Plugging into the Music that Matters

JACKS Abroad: Panorama Festival, New York

It’s summer time and JACKS have gone on a summer adventure to the Big Apple. Last weekend, New York’s newest festival, Panorama took place and we were there on Saturday to check it out…

Panorama Stage

Randall’s Island in NYC was hosting some of the biggest names on the indie scene on Saturday as Panorama continued after an excellent first night that saw Arcade Fire headline. With a mixture of indie, R&B, dance and more, Panorama was making sure there was something for everyone to enjoy musically.

Kicking things off on the scorching afternoon were Brooklyn-based band, Caveman on the Panorama Stage. With a set that was full of ballads, riffs and uplifting lyrics, it was a perfect start for day two.

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cib1XoIfscU]

Over on The Pavilion Stage, Melanie Martinez carried on the festivities with tracks from her album Cry Baby, which came out last year. With a stage set up consisting of giant building blocks spelling out “Cry Baby” and her DJ dressed in a baby onesie and drummer in a teddy bear costume while in the centre of the stage was a giant crib. Martinez really sticking to the theme of the record.

Melanie Martinez

She drew in the biggest crowd of the day so far, filling out the tent, with the audience bouncing along with her as she stormed through her eventful set, with her fast-paced and in your face tracks from her debut album. The biggest cheer for the New Yorker came at the end of her set when Melanie performed her hit track ‘Mrs. Potato Head‘. Her fans got what they came for, delivering a short but exciting set, Melanie Martinez showed that it was worth filling out The Pavilion Stage’s tent to catch her performance.

Then in The Parlour, an indoor venue, consisting of wooden floors and a framed picture of Biggie Smalls above a fireplace. This was Panaroma’s place to be for house music throughout the weekend and part of The Parlour’s line up was a captivating and funky Horse Meat Disco
show from Horse Meat Disco. The trio on stage, entertained those inside for an hour, with everyone losing themselves in the darkened Parlour dancing away.

It was hot, very hot and no one could have cared, Horse Meat Disco made sure there wasn’t a single person in there standing still. Their set had everyone feeling euphoric and with strobes, lasers and stunning visuals on the LED screen behind the DJ’s, the crowd for that hour didn’t have a care in the world.

One of the main attractions for Panorama’s Saturday line up had crossed over the pond like ourselves. That band was Foals. There was an excitement in the air at The Panorama Foals 1Stage as the roadies made the quick turn around from the previous band to get the Oxford foursome ready.

An extended intro of ‘Snake Oil‘, taken from the brilliant 2015 album, What Went Down began to play and gradually, one by one, each band member came on to the stage to a rapturous applause.

It was a set that took us through their entire discography, making sure that in their allocated slot of one hour, that the best that Foals have to offer would be exploding out of the speakers and their unique sound would be captivating those on Randall’s Island.

With people swaying to the playful riffs of ‘My Number‘, to feeling the raw emotion of ‘Spanish Sahara‘ and losing all control when frontman, Yannis Philippakis would scream that he “Can’t get enough space” during ‘Inhaler‘, this was a set that was going to have those in New York leaving, knowing it would be one of the best sets of the weekend.Foals 3.jpg

The triumphant performance was ended with the aggressive and adrenaline rushing title track from the latest album, ‘What Went Down‘ and at the end of it, the crowd were crying out for more, wanting an encore that would never come. Foals came, they saw and they well and truly conquered the Panorama festival.

The National were hitting the Panorama Stage before headline act Kendrick Lamar closed out the night. With only an hour to perform, it was a tight-knit set filled with the best that the Cincinnati band had to offer. Going through their stunning back catalogue, The The National 1National also included two new songs in their set, with ‘The Day I Die‘ and ‘Find A Way‘. Both very different from each other, with ‘The Day I Die‘ being lively and energetic, while ‘Find A Way‘ had a more sombre feel to it, another ballad that will become a fan favourite on their next tour.

The band seemed to make the most of their short time on stage and it was an explosive end to their performance, with the raw passion of ‘Mr. November‘ echoing around Randall’s Park, before leading into the powerful ‘Terrible Love‘, it’s swell of tension that resulted in a burst of heavy riffs and frontman, Matt Berninger joining the crowd, all feeling the emotion of the song, with fans embracing him and shouting into the microphone with him that ‘it takes an ocean not to break‘. It was an incredible moment, everyone just appeared to be in one frame of mind at that time as the song went on, reaching it’s climatic end.The National 2

They could’ve played for longer and I think if they were have been able to, they would but they left that stage with everyone knowing they’d just been a part of a very special show. The National never disappoint when they take to a stage, Saturday’s performance was no different.

After the stunning performance from The National, on the Pavilion Stage, Sufjan Stevens was closing out the night in the giant marquee and it felt like one big party and everyone was invited. It was colourful, fun and an hour filled with pure joy.

Sufjan and his entourage entertained the crowd with tracks from his latest album ‘Carrie and Lowell’ but mostly giving songs from his 2010 LP, ‘Age of Adz’ an outing, featuring the intense ‘Vesuvius‘, which builds throughout with angst and urgency, it had the crowd on their toes.Sufjan Stevens 3.jpg

One of the highlights of his set was the mammoth performance of ‘Impossible Soul‘, on record it spans for over 25 minutes and live you’d wonder how he could make this work. Sufjan Stevens 1With costumes made of tin foil and one of balloons, auto-tuned “Kanye West impersonations” as the charismatic singer put it and air dancers.

After that it was hard to see how Stevens could top that but he did with one of the most uplifting songs of the century. The chimes kicked in and before you knew it, ‘Chicago‘ had begun bringing a loud cheer from the fans. As he sang about his tale of a road trip from Chicago to New York, the chorus brought in the loudest sing-a-long of the night with Sufjan taking a step back as the crowd took over. It was a joyous moment with the packed out Pavilion Stage embracing the moment of such a well-crafted and delightful song. It was a perfect end to this hour-long party hosted by Sufjan Stevens.

Everyone left there with a smile on their face after witnessing one of the most uplifting, invigorating and entertaining performances they’ll see all that weekend.Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 00.12.11

The music wasn’t the only thing that captivated the festival-goers, with a 60ft dome that people could go in, they’d take a place and lie down on the floor to stare up at the ceiling as they were engulfed by stunning visualisations that at times made you feel the room was Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 00.16.03taking off. Panoroma provided more than just a fantastic line up of artists, they gave people the opportunity to not just see art but be a part of it too.

Randall’s Park hosted Panorama in it’s first year and they’ve set the bar high. If you’re headed to New York in July 2017, Panorama is definitely another of many, must-see attractions in the city that never sleeps.

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