The Panorama Music Festival‘s first day went down on Randall’s Island in NYC on Friday, 7/22, with sets by Arcade Fire, Major Lazer, DJ Broken Social Scene, FKA Twigs, DJ Khaled, Schooboy Q, Lindsey Sterling, Little Scream, Here We Go Magic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Algiers, Silversun Pickups, Major Lazer, Alabama Shakes, Madlib, a DJ set by Mike D of the Beastie Boys, De Lux and more.
The heat was the first thing festival-goers felt but as the bands started playing that feeling quickly went away (for the most part). The art installations and technology dropped many jaws. The Verge and HP put together the Lab, which is seven interactive art installations that cleverly combine technology and the creativity of various artists. HP describes The Lab as a “playground of music and technology” in which festival-goers can experience a 360-degree virtual reality theater inside a dome, a pinball digital art performance and a cotton candy multi-sensory orchestration — made out of real, sugary cotton candy.
Broken Social Scene performed with a vigor and passion, typically witnessed in new indie acts, after a few years out of the spotlight due to personal tragedies and feeling the weight of stardom. While Feist was not present Amy Milan of Stars took her place bringing an equally impressive intensity to the performance. The band played classics such as KC Accidental, 7/4 (Shoreline), Cause = Time, and Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl.
Things really heated up when Major Lazer took the main stage. The DJ/Producer trio provided the crowd with four girls that never stopped dancing and a high-powered pyrotechnic dance party. The boys played many of their big hits including “Lean On” and their latest single “Cold Water.”
The British-born performer, FKA Twigs, was an artist in every sense of the word. The success of Twigs 2012 EP1 debut has brought her a legion of indie fans. However, she has defiantly pushed closer into mainstream over the years. She drifted on to the stage like a witch (think Stevie Nicks “Sisters of the Moon”) with her dancers but soon held the stage on her own. Opening up with “Water Me”, Twigs entranced festival-attendees in the while donning white braids, a glittery bodysuit and feathers that came out of her nose.
But the highlight of last night’s festival was Arcade Fire. The band played an incredible set of 22 songs including 3 covers of David Bowie tributing the artist. Win Butler and company performed fiery, impassioned versions of their classic songs (see setlist) with the intensity that brought this band their fame. It is no wonder artists like David Bowie were so drawn to them and their appeal was overwhelmingly apparent last night.
The most incredible moments of this performance came at the end when Arcade Fire came into the crowd and began a 3 song set of David Bowie covers to honor one of the most legendary musicians to ever exist. Back in January the band released a statement saying: “David Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and champions,” the group said in a statement at the time of Bowie’s death. “He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth. We will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of our lives. A true artist even in his passing, the world is more bright and mysterious because of him, and we will continue to shout prayers into the atmosphere he created.”
The festival could not have ended in a better way. They say music gets you high and we can attest to the fact that Panorama Music Festival provided the highest of highs.