17 acts to not miss at Panorama ’17
NYC music festival Panorama is fast approaching. It happens Friday, July 28 through Sunday, July 30 on Randall’s Island (and there are some aftershows too). Three-day and single-day passes are still available.
UPDATE: Panorama set times have been revealed.
Meanwhile, here’s a guide to some of the artists we’re most excited about, and other stuff you may want to know about the fest…
In addition to the festival’s main stages, this year Panorama is introducing The Point, an “outdoor dance club with nonstop DJ sets.” Some exciting names are on this part of the lineup too, including Theo Parrish, Derrick Carter, Honey Dijon, Omar-S, Huerco S, Tim Sweeney, Mister Saturday Night and more.
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They’ll also again have The Lab, “an interactive experience that combines technology, artistry, and design […] with six interactive installations and a massive 360-degree virtual-reality theater.”
HOW TO GET THERE?
If you’d like to take a shuttle or ferry to Randall’s Island, you can buy passes for that too. You can also walk or bike across the RFK/125th St bridge, the E. 103rd St footbridge, or the RFK/Hoyt Ave bridge to get to the fest (there’s a dedicated lot with bike racks). There will be no parking available on Randall’s Island, but if someone’s driving you, there’s a drop-off area at the fest.
WHAT TO BRING
You can bring a backpack or purse as long as it’s smaller than 20″ x 15″ x 9″, sunscreen and bug spray as long as it’s non-aerosol, empty camelbacks, kids (kids two and under get in free!), and one empty or factory-sealed water bottle (no larger than 2 liters). If you need a locker, you can rent one now. Leave your totems, selfie sticks, umbrellas, chairs, coolers, e-cigs, musical instruments, kites, hammocks, flags, fireworks, stuffed animals, walkie talkies, and air horns at home.
Now head below to check out the list of 17 artists we’re excited to see at the 2017 fest, along with a playlist of our picks (in alphabetical order):
A Tribe Called Quest
Having made not only a great comeback record, but one of 2016’s best albums period, it seemed wrong for A Tribe Called Quest not to play the songs live despite the tragic loss of founding member Phife Dawg last year. Plus, their performances on SNL and the Grammys showed that the spark is still here. It feels safe to say that this rare performance will be a giant unmissable celebration and tribute to Phife. [Bill Pearis]
Having started out making a stunningly good update on ’60s psychedelic folk music, Angel Olsen has branched out and wrote one of the most memorable indie hits of last year (“Shut Up Kiss Me”). It’s on her album My Woman, which we named the #1 album of 2016. Live, Angel’s a force too. She’s joined by an ace backing band, and she greets the crowd with a thousand-yard stare that makes her warbly voice all the more intense.
Belle & Sebastian
When Belle & Sebastian began 20 years ago, who would have thought that shy, bookish frontman Stuart Murdoch would turn into such an extroverted frontman? Over the course of nine whimsical albums, Belle & Sebastian have mastered indie rock, indie pop, chamber pop, and other various subgenres while remaining one of indie’s most beloved bands. Even if you haven’t followed the Scottish group’s career so closely in the last decade, the band remain utterly charming live and keep their festival sets packed with favorites. [B.P.]
Cherry Glazerr have come a long way since releasing Haxel Princess three years ago (when the band were still in high school). Clementine Creevy was already a talented songwriter and guitarist but revamping the band with a tight rhythm section and keyboardist/singer Sasami Ashworth has paid off leaps and bounds. Cherry Glazerr deliver live, too, and play a rocking, fun set, heavy on their terrific new album Apocalipstick. [B.P.]
Since 2012’s Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings have become one of the most consistently good hard-edged rock bands around. The dream of the ’90s is alive on that album and its two followups — 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else and this year’s Life Without Sound — which manage to put the greats of that era (including but not limited to Nirvana, Weezer, Sonic Youth, and Sunny Day Real Estate) in a blender while keeping things sounding fresh and distinctly the work of no other band. At their live shows, they have a knack for showing off their improvisational side and having a beastly drummer doesn’t hurt those lengthy jams. [A.S.]
Frank Ocean remains as talented and somewhat elusive as ever. Last year, he returned with not one but two new albums, and both landed on our Top Albums of 2016 list. He hadn’t played live since 2014, until he returned to the stage in 2017 at Denmark’s NorthSide Festival in early June. Frank is increasingly uncompromising as an artist, and that NorthSide setlist proved it. He only played two songs off his fan-favorite album Channel Orange (and nothing off his debut, Nostalgia Ultra), instead sticking to the less accessible 2016 albums and a few new songs he just released this year. It’s hard to predict what he’ll do at Panorama, but whatever it is, it’s bound to be exciting. [A.S.]
Future Islands have many very catchy songs, but the band’s appeal lives or dies with frontman Samuel T Herring. He’s part Pentecostal preacher, part lounge singer, part Tony Monero, part motivational preacher, and part pugilist shadow boxing a title fight. When he’s not busting the moves that made Letterman a fan, he’s acting out lyrics, and occasionally seeming possessed by the devil. He’s 100% in the moment and that helps make Future Islands a fun act at any festival they’re playing. [B.P.]
The thriving Chicago hip hop scene that birthed Chance the Rapper continues to churn out new impressive artists like crazy, and two of them are playing this festival. One, Jamila Woods, is a neo-soul singer who shined as a guest on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and released her very good debut HEAVN last year. She since signed to Jagjaguwar, home of Bon Iver, Angel Olsen, Dinosaur Jr, and more. Hopefully the signing means a followup to HEAVN is on the way, and we can’t wait to find out how that’s gonna sound. Catch Jamila now while she’s still on the rise. [A.S.]
After humble beginnings as a regular on the DIY circuit in Brooklyn, Mitski’s star power rapidly rose after the release of her universally acclaimed Dead Oceans debut, Puberty 2. It’s an ambitious indie rock album with bits of folk, electronics, punk, pop, and more, all led by Mitski’s seriously impressive pipes. Her voice can be even more powerful in a live setting. We’ve seen her elicit cheers mid-song for a certain lyric or a particularly impressive display of her vocal power. [A.S.]
As both a solo artist and a member of Darkside, Nicolas Jaar has crafted quite an amount of impressive music in the past few years. He makes club-ready dance music, ambient headphone music, progressive rock, and more. He’s a masterful DJ and also a great singer. We can’t be certain which side he’ll stick most to at Panorama, but we have a feeling it’s going to be a total party. [A.S.]
Nine Inch Nails
2017 is the year where both Nine Inch Nails and Tool are frequent festival headliners. Fellow Randall’s Island festival Governors Ball had Tool, and Panorama has NIN. Unlike Tool, Nine Inch Nails actually have new music — the recent Not the Actual Events EP and two more EPs due out by the end of 2017. The new stuff is good too. In a time where ’90s revival is all the rage, it’s nice to get some more of that decade’s challenging aggression from a band who was actually there. [A.S.]
Another artist on this festival (along with Jamila Woods) from Chicago’s thriving hip hop scene is Noname. She raps on Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap and Coloring Book, and last year she put out her own debut, Telefone. She’s got a live band that’s as entertaining to watch as Noname herself. [A.S.]
One of the most addictive rock albums of last year was Pinegrove’s Cardinal. It’s eight songs that mix alt-country and indie rock, and all eight of them managed to quickly get stuck in the heads of an increasingly large number of fans. I saw Pinegrove open a three-band bill at the small Brooklyn venue Baby’s All Right the day Cardinal came out, and the last time they played NYC they sold out Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg as headliners. Their live show really quickly came together too. They’re a loud, tight band, perfect for the singalongs that happen at just about every show. [A.S.]
Solange released one of the very best albums of last year with A Seat at the Table, but she still hasn’t gone on a proper tour in support of it. She recently played two hard-to-get-into shows at the Guggenheim but otherwise she’s mostly playing festivals like this one (for now, at least). It’s extra special that she’s co-headlining the same day as Frank Ocean, who has a similar knack for reviving ’70s psychedelic soul and whose shows are similarly rare. [A.S.]
Few indie rock bands from the ’90s have managed to be as consistent, stay as relevant, and be as fun to see live as Spoon. (They’re kind of like Belle & Sebastian in that way, also on this list.) That trend has continued through their most recent two albums: 2014’s They Want My Soul and this year’s fiery Hot Thoughts. As such, Spoon have never needed to rest on their laurels, but they’ve also got a deep well of crowd-pleasing songs from which to draw. Main man Britt Daniel has always had a bit of rock star in him, too, which is always a plus when playing to big festival audiences. [B.P.]
The Australian band’s rise to fame is in no small part due to live shows. Few bands understand the dynamics of a big outdoor show like Tame Impala, with music that appeals to a wide swath of audiences (rock, dance, pop) matched to hypnagogic visuals. With their Panorama set coming almost two years to the day of the release of Currents, we might even get a new song. Regardless, Tame Impala do festivals right. [B.P.]
Vince Staples is quickly becoming one of the best MCs around, and he’s fresh off releasing his fascinating new album Big Fish Theory. It breaks countless boundaries of traditional rap music, with beats coming from Flume, SOPHIE, GTA, and other electronic musicians. Considering electronic music is increasingly a main attraction at music festivals, the new stuff might make Vince even more appealing in this environment than he already was. [A.S.]