NEW YORK, June 4, (Agencies): Rocking out under an imposing mirror, Phoenix took its music into a second dimension Saturday as the band headlined New York’s Governors Ball festival.
A week ahead of the release of its disco-infused, Italian-inspired sixth album, Phoenix invested in an innovative yet elegantly simple stage design with a giant mirror slanted inward at 45 degrees.
The effect, at the close of a pristine June day, was to create a duplicate stage, with the rockers visible both as they played on stage and again in mirror image above them.
Frontman Thomas Mars at times lay down on stage hidden, only to appear to the crowd on the mirror — serving almost the inverse of Pink Floyd’s isolating Wall, one of the most legendary metaphors in rock stage design.
Phoenix, longtime underground artists in Paris, catapulted to the world stage in 2009 with the album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” which came with infectious dance-rock hits such as “Lisztomania.”
“Ti Amo,” which is Phoenix’s first album in four years and comes out on June 9, takes as its motif Italy, or at least a fantasized version of the country with feel-good beats and lyricism about steamy nights and ice cream.
As Phoenix played the album’s track “Fior di Latte,” the mirror appeared to be covered in pink syrup. At other times, the mirror flashed a kaleidoscope of colors and slides of a waterfall and Rome’s Trevi Fountain.
Guitarist Christian Mazzalai in a recent interview with AFP said Phoenix had spent long hours designing the stage and voiced delight at returning to the road after more than a year of writing and recording.
Mars closed the set by surfing far into the crowd and then rolling back over fans’ outstretched hands. Phoenix then bid farewell, fireworks went off overhead and the walkout music was from Italian singing great Ornella Vanoni.
Governors Ball, founded in 2011 as the first of New York’s growing number of summer festivals, took place under unusually tight security with National Guard members and heavily armed police out in force at exits to the venue on the city’s compact Randall’s Island.
Other leading draws Saturday included Childish Gambino, who stunned an adoring crowd by hinting at retirement once he finishes his next album.
“I’ll see you for the last Gambino album,” said the artist, after declaring that Governors Ball would be his sole show of 2017.
Music is a side career for Childish Gambino — otherwise known as actor Donald Glover, a star of television series “Atlanta” and “Community,” who will appear in an upcoming “Star Wars” film.
While often described as a hip-hop artist, Childish Gambino has built a style of modern soul driven by his wide-ranging singing voice.
In December he released his third album, “Awaken, My Love!” full of R&B rhythms and vocal shifts on songs such as “Redbone,” about an unfaithful partner.
The festival also heard classic hip-hop from the Wu-Tang Clan, the New York-bred collective who exactly 20 years earlier released its best-selling album “Wu-Tang Forever.”
RZA, generally considered the leader of the crew of around 10 rappers, boasted of the group’s success in a set that turned into a mosh pit among fans mostly too young to have been listening to the Wu-Tang Clan in 1997.
Elsewhere, Mark Ronson — the veteran producer who became a star on his own with the 2014 mega-hit “Uptown Funk” — teased a new song he said he was working on with Australian artist Kevin Parker.
The driving dance track came unexpectedly in a set in which Ronson served as DJ, putting on everything from Michael Jackson to Jefferson Airplane.
NEW YORK: Boom Boom Pow: Fergie is still a member of the Black Eyed Peas.
A representative for the singer told The Associated Press that the songstress has not left the group, even though a magazine reported Thursday that will.i.am said she was no longer in the group.
Fergie’s representative said Friday she is “concentrating on her new album and can’t wait for fans to hear it.” Because of her album commitments, Fergie will not perform with the Black Eyed Peas at two events this weekend: Saturday’s opening ceremony for the UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff, Wales, and Sunday’s charity concert in Manchester, England, alongside Ariana Grande.
Will.i.am’s interview with Ahlan! magazine caused a frenzy online Thursday with the suggestion that Fergie was no longer a member of the pop group. A day later, will.i.am said in a statement: “Fergie is family and will always be a Pea. She is focused on her solo album which we fully support.”
In the interview, will.i.am said that “nobody is replacing Fergie” and that the Black Eyed Peas are working on a new project. He said former Pussycat Dolls leader Nicole Scherzinger would be featured on the project but didn’t say how much involvement she would have (Scherzinger was offered a spot in the Peas before Fergie).
The Black Eyed Peas released its debut in 1998 as an eclectic hip-hop trio with will.i.am, apl.de.ap and Taboo. Fergie first appeared on the group’s third album, 2003’s “Elephunk,” helping them achieve mainstream success. The group went on to win Grammy Awards, sell millions of albums and top the pop charts with hits from “Where Is the Love” to “Boom Boom Pow.”
Fergie also had major success with her 2006 solo debut, which was heavily produced by will.i.am. She announced last week that she left Universal Music Group, the longtime label behind her and the Black Eyed Peas, to launch her own record label called Dutchess Music through BMG.
She plans to release her sophomore album, “Double Dutchess,” this year.
LOS ANGELES: Twenty years after the English alternative rock band Radiohead released its album “OK Computer,” the group is ready to share one of its unheard tracks.
The band released “I Promise” as a download to those who pre-ordered its 20th anniversary album’s “OK Computer” reissue, “OKNOTOK.” “I Promise” is one of three previously unreleased songs on the album, which comes out June 23. The remastered version also includes the never-before-heard songs “Lift” and “Man of War” and will have eight B-sides, available in digital versions for the first time.
Radiohead streamed the song on its W.A.S.T.E. website Thursday night before making public a new video, directed by Michal Marczak, for the 20-year-old track.