For all the talk of ominous dark clouds, the first day of Panorama Fest went off without a drop of rain. It wasn't totally a smooth ride, though: Anyone hoping to see DJ Shadow in the Parlor stage went home disappointed after the smaller, enclosed area was shut down for the day after the floor gave way under a packed crowd watching LA rapper Isaiah Rashad (not before he ran through highlights "RIP Kevin Miller" and "Tity & Dolla," however).
Those that weathered that inconvenience and a few other organizational hiccups got to see top-notch sets by co-headliners Frank Ocean and Solange. Both delivered intimate performances on the fest's massive main stage. Ocean seemed more relaxed than at his stateside return last week at FYF Fest. Performing from a catwalk in the middle of the crowd, Ocean blended songs from Blonde and Endless into a mixtape with segues and interludes (he started it off by popping a cassette into an onstage tape deck). From where I stood, on the right toward the stage, the bass and drum machine led the way, overwhelming his voice at times and lending a more upbeat atmosphere to the stark proceedings. Solange delivered an elegant, energetic set, with choreographed dance moves from the band and a full horn section. She capped it with triumphant encore "Don't Touch My Hair" ending that as the set began with an ecstatic reworking of "Rise."
While those artists both released stellar 2016 albums, audiences haven't had nearly as much time with Tyler, the Creator's newest, Flower Boy, which just came out on July 21. Flower Boy is a clear step forward for the rap prankster, and its soul-inspired rap tunes ("911/Mr. Lonely") and hard-hitting bangers ("Who Dat Boy") elicited a strong reaction from the crowd, proving that Tyler's devoted fans are ready to mature alongside him.
Look for a full report on the festival at the end of the weekend, but in the meantime, here are some highlights from day one.
All photograph Filip Wolak.