The Great GoogaMooga promised a smorgasborg of musical and culinary delights. For two sunny days, GoogaMooga delivered just that, but there was some indigestion along the way.
On its first day (Saturday, May 19) it seemed like Prospect Park was the epicenter for the foodies of New York. As the day progressed, every stall grew lines that ranged from too long to impossibly long.
There were plenty of hiccups on Saturday for which organizer Superfly apologized, but the thing they got unbelievably right was the music.
Fort Lean’s sun-soaked take on traditional rock was a great way to kick off the weekend. Rather than some pastiche of trendy influences, there is a balance and refinement to Fort Lean that gives songs like “Sunsick” or “High Definition” a genuine sense of character.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra was noisy, abstract pop that rewarded festival goers who tried to delve past the fuzz and into the underlying joyful current.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band was the perfect companion to the overhead sun. Songs swayed in the wind as the band delivered jazz standards that were not content to stay confined on stage as the band soon joined the crowd and marched around Prospect Park.
Lez Zeppelin on Sunday
The cover bands Unchained on Saturday (covering Alice in Chains) and Lez Zeppelin on Sunday (obvious?) provided a nostalgic relief to the sun, and paved the way for the bigger acts of the day.
Holy Ghost! were the perfect antidote to the long lines of Saturday. The modern disco tunes were infectious and found the right groove that paired wonderfully with whatever food or beverage you managed to procure.Holy Ghost! - Static On The Wire
The Roots headlined Saturday and, as always, the atmosphere was great and fans were immediately drawn to the band. The members on stage, including Questlove, Captain Kirk Douglas, Black Thought and Tuba Gooding Jr., were powerhouses of energy. Jumping around, crossing back and forth on stage and just delivering some enjoyable vibes, The Roots shows that while they may play their trade on television, they still know how to deliver live.
On Sunday, the disco fun of Escort was as enjoyable as the low wait times for food and drinks. Sunday was a great day for the festival and showed the true promise of GoogaMooga. The bands on Sunday were also better for an outdoor festival.
Fitz and the Tantrums and their pumped-up soul revival sounds are better-suited to draw in a crowd who may be unfamiliar with their music and the main headliner, Hall and Oates, was what everyone was waiting for and they definitely delivered. Hall and Oates were a nostalgic blast that had everyone channeling the 80′s thanks to hits like “Maneater,” “Rich Girl” and “Private Eyes.”
The sense of discovery in listening to new music while exploring the culinary world of New York on a hot day in the park is a recipe for success, but one that was ruined for many by the awful wait times of Day 1. GoogaMooga has apologized and offered refunds to that day’s ExtraMooga ticket holders. Here’s hoping that Sunday’s success paves the way for a second year.