7 Bands to Check Out At NYC’s Governor’s Ball

If you have tickets to the fourth annual Governors Ball in NYC, then you’re in luck, because single day tickets and three day passes have already flown out the window. For a relatively new festival, the masterminds behind the it have managed to put together an extremely impressive and varied lineup. But like most other festivals I go to, I’m there for the bands, and here are the 7 bands you must check out.

Vampire Weekend

Listen to: “Diane Young”

If you only see one band on Sunday, make sure it’s Vampire Weekend. In the midst of the final leg of their North American tour for their Grammy winning third album, Modern Vampires Of The City, Ezra Koenig and the band are playing the final set at the NYC festival on Sunday, June 8th. The New York natives (and Columbia grads) have managed to incorporate cultural and historical allusions in their music while maintaining their trademark playfulness and upbeat sounds. When in New York, you cannot miss this band; they and their music are the embodiment of New York. Whether you’re into their older catalogue (“A-Punk,” “Horchata”) or their newer masterpieces (“Diane Young,” “Step”), you’re bound to have a great time at the Vampire Weekend set.

Foster the People

Listen to: “Best Friend”

The Los Angeles natives are making a stop in NYC in the middle of a tour for their new album, Supermodel (which by the way, is superb). The new record is miles more experimental than their debut album, Torches, and it’ll be interesting to see the trio transform their new work in a festival setting. Among the slew of awesome bands playing Gov Ball, Foster The People are among the ones to see, partially because they are debuting new material, but mostly because Mark Foster and the gang are known to put on a fantastic show.

The Strokes

Listen to: “Last Nite”

If you haven’t heard of The Strokes and/or how fantastic they are live, you cannot miss this chance to catch them headline at Gov Ball. After releasing their fifth album last year, the group disappeared from the scene a bit, with lead man Julian Casablancas playing a slew of shows with his band and guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. looking to break out on his own. Their headlining slot at Gov Ball is one of the few dates the band has announced this year, so you don’t want to miss it.

Bastille

Listen to: “Flaws”

After touring relentlessly around Europe and America, Bastille is one of the British acts performing at Gov Ball this year. Lead by frontman Dan Smith, Bastille unfailingly put on fantastic and wildly energetic shows (trust me, I’ve seen them a handful of times) with their synthy tunes and percussion heavy tracks. If you know their entire discography, you’re probably already coming to the show. But if you only know “Pompeii,” then you have to check out their set to see what the fuss is all about (after all, their debut effort Bad Blood did sell over 2 million copies worldwide). Among many acts I’ve seen this year, these Londoners are among the few who know how to work a festival crowd, so you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

The 1975

Listen to: “Robbers”

The 1975 are one of the other British acts running the American festival circuit this year. Though legions of teenage girls swoon over the handsome boys, the Manchester band genuinely put on quite a show. Their setlist consists infectious guitar riffs, catchy choruses, head banging drum parts, and seductive saxophone solos. In the midst of a sold out North American tour, the band will put on a dance party on Randall’s Island to kick off the three day festival. Be sure to check out their set and their album.

Little Daylight

Listen to: “Overdose”

Having just performed on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Little Daylight are ferrying to Randall’s Island to play Gov Ball next Friday. They will be playing tunes off their EP, Tunnel Vision, as well as tracks off their upcoming debut album, Hello Memory.  The trio, also Brookyln natives, will definitely put on a good show; their synth pop gems will be echoing in your system for weeks after the festival.

Drowners

Listen to: “Luv, Hold Me Down”

To round out the list, check out Drowners. The New York band, led by Welsh born Matt Hitt, sound like an All American band meets British punk in the best ways possible. One of their catchiest tunes, “Luv, Hold Me Down,” will have you dancing along during the show and will be on repeat after the festival ends–it is the quinessential summer song. Having already toured with the Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant, the band will tour some more after playing a handful of American festivals. Make sure to check them out at the festival if you want to have a wicked time.

Though there are some fantastic acts in this year’s lineup, these are the ones I think you should check out. With a mix of headliners and up and coming bands, Gov Ball 2014 will not disappoint (especially if you decide to check out these bands).
– J
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