Panorama 2017 Gallery: A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Frank Ocean & More
Panorama 2017 Gallery: A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Frank Ocean & More
Photo Credit: Vickey Ford of Sneakshot for Okayplayer

Panorama 2017: Tribe Announces Last N.Y. Show As Panorama Proves Its Spectacle Status

Panorama 2017 Gallery: A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Frank Ocean & More Photo Credit: Vickey Ford for Okayplayer

The second annual Panorama Festival found us jamming out to Solange, Frank Ocean and saying goodbye to the legendary A Tribe Called Quest.

Rounding the Robert F. Kennedy bridge toward Randall’s Island, the heaving bass greets you long before the staff does. The chatter from thousands of fans darting between venues scattered across the grass eventually swells into a palpable buzz, just electric enough to raise the hair on your skin.

Goldenvoice, the L.A. based promotion and production company owned by entertainment demigods AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) are the masterminds behind Panorama Festival, a sprawling showcase of music, technology and cuisine that blends the best of art and culture for legions of adoring fans from New York City and beyond.

Entering Randall’s Island on any of the three days is an immersive experience; entering on all three is a wildly challenging exercise of stamina and cost-benefit analysis.

It’s almost impossible to see every worthy act on the island, you quickly find that like with many things in life, you’ve got to ask yourself, what’s most important to you.

Can you really afford to miss A Tribe Called Quest perform their last ever show in New York City? No, you can’t. But if you plan on seeing Justice perform a brand-new set and still catch Snakehips, you better be a master of teleportation or at the very least, running really fast.

We took on the challenge of catching as many incredible acts as we could at this year’s Panorama and detailed them for you here, just in case you prefer to stick to scrolling instead of sprinting.

Panorama 2017 Gallery: A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Frank Ocean & More Photo Credit: Vickey Ford for Okayplayer


You might know THEY. from their electrifying hook on ZHU’s breakout smash, “Working For It”. Their angelic crooning lends itself equally to dance, R&B and even sporadic rapping, and the duo took to The Parlor right on the heels of a gorgeous neo-soul set from Jamila Woods.

Arguably, nobody weaves an urban pop sensibility across more styles than THEY., belting out familiar hooks like the single “Dante’s Creek,” their velvety smooth take on the classic Dawson’s Creek drama that flips the same “I don’t wanna wait for our lives to be over,” refrain into their own signature song.

After performing a variety of hits from their new album, Nü Religion: Hyena, it was Top Dawg Entertainment signee Isaiah Rashad taking the stage. Isaiah only had a chance to deliver a fistful of tracks before The Parlor venue was promptly evacuated as the floor literally began to cave in. The set was cut short and a dejected crowd dissipated, morose only for a moment before remembering there is practically no lull before the next show. The venue malfunction did raise the question as to what would happen with DJ Shadow’s set, who was scheduled to perform later, but that query that has yet to find a resolution.

Spoon was next on our agenda, a tightly-knit four piece band, wearing smart shirts and performing an airtight setlist, boasting tracks from their new Hot Thoughts album as well as a variety of classic hits from They Want My Soul and their wide-ranging discography containing nine studio albums to date.

The sound of their set was strong enough to drive the percussion of the kick drum straight into your gut, and their performance was a direct testament to their status as unrelenting kings of indie rock.

Moments later, that very same stage was adorned with a full-fledged forest: pine trees, clouds and sunflowers as Tyler, The Creator came sauntering on stage.

A thousand adoring fans cried out as Tyler worked his mass of fans into a frothy lather, all against a Flower Boy backdrop which made it appear as if Tyler could dart offstage and into the woods at any moment.

We took a beat to compose ourselves and found none other than Solange on the main Panorama Stage, crooning against an angular and futurist inspired landscape, fit for staccato jazz horns and her slow soul rhythms to burn against the night. The adulation for Beyoncé’s kid sister is unanimous. She receives roars of applause and ends her set after an emphatic dance number, thanking the crowd for allowing her the space to create.

In a similar vein, Frank Ocean followed suit, landing on stage only after a frantic swirl of dizzying gravity and launched directly into “Solo” from his critically acclaimed Blonde. Frank sports closely cut blue hair and seems at ease during his set, protected by black headphones fit for a fighter pilot.

Three mega-sized screens mirror images of Frank against the crowd, while LSD infused graphics project glitched distortions of his body as it moved across the stage. While Frank seems quiet and mildly self-assured on stage, he’s still larger than life. The gigantic crowd roaring into the evening is more than enough to prove it.

Panorama 2017 Gallery: A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Frank Ocean & More Photo Credit: Vickey Ford for Okayplayer


We head back into the festival as Vince Staples takes the stage, unrelenting rolling bass seeping through the speakers, purposefully reckless and perfect.

Vince’s voice is the only defining accent over undulating jabs of bass strong enough to make your gut role. He performs, “Bagbak,” with audible precision and hops from single to single: from his recent Gorillaz collaboration “Ascension” to his remix, “Ghost” with Major Lazer.

The Long Beach original exists on the razor's edge between electronic and rap, constantly pushing the envelope between genres with bass that carries clear across the festival and to the Pavilion where Belle and Sebastian gear up to take the stage.

The juxtaposition between the two acts, which still fits cleanly into Panorama's expansive lineup, showcases the versatility and range of hybrid of performances that Goldenvoice is able to tie together without making any one piece of the festival feel disparate or isolated.

Belle and Sebastian wear cleanly cut shirts, pink khakis and a jazz lounge demeanor as they run into their first track. Eventually, lead singer Stuart Murdoch strips off a beige trench coat and straps on a guitar, hopping from mic to guitar and piano without a single bead of sweat leaving his brow. He’s jubilant and the band plays flawlessly, trading instruments to belt out a polished orchestral sound. By the end of the performance, I’m left wondering if perhaps Belle and Sebastian are the least pretentious band of all time.

Like clockwork, the acts continue in quick succession.

Nick Murphy, having now had ample time to dissolve the Chet Faker moniker, comes on stage to a raw instrumental track from his recent Missing Link EP and performs songs from both his birth name and former moniker.

When Nick holds his microphone, he does so with a tenderness but just enough strength to strain, giving a tortured half gaze that defines much of his artistry. Blending folk and electronic in a way that only he seems capable of, Nick delivers one of the most captivating performances of the day.

Back at The Parlor, Nicolas Jaar performs experimental, trance-heavy hits from Space Is Only Noise and his more recent, even if less indelible, releases. With dense wafts of smoke emanating right from the tent, it’s literally impossible to get pictures of Jaar while he performs. Maybe that’s the point, but the vibration is right.

Finally, our perfect night cap, Tame Impala takes the Panorama Stage as neon-glow bodies and ecstatic fans crowd the stage and adjacent fields to get the best view that they can. Tame Impala is the closest thing our generation has to new age, messianic prophecy from a rock band.

With Kevin Parker superimposed against psychedelic scenes bleeding from high definition screens, Tame Impala performed hits from Currents, Lonerism and InnerSpeaker with a distorted polish, burning their anthemic discography into collective future memory.

Panorama 2017 Gallery: A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Frank Ocean & More Photo Credit: Vickey Ford for Okayplayer


Over the course of three days, an initially overcast day transformed into a piercing pristine blue. With the weather boding well, we head over to see Angel Olsen, wearing a tidy dreamcatcher bracelet and pouring soul straight into her microphone. Her electric guitars send her soaring over a set that could just as easily have been acoustic. The performance was a pleasure, as she delivered with the soft bliss of a whispered lullaby.

As her set wrapped up, we catch our breath at the VIP lounge adjacent to Panorama stage, and take advantage of a few lush couches and trees scattering shade across the grass.

Preparing for the quick succession of performances to come later in the night, we finish emailing the publicity team for Justice in between sips of a frosty watermelon cocktail. The lineup of Glass Animals, Cashmere Cat, Justice, Cloud Nothings, A Tribe Called Quest, and Nine Inch Nails overflows off of the glossy Panorama iPhone app and we run from stage to stage to grab the high notes before they dissipate into the ethers of the festival.

Glass Animals delivers sugar-laden pop ballads in front of a glistening pineapple, Cashmere Cat flashes peace signs and revs up trembling bass in front of an eruption of fog and Kiiara plays her hit single, “Gold,” which features Lil’ Wayne.

We make our way to the main stage where A Tribe Called Quest opens with Phife Dawg giving blessings across three screens. They propel their Golden Era hits into 2017 with a profoundly persistent resonance and enough boom bap to send the crowd roaring. They use “The Space Program” to bring the crowd into a unified chant, “Got to get it together for brothers/Got to get it together for sisters…” and then Q-Tip goes on to explain that this very Panorama performance will be the last ATCQ show in New York City, as the passing of Phife Dawg has clearly brought the group full circle and the crowd goes on to applaud Phife’s parents who were in attendance.

Justice went on to deliver an impressive electronic set peppered with a myriad of strobes, despite technical glitches, and Nine Inch Nails showcased Trent Reznor ripping power chords against blinding white screens.

But the driving power behind Nine Inch Nails didn’t seem to fit with the feeling that resonated when day three of the festival was over.

While NIN delivered on their performance and prominent position on the bill, the festival itself carried a different, more harmonic cadence; something more peaceful, unified and almost unspoken…like the quiet space on stage when the amplifiers finally cut out and a good memory fades off into the distance.

We’ll be back again next summer, as soon as the memory is ready to come alive again. Peep an extensive gallery of photos from the weekend, courtesy of the venerable Vickie "Sneakshot" Ford.

Adam Isaac Itkoff is a freelance writer living in New York City. You can follow him (and us!) on Twitter and find more of his work at