Saturday, June 16, 2018

Rhiannon Giddens at SummerStage Central Park at Rumsey Playfield

Hubby Jenkins & Rhiannon Giddens

Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Rhiannon Giddens studied opera as a young adult in Oberlin, Ohio. She then discovered American and European roots music and her music trajectory shifted to learning to sing and play guitar, fiddle and banjo. In 2005, Giddens was competing in Scottish music competitions and attended the Black Banjo Then and Now Gathering, in Boone, North Carolina. There she met Dom Flemons and Sule Greg Wilson, and the three started a "postmodern string band" called Sankofa Strings. Later in 2005, Giddens and Flemons teamed with other musicians and formed the Carolina Chocolate Drops; Giddens is currently the only remaining original member of the Grammy-winning band. Giddens' second and most recent solo studio album, Freedom Highway, was released on February 24, 2017. Since then, Giddens has portrayed Hannah Lee "Hallie" Jordan, a social worker with the voice of an angel, in CMT's television series Nashville.  Giddens is based in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Limerick, Ireland.

Headlining  a free concert at SummerStage Central Park at Rumsey Playfield, Rhiannon Giddens explored Appalachian folk, bluegrass, country and old-time music, but also expanded deeper into vintage gospel, blues, jazz, and rhythm & blues than she did with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Her accompanists included Hubby Jenkins, her partner in the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who sang one song. Giddens' soprano featured crystal-clear tones, warm ranges and simmering emotions. The largely stringed and simplified small group arrangements captured the homespun beauty of the compositions, balanced successfully as she shifted from rural to urban roots. Giddens is an avid researcher, so she introduced many songs with enthralling timelines paralleling black history and music history. The combination of astute academics and pristine performance resulted in a riveting contextual soundtrack for a series of virtual snapshots of American musical history.

Visit Rhiannon Giddens at www.rhiannongiddens.com.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Black Dahlia Murder at Stage 48

Trevor Strnad
The Black Dahlia Murder formed as a death metal band in 2001 in Waterford, Michigan. The band's name was derived from the still-unsolved 1947 murder of actress Elizabeth Short, often referred to as Black Dahlia. The band currently comprises two original members, vocalist Trevor Strnad and rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach, plus bassist Max Lavelle, drummer Alan Cassidy, and new lead guitarist Brandon Ellis. The Black Dahlia Murder's eighth and most recent  album, Nightbringers, was released on October 6, 2017.

For this co-headlining tour with Whitechapel, which stopped at Stage 48 tonight, the Black Dahlia Murder promised to play Nightbringers in its entirety. This was a bold announcement, in that such a move is usually reserved for a classic album rather than a new collection, and in that using most of the set time for one album precludes a "greatest hits" retrospective. Indeed, the Black Dahlia Murder played the nine new tracks plus four songs from the first three albums. Nevertheless, perhaps it did not matter what songs the band performed, as they were all performed the same way, with a brutal impact that made faces in the audience feel like punching bags. For most of the set, the speedy, thrusting music sound like perpetual thunder, with Strnad's coarse vocals and Ellis' searing guitar leads penetrating through the din. The growled and garbled lyrics were as violent as the jackhammer music. The Black Dahlia Murder remains the poster band for extreme metal music.

Visit the Black Dahlia Murder at www.tbdmofficial.com.

Setlist:
  1. Widowmaker
  2. Of God and Serpent, of Spectre and Snake
  3. Contagion
  4. Matriarch
  5. Nightbringers
  6. Jars
  7. Kings of the Nightworld
  8. What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
  9. Catacomb Hecatomb
  10. As Good as Dead
  11. The Lonely Deceased
  12. Everything Went Black
  13. Statutory Ape
  14. Deathmask Divine


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dwight Yoakam at the Beacon Theatre

Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams
Dwight Yoakam was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, and was raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he starred in his high school's music and drama programs and sang and played guitar with local garage bands. In 1977, intent on becoming a recording artist, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he played his honky tonk revival music in punk rock clubs. Since then, he has recorded more than 20 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. He has also acted in numerous television series and feature films and curates his own satellite radio station. His most recent album is 2016's Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars..., a bluegrass album.

This LSD tour, named after the first initials of the three co-headliners, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle & the Dukes and Dwight Yoakam, came to the Beacon Theatre tonight, presenting three different takes on country roots revival. Yoakam closed the show with a tight, no-space-to-breathe hour-long set that did not afford him the time to include his usual acoustic bluegrass mini-set. The denim cowboy's set marched to a rocking rhythm from start to end, such that a cover of Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie" did not seem out of character. Unmistakably, Yoakam's rich baritone etched a country stamp on all the songs, several of which were covers of old-time classics, but they were thoroughly powered by rock energy and volume. The evening ended with Yoakam singing a charging cover of Flatt & Scruggs' 1952 bluegrass classic  "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)," with Williams and Earle singing backup; the only thing better would have been to have given each of the artists their own verse to sing.

Visit Dwight Yoakam at www.dwightyoakam.com.

Monday, June 11, 2018

of Montreal at le Poisson Rouge

Georgie Fruit aka Kevin Barnes
Seeking suitable band mates to fulfill his off-kilter musical ideas, Kevin Barnes left his native Athens, Georgia, moved south to Florida and north to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually recruited from the local music scene and its Elephant 6 collective back home. Barnes founded of Montreal as an indie solo project in 1996. Allegedly, the name was inspired by a failed romance between Barnes and a woman "of Montreal." Over time, of Montreal's music evolved from low-fidelity twee pop to math pop to psychedelic to glitter rock to classic rock to funk; of Montreal currently is inspired by extended dance remixes of the 1980s. of Montreal has recorded 14 studio albums; the most recent album, White is Relic/Irrealis Mood, was released on March 9, 2018.

Performing as part of le Poisson Rouge's 10th anniversary celebration, of Montreal's latest production was once again over the top, led by Barnes' colorful alter ego, Georgie Fruit, whom Barnes conceived to be a person in his 40s who performed in a funk band in the 1970s and has undergone multiple gender transitions. Fruit performed in five different drag outfits, accompanied musically by keyboardist Jojo Glidewell, keyboardist/guitarist Bennett Dean Lewis, bassist Davey Pierce, and drummer Clayton Rychlik. In addition, costumed dancers, larger-than-life puppets and a stash of props offered scenarios that included sea-creatures, sequined dragons, and Mexican wrestlers. The set included quirky songs from several of of Montreal's better-selling albums, while the newer songs were thumping synthesizer dance songs that matched Barnes' obtuse, angular musical leanings to body-moving elements from the disco era. The lyrics to many of the selected songs endorsed sex positive messages and were performed dynamically with in-your-face forcefulness. Overall, of Montreal's concert provided escapism to the maximum degree.

Visit of Montreal at www.ofmontreal.net.

Setlist:
  1. Id Engager
  2. Paranoiac Intervals / Body Dysmorphia
  3. Plastis Wafer
  4. Hydra Fancies
  5. We Will Commit Wolf Murder
  6. Dour Percentage
  7. Writing the Circles / Orgone Tropics
  8. Sex Karma
  9. If You Talk To Symbol / Hostility Voyeur
  10. Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)
  11. Sophie Calle Private Game / Every Person Is a Pussy, Every Pussy Is a Star!
  12. A Sport and a Pastime
  13. It's Different for Girls
  14. Gronlandic Edit
  15. Gallery Piece
  16. Let's Relate
Encore:
  1. Soft Music / Juno Portraits of the Jovian Sky
  2. Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Northside Music Festival 2018

In the 21st century, Brooklyn has seen an unprecedented boom in start-up businesses, music venues and musicians. Launched in the summer of 2009, the Northside Festival  annually celebrates the technological and musical innovations of Brooklyn, and then amplifies them by drawing speakers and musicians from outside the borough as well. Now in its 10th year, more than 300 bands and 150 speakers presented to Northside Festival attendees across 30 venues in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick over five days and nights. Northside Innovation on June 6-8 aimed for budding entrepreneurs to discover the next big thing in technology and business through panel talks, keynotes, pitch competitions, and networking events that explored emerging tech, media innovations, the future of original video content, startup pitch competitions, design, tactical workshops for entrepreneurs, and cultural discussions with Brooklyn influencers. Northside Music on June 7-10 connected music fans to over 300 musical performances.
Conferences like this one, The Future of Work: Making Space for Community,
explored the newest trends in today's job market
Township Rebellion performed an all-women tribute to Rage against the Machine at the Safari Room at El Cortez
Plastiq Passion at the Safari Room at El Cortez
The Frigs at the Hall at Elsewhere
Corridor at Elsewhere Zone One
Deerhoof at the Hall at Elsewhere
Eaters at Elsewhere Zone One
Protomartyr at the Hall at Elsewhere
Bush Tetras at the Safari Room at El Cortez
Half Waif at the Music Hall of Williamsburg
A Deer A Horse at the Gutter
Cakes da Killa at Rough Trade
Lulu Lewis at Muchmore's


Les Bicyclettes Blanches at Muchmore's
Shamir at Baby's All Right

Friday, June 8, 2018

Combichrist at the Gramercy Theatre

Andy LaPlegua
Ole Anders Olsen, known professionally as Andy LaPlegua, began his life and his career in Fredrikstad, Norway. There, LaPlegua experimented with hip-hop in the techno band LAW, industrial in Devils into Crime (DIC), hardcore punk in My Right Choice (MRC) (later renamed Fleshfire) and metal in Lash Out. He also explored trance and club music with the bands Plastic Life and Sector9. He conceived a solo project in 1997, but then recruited musicians to evolve the project into the futurepop band Icon of Coil. LaPlegua then formed aggrotech band Combichrist in 2003 as a more aggressive alternative to Icon of Coil and then the electro-industrial Panzer AG in 2004 to combine the danceability of Icon of Coil and the hard-hitting beats of Combichrist. His most techno-oriented project is (DJ) Scandy, and his newest project, Scandinavian Cock, is a rockabilly/psychobilly act. LaPlegua presently is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, LaPlegua was accompanied by guitarist Eric13, keyboardist Elliot Berlin, drummer Joe Letz, and percussionist Nick Rossi. Combichrist's eighth and most recent album, This Is Where Death Begins, was released two years ago, so with no new songs to promote, the Everybody Still Hates You tour consisted entirely of songs unearthed from the Combichrist catalog. LaPlegua growled acidic melodies as the band backed him with hard, scorching beats and waves of corrosive industrial metal soundscapes, bridging crunching death metal with industrial, techno and power noise elements. The musicians maintained their high-energy pace from beginning to end; LaPlegua and Eric13 incessantly paced the edge of the stage and engaged the audience, and Letz, wearing both a mouth guard to create a perpetual wide smile and a short black dress that revealed his panties when he stood (which he did often), frequently poured water on his drums to create geysers when he hit them with his sticks. Powered by an explosive barrage of beats, the intensity of the band's sonic battery matched the imaginative creativity of this harsh, hammering music. Combichrist's performance scraped and frayed the edges of extreme dance music.

Visit Combichrist at www.combichrist.com.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Split Squad at the Bowery Electric

The Split Squad is comprised of the members of classic punk bands from decades past. Vocalist/bassist Michael Giblin was in Cherry Twister, guitarist Eddie Muñoz is in the Plimsouls, guitarist Keith Streng is in the Fleshtones, keyboardist Josh Kantor was in the Baseball Project, and drummer Clem Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of Blondie. The new band's name refers to the practice during Major League Baseball's spring training of teams splitting into two squads so that each squad plays against another team on the same day. Conceived in 2011 and formed in 2013, the band's sole album, Now Hear This... was released in 2014.

The Split Squad returned to the Bowery Electric, this time without a keyboardist, and rocked the venue with blazing guitars. Streng's guitar was wireless, and he dashed into the audience often for his solos; Muñoz was contained at the side of the stage but whipped out equally electric solos. The force was not only in the guitar work, however. Giblin sang catchy 1960s-style pop melodies and Burke pounded the percussion tirelessly. Falling somewhere between garage rock and power pop, the sum total was a high-energy rock and roll show.

Visit the Split Squad at www.thesplitsquad.com.

Setlist:
  1. Superman Says
  2. I've Got a Feeling
  3. Hey DJ
  4. Sorry She's Mine (Small Faces cover)
  5. Showstopper
  6. Hey Hey Baby
  7. Feel the Same about You
  8. Touch & Go
  9. Help Yourself (Jimmy Reed cover)
  10. Stop Me
  11. Palpitation Blues
  12. Now Hear This / Rock and Roll Queen (Mott the Hoople cover)
Encore:
  1. A Million Miles Away (The Plimsouls cover)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tatiana DeMaria at Mercury Lounge

Tatiana DeMaria is best known as the vocalist/guitarist of TAT, the punk band she formed in 2003 when she was a 15 year old living in London, England. As a child DeMaria moved with her family to Paris, France, where she developed a love of punk rock. She returned to London as a teenager and started playing guitar and writing songs. She played in several high school bands until she formed TAT (originally named the Camden Whigs). Aside from TAT, she began working behind the scenes in the soundtrack and jingles industry in 2011. She began performing as a solo performer in 2017 with concerts at Rockwood Music Hall and the Bowery Electric. An as-yet-untitled solo EP is planned for a fall 2018 release after her participation in a Warped tour.

Tatiana DeMaria retained her punk personality tonight at Mercury Lounge, but her music seemed to have shifted to a tough pop genre. DeMaria took a confident stance for most of her set, playing her guitar with one foot upon a stage monitor and shaking her mane of long, raven-black hair. She sang with a strong voice that emoted angst and rebellion as each song built tension and release like a sudden storm. Her fearless and ferocious projection only highlighted the subtle vulnerability articulated in her lyrics. Midway through her set, her band watched as she strapped on an acoustic guitar and paced through the audience for a mini solo set that throbbed with equal parts passion and power. This may be pop, but it surely was not lightweight.

Visit Tatiana deMaria at www.tatianademaria.com.

Marcia Ball at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2

Born in Orange, Texas, raised in nearby Vinton, Louisiana, Marcia Ball played piano from age five, playing old Tin Pan Alley and popular music tunes from her grandmother's collection. At age 13, she discovered blues and soul music in New Orleans, and this formed her style of playing. She played in a blues-based rock band called Gum while in college and in 1970, at age 21, she started a progressive country band called Freda and the Firedogs in Austin, Texas. The band split in 1974 and Ball began her solo career, playing clubs in and around Austin, Houston and Louisiana. She has recorded 12 studio albums and additional collaborations. She has won 10 Blues Music Awards and 10 Living Blues Awards, and has been inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, and the Austin Music Hall of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician. On October 25, 2018, Ball will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. Her most recent album, Shine Bright, was released on April 20, 2018.

Ball and her band performed two sets tonight at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, and blended an amalgam of southern roots music into her original songs. Her fingers played a rollicking barrelhouse and boogie woogie, but her saucy voice came from a smoldering Texas blues. Her band added to the Gulf Coast regional flavors, playing stomping roadhouse grooves. Ball's husky vocals gave a swampy feel to the few ballads in the set. Together Ball and her band ignited a rhythm and blues set fit for a Mardi Gras party, especially when they encouraged a sing-along on a new song, the tongue-in-cheek "Life of the Party."

Visit Marcia Ball at www.marciaball.com.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kelly Willis at the Loft at City Winery

Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, a nine-year-old Kelly Willis began singing as a way to comfort herself after her parents divorced. Her father was a U.S. Army colonel so, after the divorce, Willis and her siblings moved around the country to accommodate his assignments. She spent her middle school years in North Carolina and her high school years in Annandale, Virginia. One day during a high school visit to the beach, she entered a nearby pay recording booth and sang Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear." Willis' recording impressed her then boyfriend, drummer Mas Palermo; his rockabilly band recruited the 16 year old as lead vocalist and renamed the band Kelly Willis & the Fireballs. After Willis’s high school graduation, the band relocated to Austin, Texas, but then disintegrated a few months later. Willis and Palermo, married in 1989, formed a short-lived rockabilly band called Radio Ranch; they divorced in 1991. Willis launched a solo career, and in 2011 she and her second husband, Bruce Robison, began singing as a duo. Willis released Back Being Blue, her seventh solo album and first solo album in 11 years, on May 18, 2018.

At the Loft at City Winery tonight, a new 150-seat venue above City Winery, Willis sang old-style country western and chatted genially with the audience between songs, sharing anecdotes about the composition's origins. Willis' performance embraced the era before Nashville discovered the power ballad to refine the heartache-meets-honky-tonk inclination of the more traditional breed of country music. While many lyrics touched on the pains of life, her projection affected joyful nuances with a rich southern twang in her soprano vocals. Much of her past catalog included rockabilly and outlaw inflections, however, and these were largely missing in tonight's showcase. While her performance was quite pleasant, it would have been more uniquely expansive if she had balanced more rockabilly and outlaw elements into her soft-rocking set.

Visit Kelly Willis at www.kellywillis.com.

Setlist:
  1. Back Being Blue
  2. If I Left You
  3. Only You
  4. Heaven Bound
  5. What I Deserve
  6. Modern World
  7. Fool’s Paradise
  8. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  9. What the Heart Doesn’t Know
  10. Heaven's Just a Sin Away
  11. Sweet Sundown
  12. We’ll Do It for Love Next Time
  13. Not Forgotten You
  14. Find Another Fool
  15. Afternoon’s Gone Blind
  16. Take It All Out on You
  17. Freewheeling
  18. Get Real
  19. Don’t Step Away
Encore:
  1. Whatever Way the Wind Blows

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Governors Ball 2018 at Randall's Island Park, Day 3

Founders Entertainment gathered 65 music artists and tens of thousands of revelers to the eighth annual Governors Ball Music Festival (commonly known as Governors Ball or Gov Ball) on Randall's Island Park in New York City on June 1-3, 2018. The major draws this year included Jack White, Travis Scott, Eminem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Halsey, Khalid, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert and Chvrches.

Once again, the festival was light on rock and top-heavy with pop, rap and EDM artists. The park featured four stages, with two usually active at any given moment. Timing was very strict, such that the moment one artist finished another artist was starting at a nearby stage. Rappers consistently drew the largest crowds, such that rock fans were able to get closer to their musicians because the rivaling pop artists drew bigger numbers. A string quartet and a brass band also circulated among the crowd away from the live stages.

Between stages, attendees purchased dozens of food and drink vendors and visited many corporate booths. New Yorkers love free, and so attendees took advantage of free caramel M&Ms, four flavors of Lays potato chips and various La Croix beverages, as well as free face painting, hair braiding, tote bags, and Governors Ball temporary tattoos. Love, Tito’s Festival Experience allowed attendees to record a time capsule video that the outfit will send to the participant in a year. Multiple murals allowed for photo opportunities and supersized Jenga, Count 4 and other games attracted competitors.

Day Three Headlines:
  • Eminem name-dropped Nicki Minaj as "wifey" amidst a rumor mill that the two may be in some kind of relationship: "I'm gonna tell you something about Nicki that she don't even know: we go together." During his festival-closing set, Eminem brought out several guest performers, including 50 Cent, Skylar Grey, and Royce Da 5'9'.
  • Lil Uzi Vert seemed unfazed by his altercations with Rich the Kid the day before at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Third Eye Blind vocalist Stephen Jenkins told his audience that he was performing despite being diagnosed with walking pneumonia.
  • Sixteen-year-old pop singer Billie Eilish brought out Khalid to perform their recent collaboration, "Lovely."
  • During his own set, Khalid congratulated and dedicated a song to the class of 2018, reminding the audience that he graduated high school only two years earlier.
  • Mosh pits, normally the staple at punk and metal shows, resumed during the set by rap group N.E.R.D.
  • Although rain was predicted for much of the three-day event, fans on Sunday only scurried for cover during the evening-closing set by Eminem.
Margo Price
Kali Uchis
Third Eye Blind
Khalid
Vic Mensa
Dirty Projectors
Chvrches
N.E.R.D.
Sylvan Esso
Lil Uzi Vert
Eminem

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Governors Ball 2018 at Randall's Island Park, Day 2

Founders Entertainment gathered 65 music artists and tens of thousands of revelers to the eighth annual Governors Ball Music Festival (commonly known as Governors Ball or Gov Ball) on Randall's Island Park in New York City on June 1-3, 2018. The major draws this year included Jack White, Travis Scott, Eminem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Halsey, Khalid, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert and Chvrches.

Once again, the festival was light on rock and top-heavy with pop, rap and EDM artists. The park featured four stages, with two usually active at any given moment. Timing was very strict, such that the moment one artist finished another artist was starting at a nearby stage. Rappers consistently drew the largest crowds, such that rock fans were able to get closer to their musicians because the rivaling pop artists drew bigger numbers. A string quartet and a brass band also circulated among the crowd away from the live stages.

Between stages, attendees purchased dozens of food and drink vendors and visited many corporate booths. New Yorkers love free, and so attendees took advantage of free caramel M&Ms, four flavors of Lays potato chips and various La Croix beverages, as well as free face painting, hair braiding, tote bags, and Governors Ball temporary tattoos. Love, Tito’s Festival Experience allowed attendees to record a time capsule video that the outfit will send to the participant in a year. Multiple murals allowed for photo opportunities and supersized Jenga, Count 4 and other games attracted competitors.

Day Two Headlines:
  • Silk City, a collaboration of djs Diplo and Mark Ronson, made its debut at the festival. Diplo also djed an unannounced set to about 100 people in the CitiBank pavilion.
  • Halsey told her audience that on that exact day four years ago, she had signed a record deal for a small amount of money at the top of the Empire State Building, then celebrated by attending Governors Ball. "I was standing somewhere in the back, just like you," she said.
  • Before singing "Strangers," her song about same sex love, Halsey announced, "June is pride month. If you are a proud member of the LGBT community, or a proud friend of someone who is, you gotta, you gotta, dance!"
  • Pusha T replaced hip-hop boy-band Brockhampton, who cancelled numerous tour dates after member Ameer Vann was removed from the group in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Pusha T steered away from his feud with Drake, but the audience did not; the audience chanted expletives about Drake three times during Push T's set.
  • Mosh pits, normally the staple at punk and metal shows, developed during sets by Travis Scott, 2 Chainz and Pusha T.
  • The Gaslight Anthem performed a complete, 10th anniversary play-through of the band's The '59 Sound in the rain.
  • Although rain was predicted for much of the three-day event, fans on Saturday only scurried for cover during the evening-closing sets by Travis Scott and the Gaslight Anthem. 

Cut Copy
Pusha T
Manchester Orchestra
Halsey
Galantis
Silk City
Russ
Gaslight Anthem
Travis Scott

Friday, June 1, 2018

Governors Ball 2018 at Randall's Island Park, Day 1

Founders Entertainment gathered 65 music artists and tens of thousands of revelers to the eighth annual Governors Ball Music Festival (commonly known as Governors Ball or Gov Ball) on Randall's Island Park in New York City on June 1-3, 2018. The major draws this year included Jack White, Travis Scott, Eminem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Halsey, Khalid, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert and Chvrches.

Once again, the festival was light on rock and top-heavy with pop, rap and EDM artists. The park featured four stages, with two usually active at any given moment. Timing was very strict, such that the moment one artist finished another artist was starting at a nearby stage. Rappers consistently drew the largest crowds, such that rock fans were able to get closer to their musicians because the rivaling pop artists drew bigger numbers. A string quartet and a brass band also circulated among the crowd away from the live stages.

Between stages, attendees purchased dozens of food and drink vendors and visited many corporate booths. New Yorkers love free, and so attendees took advantage of free caramel M&Ms, four flavors of Lays potato chips and various La Croix beverages, as well as free face painting, hair braiding, tote bags, and Governors Ball temporary tattoos. Love, Tito’s Festival Experience allowed attendees to record a time capsule video that the outfit will send to the participant in a year. Multiple murals allowed for photo opportunities and supersized Jenga, Count 4 and other games attracted competitors.

Day One Headlines:
  • Jack White reworked the White Stripes song "Icky Thump" into "Icky Trump" with new lyrics: "White Americans/Nothing better to do/Why don't you kick yourself out/You're an immigrant too! … That's for you, Trump!"
  • Shawn Mendes was billed as a "special performance" and was given a half hour slot, during which he sang a cover of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," which seemed to cold-stop the younger fans who were singing along to all his hits.
  • Mosh pits, normally the staple at punk and metal shows, were all the rage at rap performances starting with Post Malone.
  • Rapper Belly, a Canadian of Palestinian descent, wore a shirt with the printed word "immigrant," and brought out New York rapper the Lox for a couple of songs.
Lophile
A$ap Twelvyy
Pond
Sir Sly
Wolf Alice
Two Feet
Alvvays
Belly
Flight Faculties
Goldlink
Maggie Rogers


DRAM
Shawn Mendes
Tash Sultana
6lack
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Post Malone
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley
The Glitch Mob
James Blake
Jack White