You have seen my OZY Fusion Fest coverage, now make way for my PANORAMA NYC review. I only reviewed Sunday so, if your looking for the happenings of Saturday or Friday…. I’m looking, as well lol! Still, Panorama has become, in its singular debut, a Coachella for the East Coast.
I had mentioned in my OZY Fusion Fest review that part of the charm of music festivals is their frenetic yet freeing energy. You feel like you are walking into an anarchic hippie commune where peace and love reign as you try to find, for the 5th time, your best friend amongst the crowd. For starters Panorama is HUGE! Taking place in Randall’s island, it definitely feels from your first step like, you have entered a new world. The palpable excitement is attached to every single morsel of oxygen you breathe. You are about to enter a world where the top-notch acts of music are going to meet the top artists/ technicians of NYC. Imagine New York’s Silicon Alley meeting the Brooklyn Art Scene and deciding to unite to take a formal swim in pop culture. Yeah.
Panorama had The Lab, which was like an innovative, technological arts and crafts center for adults. It was nice to feel like a giant kid playing with musical cotton candy machines or neon lit images that matched audio sounds. I definitely walked out of The Lab feeling like, I had just experienced my own, urban version of Tron. In this cinematic version, a Bronx Native, i.e myself, is the female lead, and she must destroy the grid- style game using Kendrick Lamar style beats. Who would not want to see that? No one, I thought so. The point is that the Lab made you feel like a cool giant, nerdy child. You did not feel embarrassed by your awe at seeing the beautiful colors and sounds surround you as you pondered, “How did they do this?”. Yet, for all the glamor and glitz of technology, everyone came for the music. Here are the highlights of the night!
My favorite act, HANDS DOWN! Her voice is like broken glass: crystal and piercing. Moreover, she is fantastic live. She sounds as perfect as her album renditions, but uses the concert opportunity to riff and add more flavor. Maddie Ziegler was there of course, to dance and make us all feel like we were watching the making of “Chandelier”. The still energy of Sia as a celestial voice box juxtaposed beautifully to Ziegler’s wondrous, anarchic dancing. ALL AROUND AMAZING! Even actor Paul Dano, check out my Swiss Army Man
review, entered to give his own eccentric spin to SIA’s signature recruitment of interpretive dancers. It was weird but cool, al once like, SIA.
SZA is quickly on her well-deserved rise. If you have not gotten her EP’s S, Z, and See.SZA.Run, then you should go listen now. For the many music-lovers that yearn to hear original artists try to develop a sense of freshness to their image and sound: Welcome SZA to your life. She was a fierce force on the Panorama stage and gave more heart and love then some of the other “bigger” acts that had played. She raps with an innate hunger like she is fed by the energy of the crowd and the surrounding nature. Moreover, she played one of my favorites track of Rihanna’s ANTI album: Consideration, which she co-wrote.
Holy Ghost! was an amazing set, and felt like the closest to the “stereotype” of musical festivals. It was just bumping energy of dancing to their synthetic-disco- electronica beats. For some reason, as everyone danced and “blazed” in the rapid energy of their rhythms, but by Holy Ghost!, I felt the Woodstock Ghost! arise.
Run The Jewels
I’m a huge Killer Mike Fan for both his music and political bravado. Rap was born from a frustration with socio-political policies that disenfranchise communities, and Killer Mike is one the few rappers whose philanthropic tendencies and socially conscious lyrics address that. Hence, I did not mind, at all, when he was one of the many acts that decided to address their disdain for The Donald (Trump). Beyond having a killer Set, Run the Jewels, like A$AP Rocky later on, did not withhold their words when addressing the country’s current political madness.
I discovered this punk rock band at Panorama, and I would like to formally thank the festival. I am not a huge punk rock aficionado, but this woman IS SOO STRONG in her presence. I thought she was going combust with all the feline ferocity and zest she carries. Moreover, I have never heard punk rock play in such an open space, and it is an experience in itself. I loved IT! It just made me feel like, I was in a cool, safer version of a 90’s mosh pit: filled with the same amount of angst but no punching lol!
Do I really need to explain why LCD was so good? Really? The final act to close Panorama was a befitting end to this festival, as LCD System sounds like a musical, technological giant! Their sounds feel like they literally come from cosmic sound frequencies, and frankly I love James’ Murphy’s voice. So I am biased! This band rocked the stage in a way that allows every viewer to release their final bit of energy before we all had to take a ferry into reality.
I cannot lie more diminish the fun of Panorama festival. What I will say is that it is not as distinct as other music festivals, which was its main desire by adding its technological edge and recruitment of NYC artists to paint across the grounds. The day before I had gone to the OZY Fusion festival, and, for me, it felt more like a distinct festival. It stood on its own, while Panorama, although undeniably amazing was not as different as it desired to be. Again, it still was one of a kind experience .