Björk’s Metamorphosis At Governors Ball 2015: Live Review & Photos
The headlining slots at Governors Ball this year were a showcase of breakup artists: Florence + The Machine, Lana Del Rey and Drake at some point throughout the weekend will have luxuriated in sadness at the fest. But none provided a more stark journey through the stages of grief, relief and ecstasy of a broken relationship than Björk during her set on Saturday evening (June 6).
Outfitted in a black neon butterfly outfit (dress by Nikoline Liv Andersen, mask by James Merry), Björk surrounded herself in a cocoon of droning bass and orchestral swoops with some of the more downbeat material off Vulnicura to start, almost as a way to weed out fairweather fans who were expecting “It’s Oh So Quiet” giddiness. The Icelandic singer was flanked by a 15-person string section, with The Haxan Cloak and another producer handling percussion and programming. “Stonemilker” started things off, with its new video projecting behind Björk as she broke out into a mini interpretive dance that could be likened to blossoming or bursting through a barrier — moves that would return intermittently throughout the show, and that fit with insect metamorphosis visuals that accompanied much of the set.
New material was followed by highlights from her 1997 album Homogenic, “Hunter” and “Bachelorette,” which were paired with pyrotechnics and rib-shaking bass. After that it was just an onslaught of neo-baroque high-drama centerpieces throughout the show’s second half — the only breaks in the action came with the singer’s little “Thank you” chirps to the crowd.
This suite began with “Army Of Me,” which was when I realized this was one of the loudest concerts I’d ever experienced. For the next half hour or so, The Haxan Cloak served up apocalyptic, subterranean bass, with rich strings diving in and out of focus like a wave of shoegaze tremolo. But Björk’s vocals cut through this meaty slab of sound, pitch perfect and nearly identical to the albums, which is a testament to her voice’s singularity but also its power.
All these elements swirled into an equally cathartic and joyous crescendo on the final two songs. The electro-throb laser bass freakout in the middle of “Mutual Core” may have been the most aggro moment of the entire festival — sorry Deadmau5 and White Lung — and final song “Hyperballad” erupted, literally, when 20-foot flames burst on stage and fireworks crisscrossed above it.
By that point, Björk’s metamorphosis into the monarch was complete.
Check out the photos from her set up top, and below see the full setlist.