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“This kid's good!” commented a passerby, noticing the throng that had gathered around the Big Apple Stage to watch Jon Bellion’s set. Seeing how comfortable he seemed on stage, it’s hard to believe that the crowd was the largest for which Bellion had ever performed, as he mentioned. With an explosive performance—the last in a while due to the impending release of “The Human Condition,” his sophomore album—of debut album lead single “Jim Morrison,” Bellion brought everyone to their feet and had all nodding along with him to the beat of the music. In addition, the singer displayed another talent that had fans cheering him on. By way of an impressive show of beatboxing in which his drummist imitated his striking beats, Jon Bellion gave way to boyish excitement at his audience’s shared enthusiasm.
A special treat given the busy schedule their upcoming album has forced them to adhere to, Misterwives’s performance was as cheery and uplifting as their songs are known to be. The entire band kept the energy alive throughout the whole set, with lead singer Mandy Lee interjecting cheesy but genuinely inspirational words of staying true to oneself to the crowd.
In an attempt to bring exposure and experience to students of the performing arts in the city where the group is based, Misterwives brought out the LaGuardia High School choir to sing as backup for two songs; unfortunately, the students looked as awkward and uncomfortable as the crowd seemed confused about their presence there. Despite the mishap, Misterwives soon got back on their feet with a new song, presumably the first single off their new album, “Machine.” “For everyone who marched to the beat of their drum,” said Lee of the song’s target audience, continuing in the same “be yourself” vein that has become an essential part of Misterwives’s image.
Don’t be fooled: While people were certainly trying to stay dry from the torrent of rain pouring throughout the entirety of the set, the huge congregation underneath the Bacardi House Stage tent was there first and foremost to experience the trippy experience that is Purity Ring’s music. Psychedelic lights and a nearly overwhelming instrumental soundscape on Corin Roddick’s part rendered the experience so surreal that no one in the audience even needed the marijuana permanently infused in the air to travel to the other world that the band creates. While vocalist Megan James’s singing complements Roddick’s sound in the studio, she lacked the power to be the audience’s real focus live, overpowered by the beat. Nevertheless, the duo’s performance was a standout—one that rivaled both the wistfulness of The Strokes and the sexiness of Miguel.
As the headliners for the evening, The Killers were unpredictably arbitrary in their delivery, but overall fun and entertaining as they brought back the audience to older times. Though their entire set felt like a long session of karaoke, with the audience singing along to most of their songs, The Killers were sure enough of themselves to play their most popular songs early on; opening with their most famous song, “Mr. Brightside,” they seemed ready to continue on with the same hype it initially garnered. Using their relatively more recent “Human” as a sort of refrain throughout the night, the group was admittedly successful in keeping the crowd’s attention, despite the mud and rain everywhere. As with The Strokes the night before, the band came back out for an encore performance to the thrill of the festival’s second set of fireworks. While theirs wasn’t the best performance of the night, The Killers continued in the tradition of this year’s Gov Ball of nostalgia-inducing rock bands as closing acts.
—Staff writer Mila Gauvin II can be reached at email@example.com.
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