Camp Flog Gnaw Review

After Camp Flog Gnaw, I’m readjusting my will from leaving all my worldly possession to Blue Ivy (Knowles) Carter to Tyler, The Creator. It’s the only proper way for me to thank Tyler for not only a perfect festival with the perfect lineup, but a perfect festival with the perfect set times. When the lineup for Camp Flog Gnaw first came out, I was partly hype af and partly worried. I’m indecisive enough when it comes to picking out my socks in the morning, how was I supposed to pick between The Internet and SZA? But Tyler came through, and even with the stacked lineup, the hardest decision I had to make was Lil Wayne or Kaytranada (I picked Weezy for The Culture). The music was only a piece, although the biggest piece, that made this weekend so magical, I wanna #tbt it once a week and maybe even give it a little #fbf action, too.

The first day, I eagerly spent 30 minutes walking through the barricades to enter the festival and at the pearly white gates, I was greeted by Tyler’s voice telling everyone to have a good time. Floral “Golf” banners lined the walkway and gave you your first post for Snapchat, the only one that would go through the entire day. Late as always, my squad ran over to catch the end of Alina Baraz’s set. She didn’t have the voice or presence to command the large crowd gathered for her early set, and everyone looked bored till she hit em with Fantasy.

A few carnival rides and some nasty grilled cheese later, SZA took to the same stage and rocked it. Despite some technical difficulties, a tree partially blocking my view and a man high on every drug possible grinding against my friend, SZA brought the stage to life. She brought out label-mate Isaiah Rashad right off the bat to perform Warm Winds with her and Free Lunch solo. She was the first of no less than five (F I V E ) artists to bring out DMV’s very own D.R.A.M., and while I may not have been as hype to hear Broccoli the fourth time, I was excited to hear him perform Caretaker with my girl SZA.

Immediately after SZA, I headed to the main stage for the back to back performances of The Internet and Chance The Rapper. While I got to chill out and vibe with the vocal stylings of Syd and a little bit of Steve Lacey, I got to mosh with Chance and add the first couple of tears into my fishnets. They both played every song you love and had the crowd helping them out along the way. If you’ve been a fan of either of the two artists for awhile, you got to hear their records that you bumped long before they could play that big of a stage like Dontcha for The Internet and Pusha Man for Chance. Then you’d get to hear the crowd help them sing the songs that got them where they are now like Special Affair and No Problem respectively.

When we headed back to the smaller “Flog” stage to watch DJ Mustard, we were immediately hit with a party like atmosphere. Whether he played his own hits like Want Her or other popular songs like oddly placed Hello by Adele, he had the crowd. He brought out five special guests including YG, G-Eazy, and everyone’s favorite special guest D.R.A.M.. He mixed hip-hop and electronic music seamlessly and was definitely a good time.

Kehlani’s lackluster performance preceded our final artist of the night, the very high and very prolific Lil Wayne. During his entire set you saw the last 17 years of your life pass you by. His DJ and his hype man told us he was the greatest rapper alive and his show was definitely a good argument for just that. He was a perfect way to end night one before dragging our aching bones to bed to prepare to do this all over again.

Day two was filled with music, but also with the rides and food that complete the Flog Gnaw experience. After eating an ice cream sandwich for breakfast while sneaking in the handicap entrance to make it in time to see Kali Uchis’ perfectly cute performance, we rode all the rides that drop you, flip you and spin you around. There were nine rides in total and some, like the extra long slide, catered to the scaredy cats in every friends group.

After a few rides and a couple over priced donuts later, it was time to get back to the music. This was our second dilemma of the carnival: do we see Anderson .Paak for the second time because he was damn good live or do we take a chance on Action Bronson who in my opinion probably makes better food than music? We’re smart so we went with Anderson. He came out with our favorite track Come Down and didn’t let us down from there. His drumming, energy and band The Nationals, made it hard for anyone in the audience to stand still. He was definitely one of the best shows of the festival.

Like the ignorant kids we are, we elected to see Sremmlife Crew while anyone with actual taste in music went to see Erykah Badu. In all honesty, I didn’t doubt my choice for a second especially after we got to go crazy while they performed the number one song in the country, “Black Beatles”. We camped at the stage for Joey Bada$$ and got to be right in front. He blessed us with old tracks and some new ones while the crowd yelled the New York rapper’s lyrics right back at him. There were two times during his set where I was happily afraid for my life: when he crowd surfed right over my head and when he closed his set with Devastated. One of the downfalls at being at a festival with only two stages is it’s hard to get close for any performances, so I’m glad I got to experience this one front and center.

We ended our weekend with a late arriving ScHoolboy Q. I got to hear the first track I ever heard from him, “Blessed”, as well as some personal favorites like “Man Of The Year”, “Studio” and “Groovy Tony”. When Q performed T”Hat Part” everyone brought out the rest of their remaining energy. It might have been late and we might have all had an exhausting weekend, but in that moment you would’ve never known.

As we waited on the curb outside Exposition Park for Uber surge prices to go down, our bodies ached. We barely sat down day one, never sat down day two and joined every mosh pit we could. At the end of the weekend, my fishnets were barely holding on, much like my ankles. My voice was gone. My friend was already half asleep. Pure pain. Pure joy. Thanks, Tyler via

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Categories:   Music