Looking slightly more sluggish than the day before, fans made their way into Exposition Park for Day Two of Camp Flog Gnaw. Thankfully, the festival gods were smiling down upon Los Angeles for the Sunday event, and the weather was a manageable low 70s.
The first artist of interest on the docket was Odd Future affiliate, Hodgy at the Flog Stage. Unlike yesterday, Day Two offered more for the real die-hard Odd Future fans with individual sets from Hodgy, Domo Genesis, Taco and The Internet. Campers looked tired but still showed up for a solid set by Hodgy. Though he isn’t the biggest OF star these days, he’s got some classics and played them for fans. He even brought out Nana for their collaborative track “Golden” which is one of his newer releases and is produced by Anderson .Paak. It’s never easy taking the early slot on the final day of a festival, especially when it’s hot outside, but Hodgy handled it well. He sounded clear, and his energy was high even when the crowd seemed low and closed his set out with “Barbell.”
After Hodgy departed, there was just enough time for a quick beer or water break before Trash Talk took the stage. Though their crowd was smaller than Hodgy’s, Trash Talk made sure they brought their energy. As soon as their set began, campers took notice, and those that were sitting in the shade got up and headed towards the Flog Stage. Nothing like some hardcore punk at 3 in the afternoon. And if you thought for a second there wouldn’t be a mosh pit, well then you just don’t know the Flog Gnaw crowd. To quote lead singer Lee Spielman, “it’s time to wake the f*** up Los Angeles!” Fan of the band or not, it’s hard to hate energy like that. As their set wore on, more and more campers came to check out the show, like moths drawn towards the world’s loudest flame. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it’s a wonderful thing to hear Spielman’s guttural screams on a stage surrounded by pictures pink and red flowers. On “Body Stuffer,” Spielman walked into the crowd and around the front area of the stage to sing and mosh with the group. Now that is top notch fan interaction.
Back at the Camp Stage, campers bobbed their heads along to Domo Genesis and his brand of smoked out hip-hop. Odd Future’s resident stoner sounded great and brought in a relatively dense crowd. Like his Mellow High counterpart Hodgy, Domo isn’t the biggest OF personality but has created a loyal fan base, and they came out in droves for his set. He ran through his discography, playing the likes of “Me and My Bitch,” “Elimination Chamber,” “Rusty,” “Dapper,” and even brought out Hodgy who freestyled his verse for “Yu.”
Back at the Flog Stage, Terror Jr treated fans to some very groovy pop hits. Dressed in a shiny silver dress, the singer young singer played an enjoyable afternoon set with tracks like “Sugar,” “IDWT” and “3 Strikes.” The crowd seemed to enjoy her uplifting electro-pop tunes and swayed along with the music throughout her set.
Like yesterday, as day turned to night, more and more campers showed up for the carnival. After grooving to Terror Jr, fans made their way back to the Camp stage for Kehlani. Kehlani put on a stellar performance, dancing and singing to a relatively dense crowd for a 5pm set time. Even as far back as the Orbiter, fans bounced and sang along. When Kehlani started playing “The Way,” fans took over allowing the artist to boogie down while the crowd handled the chorus. Even as campers were making their way to Playboy Carti at the Flog stage, they were still singing along. If that isn’t fan love, what is?
With some Kehlani under their belts, fans headed back to Camp for Playboy Carti. To get the crowd pumped, Carti’s DJ ran through a few popular hits like “Goosebumps” and “MAAD CITY” before eventually bringing the star out. Needless to say, the fans poured in like a tidal wave to catch Carti’s set. It’s always a good sign when mosh pits are popping up, and the actual artist hasn’t even graced the stage yet. Carti started off with a ton of energy with “In My Car,” and then moved right into “Flex.” As high as the energy was for his first two tracks, things took a turn for the insane once “Magnolia” began bursting through the speakers. The remainder of his set continued on the same path, basically a giant dance party.
For one of the most random sets of the weekend, Taco took to the Camp stage to do a little DJ set. Though he was just playing hip-hop hits from the past five years or so, it was actually a fun time and an excellent excuse for campers to break it down and dance before heading into the rest of the night. Tyler even made a quick cameo on stage to act as Taco’s hype man for his set.
After the brief dance intermission, campers made their way to the Flog Stage for Kelis. The singer started her set off with a bang with a medley of songs that utilizes some teeth-shatteringly loud live percussions and booming vocals. The addition of a live band made her sound feel that much rawer and powerful and got everyone within earshot dancing under the setting sun. After her medley, she started into “Jerk Ribs” and “Get Along With You,” which had the crowd grooving. Once again, the Flog Stage became an all-out dance party.
Back at Camp, Syd, and her band, The Internet took the stage. They started off with “Under Control” and kept the funk going on all cylinders from there on out. Syd, Steve Lacy and crew all sounded fantastic on this cool fall evening. After “Under Control,” the band launched into the bouncy, percussion forward jam “Gabby” off of their fantastic LP Ego Death. As great as Syd was last night for her solo performance, there’s something about a live band behind her that makes her voice boom that much more. Campers at the show would certainly agree, given how much they cheered and danced throughout the set. From there, Steve Lacy took the spotlight to play his solo record, “Dark Red” to the packed Camp stage crowd, with the rest of The Internet backing him up. After the brief Lacy intermission, The Internet got back to the regularly scheduled program with fan favorite “Special Affair” to wild applause. It’s incredible how deep the Odd Future roster goes and how quality every member is, isn’t it?
After a stellar set from The Internet, A$AP Rocky took to the stage with a booming bass beat behind him. Rocky charged headfirst into the explosive track, “RAF” which features Playboy Carti. After bringing out Carti for his verse, Rocky started his second verse acapella and then all hell broke loose when Tyler, The Creator hopped on stage. Now that’s how you start a set! Since Tyler and Rocky were sharing a stage, they obviously had to play their most recent collab off of Tyler’s album, “Who Dat Boy.” The crowd couldn’t get any more stoked than they were at that moment, it was a physical impossibility. From there, Rocky cruises through his catalog with newer cuts like “RAF,” “LSD,” “Multiply” and older hits like “Angels” and “Pick It Up.” It was a fun and feature heavy set that left fans ready for the final few shows of the weekend. Next up, Earl Sweatshirt at the Flog Stage.
Earl took to the stage right in time for his Sunday evening set at Camp Flog Gnaw. The elusive OF star played to an energetic and densely packed crowd at the Flog stage, running through songs like “Quest/Power,” “Off Top,” “Guild” and “Wind in my Sails.” In comparison to other sets of the evening, Earls performance was somewhat subdued but his specialty is lyricism, and that was on full display for the crowd at the Flog Stage.
After Earl, it was back to the Camp stage for the remainder of the evening to catch Solange and headliner, Kid Cudi. For her set, Solange ran through her incredible album, A Seat at the Table, playing songs like “Cranes in the Sky” “Mad” “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “Don’t You Wait.” Like her show at FYF this year, Solange brought the ’70s vibe, complete with coordinated dance moves and orange outfits. Even though she played the same set, this performance was in no way phoned in. Her moves, vocals and general presence on stage out her at the top of the performance game in 2017.
Finally, campers arrived at the final set of the weekend, Kid Cudi. Only a few minutes late, Scott Mescudi approached the stage and got an electric applause from the waiting crowd. Though it was a long weekend full of plenty of great shows, fans acted as if this was the first show of the evening. To start things off, the lonely stoner began with “Baptized in Fire.” He then followed up with “Revolution” and “Frequency” before addressing the crowd to show so love. As the set wore on, he played a range of hits, from “Marijuana” and “Through the Late Night” and “Brothers” to “Just What I Am” featuring a guest verse from King Chip. Cudi handled the stage well as he was solo for the majority of the set. Even still, he possessed a commanding stage presence and had little trouble pumping up the crowd and getting a good response whenever addressing his fans. As he’s a bit of an artistic recluse, it was a treat to catch Cudi headlining a festival. While many musicians on the lineup are touring extensively at the moment, Cudi has mostly remained off the festival circuit. Couple his elusiveness with a stellar performance and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect closing act on an incredible weekend.
Camp Flog Gnaw isn’t a festival, nor is it a carnival, it’s the epicenter of a cultural movement. It’s a place where people of all tastes, shapes, and outlooks can come to go crazy and expose themselves to a mix of genres with no judgment, be they crying along to Solange or moshing to Trash Talk.
So here’s to you Tyler, for giving everyone a space to be who they are.
File Photo: Brett Padelford