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From Governor’s Ball 2018: Friday Sound Bites

Slaves, a punk rock duo hailing from the United Kingdom, graced the Gov Ball NYC Stage early on Friday afternoon and performed with gusto to a small but devoted crowd. The duo was comprised of vocalist and guitarist Laurie Vincent as well as drummer and vocalist Isaac Holman, who graced the stage in plain clothes (Holman remained topless for the entire set). The duo took to the stage with a destructive energy as they roared into their microphones. As Holman pounded the drums, the percussion reverberated loudly overhead, and Holman sweated visibly as he earnestly hammered the drums. Most notable was when Holman screamed into the microphone, especially when he bellowed the band’s name at the end of their songs. Vincent interacted with the audience at great length, asking security guards to hug his fans, shouting out to crowd members, and speaking to certain fans to let them know to take videos instead of pictures. Decked from head to toe in tattoos, both Vincent and Holman vehemently nodded their heads in time with their grungy riffs as their music blasted through the speakers into an energized crowd, their performance setting a frenzied tone for the next few hours.

Bronx native rapper A$AP Twelvyy, a member of hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, performed on the enclosed American Eagle Stage. Lights intermittently flashed throughout the area, illuminating the entire crowd as A$AP Twelvyy danced around onstage. Most captivating was A$AP Twelvyy’s backdrop, which featured a collage of images which would appear briefly before being quickly replaced by others, such as pictures of butts, Donald Duck, and random video clips spliced together in strange and interesting patterns as A$AP Twelvyy performed. He also devoted time to matters other than his rapping, from denouncing the president and declaring, “Fuck Donald Trump.” to promoting his new album to the crowd. The acoustics for A$AP Twelvyy’s set were a little awkward, as the sound paradoxically grew clearer the farther away from the stage one went. The show’s climax came when A$AP Twelvyy performed A$AP Mob’s 2014 Billboard Top 10 hit “Hella Hoes,” as flashing purple lights enveloped the crowd. During this song, A$AP Twelvyy’s energy was most palpable as he rapped the song’s chorus above the noise of screaming fans. A$AP Twelvyy’s captivating performance energized his fans, and the rapper was clearly energized himself as he yelled to the crowd, “If you rock with me throw your As up!” Despite sound difficulties, A$AP Twelvyy’s enthusiasm and background displays ensured that the rapper was heard and noticed by festival-goers.

While many political remarks were made by Governor’s Ball performers throughout the day, Belly, a Palestinian-Jordanian-Canadian rapper had perhaps the most politically-charged performance of all. Impressively, Belly was able to make his political opinions known while performing with a calm, relaxed air as he lit a joint onstage in the middle of his performance, much to the glee of the crowd. Sporting a white sweatshirt bearing the word “IMMIGRANT” in red capital letters with his moniker, Belly, written on the back, all with red beanie to match, Belly dominated the stage with his unwavering passion. As the set went on, Belly continually threw out remarks about Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and the Flint, Michigan Water crisis before asking the feverish crowd, “Where my immigrants at?,” subsequently launching into his 2017 song “Immigration to the Trap” off of his equally politically conscious album “Mumble Rap.” Belly bounced around the stage with a joyful energy, and his wide grin never wavered from his face. The highlight of his set came when he performed his song “Trap Phone,” as Belly was joined by the song’s featured artist, rapper Jadakiss, who took to the stage in a grape purple sweatsuit as the two performed the track together. Belly’s performance was perhaps the most unique of all in content, as he was able to have an extremely political set while remaining carefree and whimsical as he danced around, creating a tone quite difficult to replicate.

An observer need only look at Governor’s Ball attendees’ apparel to discern that rapper Post Malone was one of the most anticipated performers of the day—there were numerous festival-goers sporting yellow cloths with the word “beerbongs” in homage to Post Malone’s platinum 2018 album “beerbongs & bentleys” with their hair braided in Post Malone’s signature style. Post Malone had a dramatic stage entrance, as he appeared amidst billows of smoke while chimes played somewhat ominously in the background. When he appeared, clad in a black Adidas shirt with his signature long hair tied into a bun, he began his set with the song “Too Young.” Interestingly enough, after crooning into the microphone about not wanting to die before becoming successful, Post Malone began speaking to the audience about the pressures of fame. The rapper clutched a red SOLO cup which he drank from often, smiling and seemingly content. Adorned in a pair of black sunglasses, Post Malone was deliberate in explaining to the audience, “I’m not wearing glasses cause I think I’m cool, I’m wearing glasses because it's sunny as a motherfucker.” At one point, in a touching moment, Post Malone stopped performing midsong and urged security to help a fan who he saw was in distress, asking the audience if they were all right before he continued. In a less touching moment, Post Malone dedicated a song to “the stupid bitch who broke [his] heart,” which was met by rapturous screams of the audience who chanted “fuck that bitch” in tune with Post Malone. Post Malone’s performance was a set of dichotomies—between swagger and hesitancy, apologeticness and disclaimers. Through these juxtapositions, Post Malone performed passionately, gleefully, and above all, vulnerably.

—Staff writer Ajibabi O. Oloko can be reached at ajibabi.oloko@thecrimson.com.

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