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Gov Ball 2024, Day 2: d4vd is a Hometown Hero

Updated: 5 days ago

I was at the IHG Stage again for d4vd and we’re already moaning and groaning still fifteen minutes before his set. This stage already had its fair share of tech and sound issues on Day 1 (by which we mean all of them), between Teezo Touchdown’s set getting held up due to issues with the soundboard, Alex G’s set running 30 minutes over, and Labrinth’s set being so underpopulated because of the day’s issues that fans didn’t know his set even happened until the next day. But if the premature cheering and applause were any indication, the technical difficulties had either resolved themselves or they’d wised up and assigned a new sound guy.

d4vd’s drummer was the first to take the stage, closely followed by their guitarist. The two got sat and settled, then led the anxious crowd in welcoming the hometown hero to center stage as he sprinted out to “WORTHLESS.” His voice was undeniably crisp, he’s an unbelievably talented singer with a natural inclination for love performance. ”The front too,” he howled, directing the barricade to sing along with him

“I love you mom!” He hollered at the top of his lungs into the crowd before his guitarist began the intro to “Bleed Out.” He couldn’t be contained, d4vd was constantly moving, like his feet couldn’t touch the ground for longer a second. But the crowd trailed him in every direction,  clapping and dancing along with every beat (side note, that was probably the most on beat audience of the weekend). “I love the energy,” he took a breath, turning his back to face his drummer. “I said, I love the energy!” On his cue, the drummer took a minute-long solo and slipped down into half time, sending fans reeling and falling over each other.

“Hello Gov Ball,” d4vd's voice washed through the park foliage, the crowd responded in kind. “For those that don’t know me, my name is d4vd, nice to meet you.” The crowd echoed his greeting with a cacophony of ‘hello’s and ‘nice to meet you’s. “This next one’s called “Backstreet Girl,” he announced. “Y’all going to help me sing it?” Before the first chorus can ring out through the speakers, the crowd was already following along with the song with arms outstretched, “backstreet girl, put your hands up to the sky." d4vd's voice rose and fell showing out for his hometown, hitting the high notes like he invented them through the last chorus.

He peered out into the crowd, squinting to read a hastily scrawled sign being waved around by a fan, “sign my shirt... I got you, I got you," then thanking them for flying out to see him before introducing his next song, “Sleep Well." He was all smiles still, already feeling the crowd in his corner, “I really want to hear y'all sing this one." A lively fan in the crowd decided this was the time to answer a question no one could have possibly been asking, “I’m not going to lie, people be getting backshots to your music." d4vd looked into the outburst's corner of origin with a puzzled look but the song started before he could acknowledge it. We all soon forgot it even happened as the entire lawn rang out in unison, causing d4vd to remove his headset, as if he wasn't sure he was hearing them right. “One more time, ready?” He begins waving his arms, inviting the crowd to keep moving and singing along with him.

d4vd stopped between songs for a moment to rehydrate before turning back to the crowd with a special hometown surprise, "I’m about to play some unreleased for you," sending the crowd into joyous convulsions. "It’s called 'Is This Really Love,' and when I get done singing it, I want y'all to tell me if I should drop it or if I should keep it to himself." The new track opened with a slow steady acoustic run, similar to that of an Oasis song or a Radiohead B-side, before the superstar rattled in a staggeringly impressive high note. It was a beautiful, yearning alt-rock ballad, giving the Queens native off every facet of d4vd's vocal prowess. "Is This Really Love" was clearly an instant hit with the fans, as evidenced by the hooting, hollering and 'drop it's popping up from every corner of the crowd; anyone that missed their chance to record this song will have to regretfully wait for it to hit streaming.

The crowd began chanting, begging for then song everyone was dying to hear, “Feel It," the New York superstar's most recent hit from the ever-so-successful Invincible series. But before moving into another song, he asked the crowd to join him in welcoming a special guest; his younger sister. “Hi, Emily," the crowd cheered, his sister skipped across the stage with a smile from ear to ear. He whispered something to his sister and handed her a microphone, gesturing for her to reiterate to the crowd, “thank you for being here with me,” she cooed, melting the heart of anyone within a five-mile radius. Without giving the audience a second to rest, he falls into “Here With Me.” The crowd harmonized with him almost perfectly, but d4vd was focused on little Emily singing along beside him. “You wanna show them your trick?” Emily leapt forward into a cartwheel, the crowd erupted as the second verse started. d4vd finally acknowledged the choral gazing up at him and began pointing every which way, smiling at every fan in the crowd as “Here With Me" faded out.

“David you could never make me hate you,” the same fan from earlier in the set called out to d4vd again. “I love you more,” he squealed back. d4vd couldn't contain his excitement, he’s all smiles listening the crowd sing his songs in his hometown. The man is a rock star through and through, from his voice to his demeanor to his chain links swinging around his neck every time he bent towards the crowd. “I want you to scream this one at the top of your lungs, are y’all ready to scream,” the audience exploded as "Leave Her" queued in.

d4vd, I’m gonna name my son after you," that fan was full of one-liners, I don't know where he was pulling these from. I couldn't dwell on it for long though, d4vd was doing backflips through "Romantic Homicide" and hitting falsettos in while he was it. “Do I love you?” he asked. “Fuck that bitch” the crowd answered in unison. As the song came to a dramatic end, he beamed once more out over the swarm of future fathers that would name their children after him, snapping his head side to side with the closing drum fill. “Thank you, Gov ball, I love you!” he marched offstage to meet his sister still waiting backstage.

Rob Lucchesi



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