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Charles Bradley | © Krists Luhaers/Flickr
Charles Bradley | © Krists Luhaers/Flickr
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10 Acts You Need to See at Governors Ball This Year

Picture of Ryan Kristobak
Music Editor
Updated: 1 June 2017
As Governors Ball returns to New York City’s Randall’s Island this weekend, ticket holders are anxiously putting together their schedules, trying to catch as many desired acts as possible.

As things go with any festival, Gov Ball features several overlapping sets of artists that are seemingly impossible to decide between: Childish Gambino or Phoenix? Logic or AIR? Lorde or Beach House?

While attendees are forced to make such difficult calls, the other challenge is determining what acts to catch outside of the headlining names. Culture Trip has compiled 10 artists that might be off your radar, but are guaranteed to take your Gov Ball experience to the next level.

Roosevelt

Culture Trip previously noted how Marius Lauber’s, aka Roosevelt, self-titled debut could prove to be one of the most important in the next evolution of pop music, and as the German artist’s profile continues to grow rapidly, his influence is becoming clearer and clearer. We understand that the early sets aren’t the easiest to catch, but Lauber’s mix of disco, indie rock, synthpop, and Balearic house is exactly how you want to start your festival weekend.

Date: Friday, June 2
Time: 12:45–13:30
Stage: Big Apple

MUNA

If you’re looking for political synth-pop that makes you want to dance, scream, and protest the current powers that be, MUNA is it. About U is one of 2017’s most raw, stirring, and defiant albums, and when it is translated live, its curative powers are profoundly amplified by every voice that joins along in the crowd.

Date: Friday, June 2
Time: 13:30–14:15
Stage: Gov Ball NYC

Lo Moon

For approximately three-quarters of a year, Lo Moon have built up a following off the strength of one single: “Loveless.” A truly spectacular record, it was hard not to wonder whether the trio’s follow-up would harbor the same quality whenever it arrived. Arriving on Tuesday afternoon, “This Is It” proves that Lo Moon are for real, and that even one more track isn’t nearly enough to satiate fans.

Date: Saturday, June 3
Time: 12:45–13:30
Stage: Bacardi

The Avalanches

After a 16-year drought, Australian electronic duo The Avalanches finally served up their sophomore effort to the game-changing Since I Left You, last year. Despite its differences in sounds and tones, Wildflower once again demonstrates The Avalanches’ unparalleled talent for collaging massive amounts of samples, original production, and featured vocalists, and the ability to capture emotions like the simple joys of childhood games and the overwhelming spirit of new love. If you’re looking for a dance party, The Avalanches have it.

Date: Sunday, June 4
Time: 17:45–18:45
Stage: Bacardi

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

Charles Bradley, the former James Brown impersonator, has lived a life full of hardships and sorrow. After finally breaking out as an artist on his own at the age of 62, misfortune again stuck Bradley in the form of stomach cancer. Now, having successfully completed cancer treatment, Bradley is heading back out on the road, and every fan should be eager to deliver “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” the love he has so graciously given them no matter the trial.

Date: Friday, June 2
Time: 15:45–16:45
Stage: Bacardi

Jessie Reyez

If you’ve yet to hear of the rising Toronto singer and songwriter, know that she is only for the brave of heart. It’s not very often that a new act will come out with a short film detailing how a male producer tried to force her into sex with promises of industry access, but that’s exactly what Reyez did on “Gatekeeper.” If you’re looking to exorcise a particularly awful ex, or any terrible person that has recently caused hell in your life, catch Reyez early Saturday afternoon.

Date: Saturday, June 3
Time: 12:15–12:45
Stage: Honda

Warpaint

On their third album, Warpaint continues to draw influences from acts like The Cure, while adding in a new affection for disco and claimed inspirations from hip-hop and R&B names like Kendrick Lamar, Q-Tip, and Erykah Badu. While the latter has been debated by critics, there’s undeniably a new groove present on Heads Up, balanced between chilling out and letting loose. When the exhaustion starts to kick in Sunday afternoon, let Warpaint help you push through the final hours.

Date: Sunday, June 4
Time: 15:45–16:45
Stage: Big Apple

Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo was knighted the savior of indie rock with his latest album, Teens of Denial, and with lyrics like “Last Friday, I took acid and mushrooms/I did not transcend, I felt like a walking piece of shit/in a stupid-looking jacket,” it’s hard to disagree. If you’re looking for an opportunity to recapture your inner angsty teen, don’t miss Toledo’s set.

Date: Saturday, June 3
Time: 14:15–15:00
Stage: Big Apple

Stormzy

If you’ve been struggling to wrap your mind around the grime scene that’s been emerging out of London’s underground since the early 2000s, consider Stormzy your gateway. Hot off the release of his widely acclaimed debut, Gang Signs & Prayer, Stormzy’s repertoire has the right blend of raucous bangers that honor the genre’s roots, and the talent and edge to explore other musical territories that will continue to win over fans that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

Date: Saturday, June 3
Time: 15:00–15:45
Stage: Honda

Michael Kiwanuka

If you were one of the many people who recently obsessed over HBO’s Big Little Lies, then you are familiar with Michael Kiwanuka’s music. However, if your knowledge ends with the track “Cold Little Heart,” take our word that Kiwanuka’s set will be the soulful respite you didn’t know you needed on Gov Ball’s opening day.

Date: Friday, June 2
Time: 17:45–18:45
Stage: Big Apple