"How many of you out there are under 30?" De La Soul's Maseo called out to thousands gathered on Randall's Island Saturday for day two of the Governors Ball music festival. He smirked as the youthful crowd outed itself with a roar. "I appreciate your energy," the New York hip-hop legend said, "but you're gonna learn something today."
That banter set the stage De La Soul's jaw-dropping 50 minute set, one which arguably overpowered Saturday's day 2 headliners, M83 and The Killers. Maseo, Dave, and Posdnuos rocked three mics and two turntables with ease, running through classics like "Stakes Is High" and 1989's "Me Myself And I." The trio's soul-infused beats and classic catalog drew a massive afternoon crowd, and for a while yesterday everything seemed ideal.
And then came the great deluge. Saturday's festivities were marred by two downpours that soaked attendees and turned portions of the ground into pools of mud. On Sunday afternoon organizers decided to cancel all of day three's performances, which would have included Kanye West, Death Cab For Cutie, Chet Faker, and more.
Despite the weather, R&B vocalist Miguel whipped crowds into a frenzy, while electro-dance duo Purity Ring showed off their mesmerizing LED light show. No one, though, could top De La Soul when it came to sheer stage presence and lyrical aplomb. With their new crowdfunded album fast-approaching, Saturday's performance was proof that all is well with the local legends.
Finally, we'd be remiss not to mention bass virtuoso Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner, whose afternoon set veered into jazz-fusion territory. Offering up equal helpings of gorgeous falsetto vocals and rapid-fire bass solos, Bruner's 6-minute versions of "Daylight" and "Lotus and the Jondy" were as brilliant as they were tongue-in-cheek hilarious. You can't help but chuckle when Thundercat puts his head down and runs races up and down his instrument. The man is an absurd, triumphant weirdo. "Uhhh wait, is this Governors Island, or..." Thundercat wondered aloud. "ARE WE STILL IN NEW YORK??"
Here's video from The Killers' set.