Panorama 2017 Recap

Last year, Goldenvoice & parent company AEG Live, the music company behind the likes of the one-and-only Coachella, came to the Big Apple with Panorama on Randall’s Island in...
Panorama 2017 Recap - Day One - Lauren Coakley

Panorama 2017 Recap - Lauren Coakley

Last year, Goldenvoice & parent company AEG Live, the music company behind the likes of the one-and-only Coachella, came to the Big Apple with Panorama on Randall’s Island in July. In 2017, the festival returned, Friday-Sunday, July 28th-30th.



Panorama Friday - Nikki Jahanforouz

Usually at festivals, the big days are Saturday & Sunday, the weekend, while Friday is the add-on extra, with lighter crowds because some people have to work, and acts that aren’t quite as big a draw. But this was not the case at Panorama ’17. It was only headliner Frank Ocean’s second performance of the year, after his debut the prior weekend at FYF Fest in Los Angeles and cancelling earlier festival headline spots. Plus prior main stage act Solange Knowles has only been getting bigger & bigger.

Early birds at the festival ground’s eastern entrance arriving prior to the twelve o’clock opening found long winding lines that stretched the length of several hundred feet from the security check-point to the public bus drop off area. Those of who had VIP bracelets, and a keen eye to spot the signage directing them, were able to bypass this general admission queue for a quicker access. Once the festival gates officially opened many fans flooded the barricaded switchback line leading to Frank Ocean’s one-day-only merch booth while others ran to be closest to the main stage’s barricades. Indeed, there appeared to be many people with just tickets for that day, rather than all weekend, more so than during the actual weekend.

Frank Ocean Merch - Nikki Jahanforouz


24HRS - Chris Lazzaro

Performing at his first New York festival, Houston, Texas based rapper 24HRS garnered a decently sized crowd considering his early set time. As the first main act on the canopied stage of the ‘Pavilion’, he elicited the participative audience to bounce, bounce, bounce to the beats. 24HRS sported a hooded sweatshirt despite the warm temperature and sang auto-tuned lyrics over previously recorded tracks. Guest rappers had the sound engineers working out audio issues, as their microphones were not passing signal for a handful of stanzas.

Jamila Woods - Nikki Jahanforouz

Inside the fully enclosed stage setup of the ‘Parlor’ singer/songwriter Jamila Woods, backed by a live band, drew a sizable audience. The R&B styling and poetic spoken word introductions offered a soulful oasis in those early afternoon hours. Under the slowly swirling disco balls some swayed to the soothing sounds while a small few passed a contraband hairbrush shaped flask amongst themselves.

Honne - Doug Van Sant

Honne opened the main ‘Panorama’ stage with their radio-friendly electro-pop sound to a sea of faces on the main lawn. The group had all of the trappings of a modern-day electro act, with an addition of a back-up singer who added another visual layer with her dance moves. The band overlooked a grassy area that split the general admission section from the VIP (with the larger portion dedicated for GA). While the VIP had a healthy turnout, the main section was also well populated for their performance.

Foxygen - Nikki Jahanforouz

The wonderfully fashionable frontman Sam France of Foxygen brought immense style to The Pavilion. The posturing and pantomiming gestures perfectly complimented the gabby singer’s in interstitial song commentary. Occasionally ribbing the photographers and the audience alike (“Thank you for all wearing your cheetah print”), the group set a high standard in regards to creating a fascinating spectacle.

Vance Joy - Doug Van Sant

Australia’s Vance Joy ably performed in his mid-afternoon Panorama Stage slot, fitting in as someone you’d always meant to check out, and now was a good time. While he closed with his big hit, “Riptide”, extra special was his cover of Paul Simon’s iconic “You Can Call Me Al” single from the iconic Graceland (QRO deluxe edition review) – though for some reason mixed in a few chorus verses of Omi’s “Cheerleader”. Don’t mess with a classic, kid…

MØ - Chris Lazzaro

Not messing around was Denmark’s . There may have been a canopy over The Pavilion, providing some much needed shade for crowd & artists, but the maiden MØ was bringing sweaty, emotional pop. The maidens in the audience particularly loved it, her emotional empower (and great sweaty dancing from MØ).

Jay Daniel at The Point - Nikki Jahanforouz

‘The Point’, the stage strictly dedicated to the DJ artists, was laid out in a space closest to the eastern festival entrance. A checkered dance floor abutted the DJ booth where artists Working Women, Jane Fitz, Jay Daniel, Omar-S, Marcellus Pittman, and Theo Parrish were set to spin throughout the first day. Encircling the dance floor were mirrored monoliths that competed with the attention of the audience; the lure of dancing versus the lure of a high quality selfie created an attention divide in the earlier hours. The dance crowd fluctuated size at any given moment from a few small couples to upwards of fifty people. As the midday crowd arrived the dance floor grew in popularity.

Isaiah Rashad - Nikki Jahanforouz

Separate GA and VIP entrances, which led to the Isaiah Rashad performance inside The Parlor, were flooded with people held back by security due to capacity limitations. Those inside the space sweat it out as an oppressive mugginess blanketed the scores of fans that waved their hands and rocked the tent. Equally feeling the heat which resulting in Rashad requested water bottles from those backstage to be passed around to help cool down the audience. As he jumped, spun, and ran across the stage the audience climbed the rear speaker and barricades in effort to gain a better vantage point.

Approximately thirty minutes into the raucous set, the music promptly cut out and announcements were asked to evacuate the space. The audience cleared out as the result of a partial floor collapse that left no apparent injuries. The severity of the event instantly raised questions about the following acts scheduled for the evening (Cherry Glazerr, Breakbot, DJ Shadow) that was unfortunately answered with those acts being cancelled forthwith with no word of rescheduling.

Future Islands - Doug Van Sant

Future Islands have always interesting crossed genre lines, being loved in indie circles, yet their electro-dance pop also fit in well at the more mainstream Panorama. Perhaps it’s because frontman Samuel T. Herring does it all with a smirk, up there on the big screen at The Panorama Stage.

Spoon - Chris Lazzaro

Alt-veterans Spoon have also reached well into mainstream appeal, with a signature cool. But perhaps too cool? Newest albums Hot Thoughts (QRO review) and They Want My Soul (QRO review) are confident records, but at Panorama it all translated into a performance that was more confidence than energy, and not enough chance to have fun. Maybe it was a good introduction at The Pavilion to today’s Spoon, to those who didn’t know them, but also was not satisfying enough for long-term (albeit hard thus hard to satisfy) fans. And as good as “The Underdog” is, it’s still needs horns.

MGMT - Nikki Jahanforouz

More living up to expectations, if not exceeding them, were MGMT. Since their break out, they’ve shifted into a decidedly psychedelic vein, which was on full display at the Panorama Stage. That includes their trippy videos behind them on the big screens, but using them for that meant that one couldn’t see the band nearly as well, particularly as it was still very bright out, so no spotlights. And the biggest reactions were still for pieces like “Electric Feel” from 2007 breakthrough Oracular Spectacular.

Tyler, the Creator - Chris Lazzaro

The crowds flocked en masse to Tyler, The Creator at The Pavilion. Chants of “Tyler, Tyler” filled the air as raised phones caught the artist taking the stage. “Get your pictures now,” the rapper told the crowd before exploding into a high-energy set. Raising the overall energy level of the festival with a vigorous stage show, the crowd reciprocated on the dance floor as some escaped the crush over the stage-front barricade. Slowing it down some and delving into some slower hits Tyler, the Creator ruminated, “I want to score a Disney movie so bad, dude. Doesn’t that sound like a love song from a Disney movie?…”

Solange - Doug Van Sant

Even with Frank Ocean’s much-buzzed headlining spot, Solange had a lot of attention leading into the day. Last year’s A Seat At the Table fully took her out of her sister Beyoncé’s shadow for anyone who still hadn’t been paying attention, and she is known for her artistic performances. Albeit sometimes too artistic, verging on taking herself too seriously; her last NYC event was at The Guggenheim (QRO venue review), and was dubbed “Solange: An Ode To” – so that would be an ode to herself? Yet her Panorama Stage set saw her one amongst her many other performers, all in a red-orange, from clothes to backing video, even the sky. Yes, it was choreographed, from the hair whipping onward, but it didn’t feel forced like one might have expected.

Solange - Nikki Jahanforouz

Girl Talk - Chris Lazzaro

Girl Talk began closing out Friday night’s Pavilion to a remarkably small crowd. Unfortunately squeezed between two of today’s largest acts, the mash-up artist drew an ever-increasing audience to his ridiculously playful stage show. Making up for the artist’s understandable immobility (as he is almost always within arms reach of his computer) a throng of fans danced on stage as stagehands blew streams of toilet paper into the crowd utilizing repurposed leaf-blowers contraptions. Compressed air cannons fired jets of smoke into the air while balloons rained down from above.

Frank Ocean - Doug Van Sant

Many people have already written & talked about Frank Ocean’s headlining performance at Panorama. The run-up had more buzz than you could shake a stick at, with the first performance at Los Angeles FYF Fest the weekend prior (QRO recap) serving as the West Coast debut to this East Coast debut (okay, that one did have Brad Pitt…). Instead of doing the giant spectacle that is expected for the big headline spot, Ocean stripped down. At times singing completely solo (with the crowd joining in), when the band was there, they were usually seated. There were not big showy numbers but intimacy, with on-stage shots from famed director Spike Jonze that were impressive on the big video screen, at times both larger than life, yet also also up close & personal. Only one song was performed from breakthrough Channel Orange, “Thinkin’ Bout You”. The crowd stretched far, far back, getting exactly what they came for, yet perhaps not at all what they expected.

Frank Ocean - Nikki Jahanforouz




Panorama - Nikki Jahanforouz

Saturday morning showed signs of a slower start. The absence of lines for the public shuttle bus on the Manhattan side and a shortened line awaiting the noon opening on Randall’s Island offered stark contrast from the previous day.

HP’s The Lab - Nikki Jahanforouz

The smaller crowd afforded an opportunity to enter and explore the enclosed spaces of HP’s The Lab. Once inside, high-tech immersive pieces offered a virtual reality experience, many interactive art displays, and finished with a captivating visual finale in a high-ceiling domed theater.

Motor City Drum Ensemble - Nikki Jahanforouz

As each day opened with DJ duo Working Women at the Point, the slow arrival of the crowd had the dance party ramp up over several hours. While awkward wallflowers found corners to hide in for the set of Jayda G the party exploded with Mister Saturday Night on through the rest of the night. Bubbles, unicorn furries, and a break dancing all attracted to the sounds of Powder, Huerro S. b2b Anthony Naples and the night’s eventual closer, Motor City Drum Ensemble.

Lou the Human - Nikki Jahanforouz

Lou The Human kicked off Saturday opening The Pavilion to a dismal turnout for his afternoon set. Occasionally citing the ‘fifteen people’ in attendance, he pushed through the thirty minute set machine-gun rapping lyrics backed by a masked figured resembling horror film icon Freddy Kruger. The DJ playfully cut the backing track several times as Lou mocked taking phone calls from esteemed artists the likes of Jay-Z, P. Diddy, and Eminem.

Active Bird Community - Chris Lazzaro

Segueing into dissonant rock Active Bird Community kicked it up a notch at The Pavilion as the floor opened up into mini mosh pit. The straightforward rock ensemble tore through a set list of tempo changing tracks that quickly shifted the feel of the music.

Noname - Nikki Jahanforouz

The first real draw of the afternoon was R&B focused artist Noname. Clouds of smoke arose from the audience as active concertgoers finished lingering stanzas and participated in a call and response of “Noname, Noname.” The musical style offered loose swinging drum rhythms and an active five-string jazz bassist plucking out flourished leading lines. The jazzy backdrop encouraged the lyrical poetic spoken words that kept a chilled out crowd rolling along.

Bleached - Nikki Jahanforouz

Chris McClenney was an unfortunate victim to the previous day’s partial floor collapse of The Parlor and resulted in a cancelled appearance. Instead crews could be seen actively working to prepare the completely renovated interior in hopes to host the later scheduled evening acts, which opened at 3:00 PM for Bleached. On the still elevated stage daisies decorated amps and mic stands while the Los Angeles punk band expressed their happiness in the festival’s ability to work through the night to reconfigure the layout and make the grounds accessible. The band injected their cover version of the Nirvana track “Territorial Pissings” into the set and requested backup singing “Wednesday Night Melody”s opening refrain of “bop bop bop…”

Pinegrove - Nikki Jahanforouz

Pinegrove come from New Jersey, but have a sound much more akin to Appalachia, with lead singer Evan Stevens Hall sounding more like a King of Leon. Their laid-back emo-pop sound was nice enough for this early in the day on the Panorama Stage.

Sofi Tukker - Nikki Jahanforouz

New York-based duo Sofi Tukker, made up of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, brought a dazzling stage performance to The Parlor tent. Synchronized dance moves coupled with and their drumming on a fascinating homemade contraption, consisting of a series of electronic drum pads, offered a visual spectacle unmatched elsewhere. A jungle atmosphere was provided with the stage embellished with tall grasses and leafy plants and the big screen projecting tiger prints. Long entrance lines had some sneaky kids slipping in through the emergency exits.

Mitski - Nikki Jahanforouz

Soft-spoken Mitski Miyawaki, better known by her mononym Mitski, fronted her band for a set on The Pavilion’s stage. The singer/bassist mesmerized the audience with her hard bass-driving tracks and still stage presence. The essentially non-existent stage show somehow juxtaposed the audio fury leaving the audience to focus solely on the music.

With the opening notes from Jagwar Ma, the clouds parted and the sun finally broke through at the Panorama Stage. The dominating synthetic bass lines swelled over the mass of picnic blankets spread across the main stage’s field. A good portion of the evening crowd took the time to relax upon the grass while soaking in the sun and music.

S U R V I V E - Nikki Jahanforouz

Rocketing into the collective conscious, thanks to their theme song for Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things, S U R V I V E grabbed the midday slot at The Pavilion. The four-piece lugged out their vintage hardware synths and stood four across as they played without the reliance of prerecorded tracks. Sweeping through filtered sounds and tapping out sixteenth notes the band performed live without synching their machines to a digital sequencer.

At The Parlor, long lines for Matoma had concertgoers wrapped halfway around the domed enclosure. The general admission section slowly leaked people in while the VIP lines were at a near standstill. Luckily for those waiting, and due in part to the reworked interior as a result of the previous day’s partial floor collapse, the sound was clearly audible on the outside. Those who made it inside partied with the singer and his DJ as compressed air jets pumped smoke into the air.

Vince Staples - Nikki Jahanforouz

Stage props, backing band, dancers, and DJs were all absent from Vince Staples set on the Panorama Stage. The lone rapper drew the largest crowds of the evening with a fantastically minimal show. The only adornments were an orange backlit screen and an orange filter projecting his live performance for the audience across the field. The artist also skipped the interstitial commentary and only varied his performance’s energies when the music called for the appropriate emotional changes. The commanding presentation begged a later set time instead of the curious midday scheduling. Particular note should also be made of the camera people, who got in tight on him and displayed it on the big screens behind Staples, making him larger than life.

Vince Staples - Nikki Jahanforouz

Belle & Sebastian - Nikki Jahanforouz

When the line-up was announced for Panorama ’17, Belle & Sebastian seemed like unfortunate outliers, too old and too indie-precious for the young, dance-heavy festival. However, that was anything but the case. The Glasgow band from the nineties (who, unlike most of their contemporaries, never broke up) was full of fun and energy at The Pavilion (Scots seem to always have on stage, even the sad acts). Singer Stuart Murdoch put on a Mets hat for “Piazza, New York Catcher”, and later walked on the photo barrier (catching even security by surprise) to bring up fans to dance on stage. Note that those fans seemed to have been almost exclusively young ladies; even Murdoch noticed, when he got them to snap along him, “Like The Jets & The Sharks – if The Sharks were all pretty women…” It was great to see veterans still having fun like young acts – and the young artists of Panorama would be very lucky if they have the longevity & success of Belle & Sebastian.

Belle & Sebastian & fans - Nikki Jahanforouz

Hot Since 82 - Nikki Jahanforouz

In a back-to-back DJ setups in The Parlor, Hot Since 82 offered an easily accessible entry. Scheduled between the powerhouse combination of Vince Staples and indie royalty Belle & Sebastian, the lone DJ had an unfortunate scheduled performance. In a bid to improve the stage show, the DJ had an assortment of fans backing his turntable setup to increase the visual appeal.

Nick Murphy - Nikki Jahanforouz

After that, it was back to the more electronic sounds. Nick Murphy, formerly known as Chet Faker, had a nice dance party on the Panorama Stage, and was an enjoyable presence up there. But more interesting was the eclectic dark-dance of alt-J. An unusual act with unusual sounds, it’s still kind of surprising that they’re as successful with the mainstream EDM crowd as they are; indeed, the audience seemed to best know alt-J’s earlier, more frizzle-fried material. Concertgoers were greeted with an elaborate lighting setup that compartmentalized each member into separate sections of the stage. Being lit from all angles, including underneath, the programmed LED lights pulsed and chased and columns of light s cut vertically across the stage.

alt-J - Chris Lazzaro

Nicolas Jaar - Doug Van Sant

The enclosed Parlor was fully immersed in fog machine smoke as Nicholas Jaar performed for the crowd. Single color swatches of light painted the room in a glow as the artist contributed monotone lyrics over the electronic performance. Originally intended to close the stage for the night, the artist was the lead in for Breakbot, who had previously cancelled due to festival operational issues stemming from the prior day.

Tame Impala - Nikki Jahanforouz

When did Tame Impala get this big? It seems like only yesterday they were another group of garage-psych rockers, who happened to hail from Perth in Australia, with 2010 debut Innerspeaker (QRO review). But now they headlined Saturday at Panorama. Even frontman Kevin Parker seemed astonished, guessing that this was the biggest American show that the band had ever done. Yes, the crowd was nowhere near the size of Frank Ocean’s night before, but still considerable.

Tame Impala - Nikki Jahanforouz

The disco/funk hybrid band Breakbot got their opportunity to play the Parlor after the previous day had their set cancelled. Collecting a growing audience as those peeling off from the main stage sought other musical acts the group closed out the stage for the night.

Breakbot - Nikki Jahanforouz




Panorama '17 - Lauren Coakley

Without a cloud in the clear blue sky the Panorama Festival somehow managed to sidestep a forecasted three days of rain showers. The potential muddiness that could have been was replaced by the dust bowl that became of The Pavilion and surrounding areas. The sun and high-temps was welcomed by the Sunday crowds which brought them a seemingly different view from the previous two days: the black-clad masses adorning the recognizable Nine Inch Nails ‘NIN’ logo.

Shallou - Nikki Jahanforouz

Manipulating electronic machines and dabbling with drum pads and electric guitars Shallou played to a minimal but high-energy few. The midi-keyboards controlled the thumping and steady dance beats as few somehow danced barefoot over the rock farm of The Pavilion grounds.

White Cliffs - Chris Lazzaro

Barricades added to the exterior of The Parlor had concertgoers winding through switchback lines to see White Cliffs play the early afternoon set. The lone DJ spun remixed and mashed up versions of modern jams.

Reverend Vince Anderson & The Love Choir - Nikki Jahanforouz

“Are you ready for some church?” Reverend Vince Anderson & The Love Choir exclaimed before tearing into their gospel infused performance at The Pavilion. Championing a twenty-year residency at Brooklyn’s Union Pool (QRO venue review), the singer brought finely crafted politically infused satires about the current Presidential administration citing, “We are living in dark times, can I get an ‘Amen’ to that?”

Towkio - Chris Lazzaro

Hip-hop artist Towkio amped up The Parlor dance party in a smoky haze. Playing songs off his impending Rick Rubin production, the singer questioned whether to slow it down or turn it up. At the audience’s request, he kept the songs high-energy, and pulled several ladies onstage to dance back up for his song “Work 4 Me”.

6lack - Nikki Jahanforouz

After the DJ warmed up the crowd the backing drums, bass, and keys played an introduction for 6lack to take the stage at The Pavilion. Pronounced ‘black’, the artist rolled out the slower vocal/piano introduction that kicked into the booming bass of the first track. The set list varied in its aural dynamics as the artist paused to share a heartfelt moment with the audience. Citing the shedding of old relationships and old record labels for a change to a new positive perspective, the rapper won the minds and bodies of the crowd.

Preoccupations - Chris Lazzaro

In a very dark Parlor tent, one could barely see Preoccupations on the stage. The Canadian group’s art-punk would seem out of place at Panorama, and it kind of was. They have always seemed a little too precious artiste full of themselves, and are mostly famous for the controversy surrounding their former name, Viet Cong.

Bishop Briggs - Nikki Jahanforouz

The main Panorama Stage opened with Bishop Briggs. Another alive dance songstress, she was good, but there are many like her out there, and more & more each day. She played “Fire” from her first EP, which was only last year. She also seemed to end her set with ten minutes left to spare on her set time.

Miles Maeda - Nikki Jahanforouz

Camped out inside the DJ hut under two parasols Miles Maeda took over from the Point’s morning duo Working Women. The benefit of the clear skies left the following turntablists DJ Heather and Tim Sweeney also to combat the glare of the sun. Nature didn’t stop The Point from being crammed to near capacity in the small open field. The shift into the evening dusk allowed the LED light strips to pop and give the effect of an open-air nightclub for the closing acts of Honey Dijon and headliner Derrick Carter.

DJ Heather - Doug Van Sant

Angel Olsen - Nikki Jahanforouz

Harkening back to the glory days of ‘50s rock culture, Angel Olsen came onto The Pavilion stage amid a backing band clothed in matching power blue suits. The vintage guitars and Vox amps furthered the nostalgia as the band played through “Shut Up and Kiss Me”. Unperturbed by a little audio issue with her guitar amp the singer teased, “I’m glad you’re getting this on video… I’ll never watch it.”

Dhani Harrison - Chris Lazzaro

Possibly the non-headlining act with the most interest at Panorama ‘17 was The Parlor’s Dhani Harrison. Son of The Beatle George, while he had previously performed in his band thenewno2 and with Joseph Arthur & Ben Harper as Fistful of Mercy (QRO photos), this was his debut performance under his own name, behind debut solo record, IN///PARALLEL. Playing electronic rock (should have known it would be electronic, based on the all-caps record title with backslashes in it…), including a vocoder song, there was nothing wrong with what he did, but nothing special either, and was likely a disappoint to those who came for the famous name.

Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness - Nikki Jahanforouz

On the big Panorama Stage was Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness, doing big, piano-led emotional pop. McMahon thanked those who were not at the festival that day to see him, for not “killing him out there.” But it was actually a special show, as McMahon paid tribute to his former acts, citing that a member of his prior band Jack’s Mannequin lived nearby, so they did a “mini reunion” for “Dark Blue. He also did a piece from his even earlier band, Something Corporate, name-checking playing punk shows at Irving Plaza (QRO venue review) and the late Roseland Ballroom (QRO venue review) in New York. Multiple times he sang from on top of his piano, and for “Synesthesia” went into the crowd and under the colorful tarp some fans had over themselves.

Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness - Nikki Jahanforouz

Mura Masa - Nikki Jahanforouz

Alex Crossan, known by stage name Mura Masa, offered up trap beats for the dancing-minded audience at The Pavilion. Supported by a twerking MC/dancer on stage the musician station himself behind a Lucite desk featuring a wide array of electronic keyboards, workstations, and drum pads. Flaunting his creativity, the artist played funky phased-out palm-muted guitar riffs along to prerecorded tracks.

Cloud Nothings - Chris Lazzaro

Once again, Cloud Nothings delivered strong, catchy, pressing indie rock. Maybe too pressing, relentless in its push for this more laid-back festival, barely giving a chance to breathe, song after song. And breakthrough “Stay Useless” is still their best song. For some reason projected behind them during the entire set at The Parlor was cult horror b movie Highway To Hell, starring Chad Lowe and Kristy Swanson (though also guest appearance by Alice Cooper, and both Ben & Jerry Stiller…).

Glass Animals - Nikki Jahanforouz

Pulling in the largest crowd of the evening up to that point was Glass Animals at the Panorama Stage. A large cubed light-up GA and spinning bedazzled pineapple made up the majority of the stage decor along with a triply pixelated video backdrop. The quirky musical styling attracted a wily audience who crowd-surfed blow-up aliens as well as adult sized blow-up dolls. Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley hopped into the audience singing into his microphone while walking through the crowd.

Cashmere Cat - Nikki Jahanforouz

Prior to Cashmere Cat taking the stage at The Pavilion, jungle sounds and chirping birds filled the air. Walking out to prerecorded vocal tracks the one-manned DJ act bounced between four machines situated on a table onstage. Twiddling knobs and tweaking the sound the stark stage show left something to be desired.

Kiiara - Chris Lazzaro

Rocking pink hair and a matching pink top, Kiiara played slick electronic beats as a lower ‘k’ adorned the video screens at The Parlor. Casually strutting her way across the stage the singer the singer capped sexy electric beats played by the backing drummer and keyboardist.

A Tribe Called Quest - Nikki Jahanforouz

One of the most important sets at Panorama ‘17 was A Tribe Called Quest on the Panorama Stage. Last year, while making the highly acclaimed We Got It From Here… Thank You For Your Service, founding member Phife Dawg passed away. Tributes flowed in to him and the seminal hip-hop act, and the rest of the group announced that this would be it for the Tribe – and that the Panorama performance would be the last by the Tribe in NYC. And the group did tribute right, active and alive, not ossified or repetitive like the endless, long-after-the-fact tributes to dead icons. With Phife’s parents at the show, Tribe were great, getting fists up, and were joined by Coolio for their final song, Service’s killer political single, “We the People”.

A Tribe Called Quest - Nikki Jahanforouz

Justice - Nikki Jahanforouz

Other than at The Parlor, there had been thankfully very little technical issues at Panorama (Goldenvoice knows how to do festivals) – until the last act at The Pavilion, Justice. Scheduled to start while Tribe was still on, those who swarmed over to The Pavilion after Tribe’s set found the crowd there still waiting. Apparently, a speaker had blown out when Justice started, and the crowd slowly thinned, while loyalists chanted for the French DJ duo to come on. And eventually they did, just over a half hour after they were supposed to start, to a still healthy audience (if not as big as it could have been). Justice played decks with a full light show, but were still a glorified DJ set.

Snakehips - Nikki Jahanforouz

Another duo thudding out bass driven beats, and closing out The Parlor for the 2017 festival was Snakehips. The lights lazed along the ceiling as the English blended a steady stream of pop tracks together. Hands were in the air for the chilled out tunes as the dancing was in full effect.

Nine Inch Nails - Nikki Jahanforouz

Festival headliners and definitive industrial act Nine Inch Nails gave a highlight reel performance on the Panorama Stage. Trent Reznor, looking as if he came directly from Twin Peaks Bang Bang Bar, in leather coat and sunglasses opened the set with a song from their latest release, Not the Actual Events. Culling songs from their nearly thirty year existence the group stirred up the crowd unlike any act of the festival. With their fourth song’s brutal “March of the Pigs” intro the crowd, exploded into a mosh pits as others pushed their way to the front of the stage.

Reflecting on New York memories and his loss of David Bowie this past year, Reznor eased into a cover from his friend’s album Blackstar (QRO review) with a soft and intimate cover of “I Can’t Give Everything Away”. The group played several energetic selections from their Broken EP as well as from 2005’s With Teeth, while a track from every major album found a way into the nearly ninety minute set. After leaving the stage for a brief moment the group came back for an encore of the soft-spoken song “Hurt” complete with video-screen backdrop playing the images once shown during their 1994 Downward Spiral tour.

Nine Inch Nails - Nikki Jahanforouz



Panorama - Nikki Jahanforouz

With one main stage and just four stages total, but big name headliners like Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails, Panorama ‘17 seemed to tilt more towards the high-end than the broad masses. Indeed, a good percentage of the festival grounds were reserved for those who paid extra for VIP passes [which the festival also provided to press – thank you so much!], which stretched right up to the stages, as well as a large 21+ high-end space to the house-right of the Panorama Stage. This did drive up prices, both drinks [also thanks for the free soda in press tent, which kept your correspondent from drinking too much alcohol…] and food, from the simple pizza to the high-end noodle salad bowls (that weren’t mixed properly) – the best smell, other than the weed in The Parlor, was from a father & son sharing chicken fingers…

Panorama '17 - Nikki Jahanforouz

Panorama isn’t nearly Coachella, distinctly smaller and few celebrities, but also located within the five boroughs, not out in some expensive camping desert. But is a definite big thing to do in the summer in New York City, still standing out amid the many, many events in the Big Apple.

-words: Ted Chase & Derek Klevitz

-photos: Lauren Coakley, Nikki Jahanforouz, Chris Lazzaro and Doug Van Sant courtesy of Panorama Festival

Panorama '17 - Nikki Jahanforouz