At The Governors Ball: Outasight and Passion Pit

bill bodkin and maxwell barna recap two acts from The Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City: Outasight and Passion Pit …

Welcome to the first installment of our Governors Ball review series. Bill and I had two different mindsets walking into the musical festival on Governors Island in New York last Saturday, and consequently felt it more necessary to post separate reviews for every band that would reflect how we both felt, rather than convey one person’s opinion over another.

Today, we have Outasight and Passion Pit, the first two acts to hit the Gotham Stage. Tomorrow, we’ll have our reviews of Georgia natives, Reptar, and hip hop pranksters, Das Racist.

OUTASIGHT

Bill: The Governor’s Ball started off the right way — with a homegrown New York performer, Outasight, busting things open. The hip-hop artist out of Yonkers proved that he not only can hip-hop sound stellar with a live band, but he’s actually better live than on record. I personally enjoyed the cuts from his 2008 release Radio New York — an album steeped in J. Dilla-inspired beats and old school hip-hop. If you want a sea of people to get in the groove early, throwing your hands in the air like you didn’t care was the right way to do it.

Max: When Outasight hit the stage, there were so few people there that he began addressing members of the crowd, asking them if they liked their spots. A few minutes later, to a crowd of only a couple dozen people, Outasight began playing with enough energy to satisfy a packed stadium. Before getting there, we were nervous about hearing Outasight with a full band, and genuinely wondered how he’d make it work. Well, he killed it. The band was phenomenal and, despite being better known for his melodic style of hip hop, what perhaps most surprised me is that the man can sing. Listening to him straight-up belt these crazy notes mixed with the talent of the backing musicians, coupled together with everyone’s energy, really set the festival off. Let’s just put it this way: By the time his set was over, there were way more than a couple dozen people checking him out.

PASSION PIT

Bill: Two-fifths of indie darlings Passion Pit followed Outasight on the Gotham stage … and who knew two dudes with laptops could KILL IT like that. Passion Pit mashed it up mixing house beats with their own tracks, tracks from Foster The People and other indie sensations. This set reminded me of a club set with crazy beats being dropped like its hot with gusto and panache. These two really, really know how to DJ and how to get a crowd that was still streaming in to get their bodies moving — fast.

Max: Passion Pit started their set by announcing that it was going to be a crappy two-fifths version of the full band. Well, if what they played was the crappy version of the band, I’m dying to see what the good version is. I don’t think two dudes and a laptop have ever gotten me so pumped. The crowd chanted repeatedly throughout the set for them to raise the volume, a chant that brought smiles to both Ian Hultquist’s and Ayad Al Adhamy’s faces. When they first walked out onto the stage, they were nonchalant and one could almost feel that they weren’t expecting much. But after a couple songs, including “Sleepyhead,” they warmed up to their crowd and appeared to get really into it. Being there to witness the look on their faces transition from near indifference to “we can’t believe this shit is happening either” while the crowd ate up every minute of it was pretty amazing.

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