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Governors Ball 2016: Michael's Saturday Sound Bites

By Michael L. McGlathery
By Michael L. McGlathery, Crimson Staff Writer

The circumstances of HAIM’s show on Saturday afternoon gave them an uphill battle to fight from the start—a storm front moved in rapidly over the course of the performance, and by about 30 minutes in the sky had completely opened up. Pouring rain isn’t usually a welcome sight for outdoor performers, but the powerhouse Haim sisters embraced the situation, responding to the rain by exuding enough energy to help a soaked crowd ignore the moisture. HAIM are a well-oiled machine live, and one that’s a joy to watch. The trio never faltered, and the set built irresistibly until a climactic drum-jam punctuated the experience (lead singer and guitarist Danielle plays drums on their studio releases). HAIM played three new originals from a forthcoming album, performing them so seamlessly and with such a pointed energy that it seemed like they’d been playing them for years. And of course “The Wire” and “Falling” are even more impossible to resist dancing to live. HAIM have stepped into the spotlight, and they’re an absolute pop-rock powerhouse. Live, that’s impossible to deny.

Mac Miller celebrated the fifth anniversary of his most popular release, the track “Donald Trump,” this past February. A lot has changed for him since then—he’s been to rehab, and these days he’s feuding with the presumptive Republican nominee for the second time since the release of that breakout track. A sober(-er), happier Mac Miller makes for more thoughtful hip-hop, and that was on display on Saturday afternoon as a grinning Miller took the stage. He performed a different version of “Donald Trump” in 2016, the chorus replaced with a repeated chant of “F--- Donald Trump!” (which the crowd, of course, ate up). Little tweaks like that made the juxtaposition of his newer, more introspective tracks and the old boisterous ones a little less jarring. There’s more singing on his newest LP, “GO:OD AM,” and he pulled it off pretty well live. Still, though, the most tasteful thing Miller did all set was to not sing over a tribute to Prince and to just give a thankful grin while “Purple Rain” blasted over the sound system.

De La Soul have been around for a long time—almost 30 years. That’s an eternity in hip-hop years. That’s longer than Snoop Dogg. Their first release came seven years before the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die” was released (and seven years before the author of this article was born, to be clear). What that means is that De La Soul occupy a unique place in the hip-hop world—they’re as close as hip-hop gets to something like classic rock. The rap trio exuded energy at the Big Apple stage, getting the crowd involved and even addressing individual crowd members. Performing classics like “Eye Know,” De La rocked a large crowd.

—Staff writer Michael L. McGlathery can be reached at

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