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Panorama 2016

Panorama Festival: The 11 Best Acts We Saw at NYC's First-Ever 'Coachella East'

From SZA to Sia, these live sets gave us life over the inaugural three-day event on Randall's Island

1 / 11


NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24:  SZA performs onstage  at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 3 at Randall's Island on July 24, 2016
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

At large music festivals, rarely do artists get personal onstage, if they say anything at all. But during SZA’s set at the first-ever Panorama festival (from Goldenvoice, the Coachella people), she took time to thank the audience, wax poetic on her accidental music career, and express hope that everyone finds love in their lives. And even if she hadn’t spoken a word, her effusive, flawless set would have spoken it for her. In between established favorites like “Babylon” and “Childs Play” from 2014’s Z, SZA's lilting voice carried over her newest release, “twoAM” (a reworked version of PartyNextDoor’s “Come and See Me”) and a new track called “Go Gina.” Her charm, energy, and chemistry with her live band was inescapable, both for newbies and longtime fans. –Brooke Bunce

Read all Fuse's Panorama coverage right here, including the biggest surprises and a comparison to New York's Governors Ball Music Festival, and see our gallery of the best live photos.

2 / 11

Lindsey Stirling

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22:  Lindsey Stirling performs onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 1 at Randall's Island on J
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

A master violinist who dabbles in modern hip-hop and R&B and effortlessly performs a melange of modern dance and ballet? If it sounds like a gimmick, you've gotta spend your allowance on Lindsey Stirling next time she's around. Backed by a band and a quartet of bubbly dancers, this 29-year-old's show is a game-changer. –Zach Dionne

3 / 11

Kendrick Lamar

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: Kendrick Lamar performs onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 2 at Randall's Island on July
Noam Galai/Getty Images

There’s no questioning that Kendrick Lamar is a living legend at this point, and Panorama showed just why he deserves all the accolades feverishly given to him. Racial tensions seem to be at an all-time high in this country, and the artist (please understand that he’s way more than a rapper) unapologetically threw it all in our face. As iconic pop culture moments like Malice at the Palace, Bill O’Reilly’s on-air tantrum and then-senator Obama dancing with Ellen DeGeneres flashed poignantly on massive screens, K. Dot spat his rhymes with a passion that you felt in your core. At one point, I caught myself proudly smiling as I gazed at him on the stage and didn’t want to return to our cruel reality once his set was over. –Bianca Gracie

Read our complete Kendrick Lamar Panorama review.

4 / 11

Anderson .Paak

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23:  Musician, Anderson .Paak performs during 2016 Panorama NYC at Randall's Island on July 23, 2016 in N
Mireya Acierto/WireImage

Did you know this California genius often takes over the drum set while spitting and singing? Did you know he dances as maniacally as Desiigner? Did you know he's the handsomest man in the world? His electric/eclectic live show's the perfect place to learn it all. –Zach Dionne

5 / 11

Arcade Fire

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22:  Singer/songwriter of Arcade Fire, Win Butler performs during the 2016 Panorama Festival on July 22,
Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

For their first U.S. show in two years, Arcade Fire didn’t try to mix things up; they stuck to the formula that works for them, and it’s a hell of a good one. Because of their size, breadth and energy, the band seems to be made for festival stages. Between heavy-hitters like “Reflektor,” “No Cars Go,” “Keep the Car Running,” and “The Suburbs,” leading man Win Butler took time to talk politics, mourn the loss of his friend David Bowie and bitterly joke about gentrification. But there was a shining beacon of hope as the band ended the show with an epic procession out into the crowd to jam, yawp with joy and give fans the true Arcade Fire experience they’d been waiting for. –Brooke Bunce

Read our complete Arcade Fire Panorama review.

6 / 11


NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24:  Sia and dancer Stephanie Mincone perform onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 3 at Randal
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Sia couldn't defeat the hype set by her 2016-defining Coachella set, thanks either to the awkward pre-headliner timing or because the surprise was shot. But Sia live is a feat of vocal excellence and performance art perfection, so we couldn't complain. –Zach Dionne

7 / 11

A$AP Rocky

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: ASAP Rocky performs onstage  at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 3 at Randall's Island on July 24
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

A$AP Rocky and the A$AP Mob bum-rushed the final night of Panorama No Limit Soldiers–style, and it was absolutely lit. Dressed in colorful camouflage, the Harlem crew (including Ferg, Nast, Illz and Twelvyy) repped their borough to the fullest as Rocky ignited the crowd with fan favorites like “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2,” “Multiply” and “L$D.” In an unexpected moment, Ferg took over with a brief set featuring “New Level,” “Work” and “Shabba Ranks.” But in the midst of all the rowdiness and mosh pits, Rocky (kind of) redeemed himself from those ignorant comments last week by starting a Black Lives Matter chant. Hats off to you, Pretty Flacko. –Bianca Gracie

8 / 11

Alabama Shakes

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22:  Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes performs onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 1 at
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

A top-tier live act back when they had just one strong rock-n-soul album, the Brittany Howard–fronted Alabama Shakes have become transcendent headliners in the Sound & Color age. With backing vocalists and a couple peripheral musicians joining the core foursome, the band worked a tectonic mix of their two LPs, with Howard, in the fanciest dress of the weekend, setting down her guitar to go microphone-only a special handful of times. –Zach Dionne

9 / 11

FKA Twigs

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22:  Singer/songwriter, FKA Twigs (C) performs during 2016 Panorama Festival on July 22, 2016 in New York
Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

FKA Twigs’ artistic, shape-shifting set wasn’t meant to make festival goers turn up; it was meant to leave them in-awe of her aesthetic prowess, and it more than delivered. At moments, the strength of Twigs’ falsetto pushed through, making it clear that the British-bred songstress has got a full, powerful set of pipes. But the allure of FKA Twigs is that she doesn’t give you what you want; she doesn’t belt notes, employ a bevy of backup dancers, wait for applause or shy from making you feel uncomfortable. Bedecked in a jewel-encrusted bodysuit and snow-white locs, slithering around the stage, and trilling with controlled, upper-octave vocals, FKA Twigs forced the festival crowd to step outside the boundaries of “pop music” and into her universe. –Brooke Bunce

Read our full FKA Twigs Panorama review.

10 / 11

Run the Jewels

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24:  El-P and Killer Mike of Run the Jewels perform onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 3 at
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Killer Mike and a pleasantly toasty El-P more than deserved their main stage spot on Sunday, shredding their socially conscious, ruinously aggressive tracks for nearly an hour. The endurance, the spotless hot-potato-ing of verses, the crisp enunciation: none of it's easy, but Run the Jewels make it look that way. –Zach Dionne

Read nine Run the Jewels Panorama quotes that'll double as perfect captions for your wokest Instagrams.

11 / 11

DJ Khaled

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22:  Remy Ma, Fat Joe and DJ Khaled perform onstage at the 2016 Panorama NYC Festival - Day 1 at Randall'
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Booked on the smallest stage (er, tent) at Panorama and having presumably just called in every favor possible for his opening slot on Beyoncé's Formation Tour, hip-hop's hypest, Snapchat-iest talent-wrangler could've easily been left to his own devices. Instead, his bangerific set had a significant T.I. appearance and a back half completely run by Remy Ma and Fat Joe. Remy bodying her "All the Way Up (Remix)" verse was one of Panorama's raddest moments. –Zach Dionne

Read all Fuse's Panorama coverage right here, including the biggest surprises and a comparison to New York's Governors Ball Music Festival, and see our gallery of the best live photos.

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