These Are the Top 5 Sets From Gov Ball 2019
Gov Ball might be over this year, but the fond memories of the music will live on.
Through sunshine, colossal mud dunes, and thunderstorms, Governors Ball left an impression on tens of thousands of outrageously dressed and eager festival goers who traveled far and wide to see their favorite musicians tear it up on one of the five, unique stages at Randall’s Island in New York City this year.
While acts like Soccer Mommy, SZA, and the Strokes—who were supposed to be Sunday’s headliners—didn’t get the opportunity to perform due to a severe weather evacuation of the island, the festival wasn’t a wash. Not by a long shot.
This past Friday and Saturday saw artists step up to the plate, and create legions of new fans during their moment in the spotlight. Music & Mojitos was on hand at the festival, and recognize the following artists as the big winners from this year’s edition of the festival.
Without further ado, these are the Top 5 Sets from Gov Ball 2019.
You didn’t need to slam down a cocktail at the Bacardi stage on Friday to enjoy what ZHU was laying out at 8 PM. The mysterious ZHU first gained traction in 2014, where the hit song “Faded” took the world completely by storm. Since then, things have only been looking up for ZHU. His debut album, GENERATIONWHY, went straight to the top in Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums chart in the United States. It’s no surprised why ZHU also made the cut for Music & Mojitos Top 5 sets from Gov Ball.
Don’t try to put a finger point on ZHU’s performance style. It’s something that has to be experienced in person to grasp. We will say this, however: if you ever wanted to hear one of the most impressive displays on a saxophone, you have to catch ZHU live. This isn’t hyperbole. Just go and witness greatness at at ZHU’s next festival date.
4. Kacey Musgraves
Who says country music doesn’t have a seat at the table in New York City?
Haters be damned, Kacey Musgraves came through at Gov Ball 2019 and captivated the youthful crowd during her entire performance. With a lineup that included acts like Lil Wayne and Sheck Wes, you never know how receptive attendees are going to be.
Not only were Kacey’s fans responsive, they came out in full force. While Music & Mojitos didn’t see any cowboy boots in the crowd (those things aren’t cheap when you live in the tri-state area), the “Merry Go Round” singer had the crowd eating out of the palms of her hands. She wasn’t afraid to make a political statement or two, either.
Eat your heart out Optimus Prime, because Gesaffelstein transformed the festival grounds into his own personal playground. Music & Mojitos isn’t quite sure what planet Gesaffelstein comes from, but after his mind-blowing set at Gov Ball, we were strongly considering buying one-way plane tickets there. His music is out of this world, and he made his presence known at the festival this year with his dark, yet oddly inviting, techno-styled performance.
The 31-year-old producer has worked with acts like Kanye West, Daft Punk, and The Weeknd in the past. Don’t just pay attention to all of the flashing lights and lasers during Gesaffelstein’s performance; there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Your inner-dance demons have no choice but to move closer to the action, as Gesaffelstein takes control of the sweaty action. Gesaffelstein’s performance wasn’t a set—it was an experience. Those who made it out of Gov Ball alive can tell the tale of the time they saw the producer create a legend at the Honda stage last Friday night.
2. Florence + The Machine
The dog days might be over, but Florence’s constant twirling and booming vocals as Saturday’s headlining act at Gov Ball isn’t leaving our memories anytime soon.
What can really be said here? Similar to Gesaffelstein, Florence + The Machine had a strange control over the crowd. You can’t “Shake It Out,” even if you tried. When communicating with fans in attendance, Florence spoke softly. So softly. Her ethereal, other-worldly shyness is part of her universal appeal. She doesn’t need to say a whole lot to get her fans behind her. She simply let her performance speak for itself.
Bringing her fiery energy and spinning on stage more than one of the Sky Dancers you treasured as a child, Florence welcomed everyone to follow her lead, asking the crowd if they wanted to dance with Florence + The Machine. Thank goodness she didn’t tell the crowd to drink the Kool-Aid—they were so entranced, they would have done it without any hesitation whatsoever.
Florence + The Machine had all of the love at Gov Ball 2019, and almost made it to our No. 1 spot. Almost.
1. The 1975
The 1975 were international stars before Gov Ball this year, but if the crowd’s enthusiasm for them is any indication of the band’s future, Matthew "Matty" Healy, Adam Hann, Ross MacDonald, and George Daniel left bigger ones than when they first entered. That is the true mark of being named the top set from Music & Mojitos.
If you don’t follow The 1975, you’ve at least heard the rumblings about their live shows. They know how to move it like Michael Jackson, and take it back to the days of when Phil Collins was in Genesis. The English pop-rock band from Manchester has been tearing it up for audiences on a wider level since 2013 with their self-titled debut album. Hey, when you tour with the Rolling Stones, you know you are on to something special.
2016’s I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It was a critic favorite, and the momentum of the 1975 continued to build. Fast forward to Gov Ball 2019, and the band put on a performance that solidified them as the live act to beat. The smiles were never brighter than when the 1975 were on the main stage.
That’s the biggest takeaway to remember from the festival. People grinned from ear to ear at Gov Ball this year, and the 1975’s set was one of the key factors for that.
Banner photo is by Lauren Johnson.
What were your favorite sets from Gov Ball this year? Let us know in the comments!