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Opinion: Governors Ball 2014 continues with intensity

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Electronic musician James Blake performs at the Berlin Festival Sept. 9, 2011.  Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Electronic musician James Blake performs at the Berlin Festival Sept. 9, 2011.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Governors Ball — because New York City has to have a music festival, too, right? Such is the case for this hyper-urban festival catering to those who still like to shower daily.

A ferry ticket and $230 gets you to Randall’s Island Park June 6-8 to attend one of the most historically overdriven festivals in the country. I have found that Governors Ball, which although it acquires a lot of the same indie acts as many of the year’s festivals, banks on gaining a lineup with more heavyweight artists than the others.

It requires an eye that floats down to the bottom of the lineup sheet to observe this, though. I mostly use last year’s set of bands as an example, boasting the likes of F–ked Up and Dinosaur Jr. in the smaller print. Two examples are by no means indicative of a trend, but I was hard-pressed to find bands of anything slightly harsher than “alt rock” at another festival the same year.

Governors Ball 2014 is the biggest yet compared to previous years, and it continues this trend in its nuanced division. Below are the five artists that might make the trip over to NYC fruitful.

1. The Strokes

Even if “Comedown Machine” is a womp, the Strokes’ catalogue of dismissive rock with hooks that are infectious without trying would be a sight whose legend is on par with the OutKast reunion (another tour that is continuing to Governors Ball as well). The band that brought “Is This It” and even “Room on Fire” can’t ignore its classic tunes entirely during the live show, which ought to be a great reward for coping with post-2010 comeback material.

2. James Blake

Whether he’s considered your purveyor of electro-soul, some post-dubstepper or that solemn producer that makes drippy electronic music that just makes you feel something, James Blake is going to be the midday calm of Governors Ball. “James Blake” and “Overgrown” are masterpieces of depth in solitude, brimming with emotion and cool colors. I’m sure the intimacy of Blake’s music will take on a different character at a festival, but it will at least be refreshing to hear a subdued, melodic dubstep as opposed to…

3. Skrillex

As soon as “WUB WUB WUB WAAAAAH WAAAAAH WAAAAH CINEMA” graces the aural atmosphere of Governors Ball, the festival’s most eccentric will be bombarding Sonny Moore’s stage. Electronic dance music has a way of creating a show in the crowd that’s as bombastic as the one on stage.

4. Diarrhea Planet

To my knowledge, Diarrhea Planet’s (the world’s best name) gig at this year’s Governor’s Ball might be its first festival-level show. The six-piece with four guitarists definitely has the power to broadcast its noodly, power pop riffs to a festival-grade audience, and if it’s anything like its show at The Basement last year with So So Glos, it will incite the berserk in goers. Expect sweaty dudes playing greasy guitars to fans that are equally as slick. *Throws up horns*

5. Grimes

For something completely different, Grimes, the DIY pop project of Claire Boucher, is set to be doing up Governors Ball as well. She caught my ear, and surely most, with 2012’s “Visions,” a breathtaking record. Although this album is enveloped in atmosphere, Boucher serves as a guiding, danceable light through. Anything Grimes performs ought to be majestic.

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