to find less of a way to be miserable. Heading on over to the You Are Doing Great Stage to see Local Natives would be exactly what Of Monsters and Men faced just an hour before, a band that sounded really great but was just hard to enjoy thanks to the climate.
For us, the final band of the day would be Young The Giant, who easily had the best and most stage presence than anyone we had seen and were debuting brand new material right off the bat before going into signature songs off their 2010 debut. They sounded tight, they were engaging the crowd but it was time for us to throw in the towel. With the winds picking up and rain just coming down harder than before, we packed it in and called it a day. It was difficult to leave such an incredible live band, but what is the point of seeing a band if you are really uncomfortable or not enjoying the experience? Within two hours of our departure, it was announced that headliners Kings of Leon would not perform and the day was cancelled due to the inclement weather. At least it was the first day, lets hope the other two days outshine what just happened.