On Saturday evening, hordes of eloquent young pilgrims boarded a 4-minute ferry to Governors Island for a Gone to Governors show featuring Miniature Tigers, Nite Jewel, DOM, Prefuse 73 and Neon Indian—a packed lineup but (thankfully) there was little evidence of the long lines that have plagued previous free shows in the series. The overarching theme of the night, judging from the bill, was "chillwave," the dubiously existent genre of music first promoted by bloggers last year that features sunny, fuzzy electronica.
The island was an early-evening idyll, with young couples as well as families lazing on the Water Taxi Beach and an older woman practicing her hula-hooping skills next to the brightly-adorned artificial palm trees. Brooklyn band Miniature Tigers were a somewhat incongruous addition to the bill, sounding nothing like any of the other bands; somewhat fittingly, they played when it was still light out and the mood was a little different. Their sound, if mopey, is resplendent with multipart harmonies and the sort of frantic fun—like the wild yelps in "Bullfighter Jacket"—that calls for legitimate Animal Collective comparisons.
Next up was Nite Jewel, a California act powered by multimedia artist Ramona Gonzalez whose particular disco-influenced take on the genre has been repeatedly described as "cough syrup," followed by DOM. The latter was in fine form with lead singer DOMinic leaping about like a true rock star of the olden days. A Greek chorus of fellow Worcester, MA natives in the crowd chanting "508!" kept the band's status as a party-rock act secure. DOMinic confused everyone, however, when he announced that this would be their "last show." All bets are off on whether they're telling the truth.
Prefuse 73, a mash-up act featuring chopped-and-screwed R&B samples, only served to build anticipation for Neon Indian. Whatever heady textures were lost in the honey and cannabis-smelling air were made up for with melodies laid gorgeously bare. Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone joined them onstage for a rendition of one of the earliest Neon Indian remixes, "Another Likely Story." As the set dissolved in a mixture of day-glo and floodlights, the crowd slowly made their way back to the ferry, leaving a sea of crushed cups and other debris behind them.
Here's a video of DOM playing "Living in America" just after announcing their supposed imminent breakup:
And Neon Indian playing "Psychic Chasms":