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Governors Ball 2016: The Strokes

By Mila Gauvin II, Crimson Staff Writer

Waiting 25 minutes after the designated time for an act to perform is never fun—but when it’s for The Strokes, it's worth it, especially given the performance they gave as the headliners of the first night of Governors Ball.

Many were confused as to why The Strokes were chosen to headline the first night of the beloved music festival: They had just performed at Governors Ball two years earlier in 2014 and had remained under the radar ever since. But it would appear that after the long list of newer artists who performed at Gov Ball that day, the nostalgia with which fans remember The Strokes was just what the festival needed as the band belted out the greatest hits from their famous debut album, “Is This It,” to a sea of t-shirts bearing their name.

The performance was not merely a throwback to the group’s more prolific and popular days, however; The Strokes shared several singles off their new EP in addition to their usual set of garage rock staples. But when these tracks seemed to garner less enthusiastic reactions from the crowd, the performers quickly returned to the classics that won them their fans in the first place.

But not everything was charged with the electricity The Strokes are known to bring to their music. The rock band took a break midway through their set to pay tribute to Brett Kilroe, who created many of their classic album covers and who served as the group’s director of cinematography for years. Kilroe passed away in March after a four-year long battle with cancer. After a touching slideshow chronicled the band’s time with their art designer, from their work together on cover albums to the design of the layout of their shows, lead vocalist Julian Casablancas spoke a bit about the late Kilroe. “He knew everyone better than they knew themselves,” he said before the band played a song to commemorate the artist’s life and show the audience what he meant to them.

When it was time to say goodbye, the band thanked their audience for all their enthusiasm and love; the thousands of people present remained standing in front of the stage, however, awaiting an encore performance they hoped would come. Here The Strokes didn't disappoint. Despite not having performed encores for their past three albums, the band performed a few more songs before their finale turned explosive—literally, with a long period of fireworks to close out the first day of Governors Ball.

—Staff writer Mila Gauvin II can be reached at

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