Sunday at Panorama Festival was a fitting end to a long weekend of incredible music. The stacked lineup had everything from small, noisy rock bands to commanding producers and DJs who sparked dance parties.
But the real treat came later, with two seasoned headliners that brought a lot of Generation Xers out to Randalls Island. A Tribe Called Quest and Nine Inch Nails delivered flawless performances that both featured touching tributes to important people those artists lost: founding Tribe member Pfife Dawg and David Bowie.
It was also one for the books, as Tribe announced their too short set was their final New York City show.
Here’s a rundown of everything we saw Sunday.
A Tribe Called Quest announce Panorama is last New York show
This Canadian post-punk outfit had the bass pumping at the Parlor stage to start things off. Singer Matt Flegel said he was happy to be inside in the dark for their daytime set, as their sound is more appropriate for nighttime. The band, made up of former Women members Flegel and Mike Wallace, played a bunch of songs from their new self-titled album, but didn’t neglect the gems from their earlier “Viet Cong,” especially the set highlight, “Bunker Buster.”
Bishop Briggs opened the main stage Sunday with her holler-and-stomp electro-pop. Briggs is a seriously gifted vocalist whose songs revolve around the heavy, hip-hop drops and radio-ready choruses. For the entirety of her set, she almost never stood still, belting out hits like “River” and “The Way I Do” with panache. Keep an eye out for Briggs to play to bigger, later-in-the-day crowds in the future.
Those pipes! Panorama’s lineup certainly didn’t lack talented vocalists, but there was perhaps no singer more captivating than Angel Olsen. Flanked by a her bolo-tie-wearing band, Olsen brought the house down several times throughout her set, from a soaring rendition of “Sister” to set-closer “Woman.” Each song was anchored by passion, poise and patience, but most importantly, Olsen’s powerhouse of a voice.
mura masa, the Guernsey-born DJ/producer, kicked off his livewire set with perhaps his biggest hit, the A$ AP Rocky-assisted “Love$ ick.” Joined by a talented female singer/MC, who provided the live parts that guests like Charli XCX and Bonzai perform on the album, mura masa expertly navigated between genres, from trap to dancehall to house, all while keeping the good people in the crowd dancing. As the beat dropped for “All Around The World,” rapper Desiigner jumped on-stage to amp up the crowd and rap his part on the song. mura masa demonstrated prowess beyond button-pushing by playing drums, live guitar and singing as he manned his synth pad and drum machine.
Tame Impala lights up Panorama Day 2 with an epic laser show
The energy was palpable at the afternoon set from this noisy Cleveland post-punk band. Once Cloud Nothings started they didn’t stop, hitting the crowd with songs old and new and saving the best ones for last, including “I’m Not Part of Me” and “Stay Useless.” The 1991 B horror movie “Highway to Hell” played on a screen behind them, and the weird on-screen action was perfectly punctuated by the band’s music.
Panorama is more than just a music festival. Inside The Lab, which was billed as an “onsite museum,” guests toured interactive art installations focused on overwhelming the senses. Beyond high-concept pieces (like holding hands with other festival-goers between glowing poles in order to power the grid with the body’s electricity and demonstrate “solidarity”), there were a boatload of separate VR experiences on display.
But the most immersive and awe-inspiring installation was The Ark Dome Show, which placed guests in fully reclined bean bag chairs and had them look up at a 360-degree ceiling with trippy and celestial video projections. If you really focused on the ceiling, and zoned out to the dark, pounding electronic score, you really felt like you were soaring through space (or on some crazy drugs). Did the narrative of The Ark show have something to do with Scientology? It’s unclear. But it’s crystal clear that mesmerizing experiences like The Lab will soon become a focal point of future festival programming.
Best known for his production work with Ariana Grande, the Norwegian DJ put on a show of his own that pulled in festival attendees who were ready to dance on the Pavilion stage. When he remixed Kanye West’s “Wolves,” of “The Life of Pablo,” everyone was sent into a frenzy.
Frank Ocean, Solange serve up otherworldly sets at Panorama Day 1
A Tribe Called Quest
It’s hard to put into words just how perfect the St. Albans, Queens, hip hop group’s headlining set was. Apparently their last-ever show in the city, the group effectively held a memorial for their beloved, departing founding member Pfife Dawg. To start a giant image of Pfife appeared to watch over his friends as they launched into a catalog-spanning set, with lots of entries from their latest “We Got it From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service.” These hip hop veterans sounded just like their recording, an amazing feat for rappers performing live. Watching the set felt like watching history and it was clear there were many Tribe fans new and old completely enamored with what they offered.
The French DJ duo’s set ended as it was just actually getting started. Apparently they turned the volume all the way up, because it shorted that stage’s circuits and they were unable to continue performing on the Pavilion stage. What a tease. Let’s hope Justice can come back and play Madison Square Garden sometime soon.
Imagine the best college dance party ever, and you’re getting close to getting a sense of Snakehips’ Parlor stage-closing set Sunday night. Although the British DJ duo have their own original hits like “Don’t Leave” and “Cruel,” it didn’t stop them from dropping remixes of bangers like Future’s “Mask Off” and Migos’ “Bad and Boujee.” It was hard not to crack a smile watching hundreds of people lose their minds when the duo played “Crank That” by Soulja Boy.
Nine Inch Nails
It’s really not necessary to state the obvious, but Trent Reznor is a genius. Nine Inch Nails melted faces with their signature dark, industrial rock. Reznor and co. all sounded like they do on their records, and provided a crowd-pleasing, 90-minute set with songs off their new “Add Violence” EP and ’90s classics “The Hand that Feeds You” and “Head Like a Hole.” Reznor also paid special tribute to his friend and idol David Bowie by performing a cover of “I Can’t Give Everything Away” off Bowie’s last album before his death, “Blackstar.”
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