The New York based rock group Sunflower Bean showcased their punky verve and knack for good, old-Fashioned rock and roll in a strong Saturday set at the 2019 Governors Ball Music Festival. Frontwoman Julia Cumming, the band’s lead vocalist and bassist, demonstrated particularly strong stage presence from her varied vocals — ranging from decidedly husky to something sweeter to a lovely, growly shout — to her rollicking bass playing. The latter was perfectly complemented by lead guitarist Nick Kivlin’s equally rocking performance. The band as a whole — rounded out by Jacob Faber on the drums and Danny Ayala mostly on keys — had excellent chemistry and launched into extended jams and riffs with ease. The standout song of the set was the wonderfully unrestrained “Come For Me” from the band’s most recent EP, “King Of The Dudes.” Dad rock may be out of style, but the sharply dressed group (Cumming modeled for fashion house Yves Saint Laurent), made the old sound feel fresh.
Clairo’s charmingly un-showy set was another highlight from Saturday afternoon. The artist, who writes dreamy sounding, slightly drifty indie pop, played a mix of old tracks and new music from her upcoming debut album. The songs were decidedly unhurried and understated, but with a full backing band, they sounded fully realized and richly layered. Highlights from the set included “Drown,” a duet she released with Cuco, “Bags,” the lead single from her upcoming album, and the lightly existential disco track “4EVER.” With her first full length on the way, Clairo is one to watch.
King Princess, the queer pop sensation, performed a delightful Saturday afternoon set. Sporting carpenter pants, a glittering belly chain, and a cropped baseball jersey with “KP” in the style of the New York Yankees’ logo on the front and “King Princess 69” on the back, King Princess looked the part of the gay, genderqueer teen heartthrob that she is. The Brooklyn-born artist played a collection of hit singles, songs from her 2018 EP “Make My Bed,” and music from her upcoming debut album. Highlights from her set included unreleased material on which she showed off her guitar chops, the delightful “Pussy is God” (which features the bold declaration, for queer culture circa 2019: “I think star signs mean nothing”), and the wonderful downer-bop “Talia,” a song about drinking to deal with heartbreak that proved to be an unexpected banger and audience hit. Like Clairo, King Princess is decidedly one to watch. If this performance was any indication, her forthcoming debut album promises more sad, yet sublimely danceable pop.
— Staff writer A.J. Cohn can be reached at email@example.com.