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The London Souls did their best at the GovBallNYC stage to get the crowd pumped on the first day of the festival, but not even their dynamic guitar solos could excite the audience. The dreary weather and drizzling rain probably did little to help excite the already lukewarm, early crowd, nor did their inexperience—it was their first time at Governors Ball—but for the few fans jamming at the front of the crowd, the upbeat rock opener impressed with a strong performance that reminded everyone why the band had been invited back to their hometown of New York to perform on Randall’s Island.
Fortunately for them, Black Pistol Fire benefitted from the tent over the Bacardi House stage that shielded their set from the rain—or was it the smaller floor that pushed crowd members closer together? Either way, this rock group succeeded where The London Souls failed in electrifying the audience with their performance. The band and the fans seemed to feed off one another, building upon each other’s energy until guitarist and lead vocalist Kevin McKeown dove off the stage and surfed the crowd, who went wild at the chance to hold him up. The adrenaline seemed to have gotten to him once he was back on his feet, and he blew off steam by releasing his pent-up energy onto his guitar. After McKeown smashed the instrument into several pieces, which he subsequently threw into the crowd, Black Pistol Fire left the stage, leaving in their wake the audience thirsting for more.
Meg Mac, fresh off a tour opening for D’Angelo, performed at the Honda stage on the first day of Gov Ball. Despite the event being her first music festival in New York and second ever in the U.S., she used her crooning vocals to seduce the crowd into enjoying her performance as much as she clearly was. Wearing an outfit as rich as her voice—she looked stunning in an all-black outfit with guipure-like detailing—the Aussie singer roused the small crowd of concertgoers with her soulful songs from her 2015 EP, “MegMac.” Few could have established the intimacy she did with her audience, especially on the open fields of Randall’s Island.
Heloise Letissier, singer-songwriter of Christine and the Queens, brought her signature quirkiness to the stage in a grey suit that belied the excitement she would soon invite. Along with four other talented dancers, the lead singer shimmied her way to the crowd’s approval. Midway through her set, she took the time to send an important message to her audience. “This is a free zone,” she insisted. “You can be who you want to be. If you want to be a bicycle, fuck it!” And free it was as hips started shaking and arms waving, audience members joining Letissier in her eccentric but fun movements. Holding a bouquet that could have come straight from the cover of her self-titled debut album, she gave a shout-out to Beyoncé and Rihanna, representing them as roses, while referring to herself as a wilted flower stem. Her reason? To show that everyone flowers in their own way. The powerful image lingered even as Letissier left the stage.
—Staff writer Mila Gauvin II can be reached at email@example.com.
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