Tyler, The Creator, Mac Miller & More Set the Tone at Day 1 of Camp Flog Gnaw

Tyler, The Creator
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Tyler, The Creator performs on the Camp Stage during day 1 of Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival 2017 at Exposition Park on Oct. 28, 2017 in Los Angeles.

On Thursday (Oct. 26), just two days before the sixth annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, Tyler, The Creator opened the doors of the much-anticipated Golf Wang flagship. Dreamed and designed completely by the Flower Boy rapper, the Los Angeles store’s trendy Fairfax location drew a line of fashion fanatics that wrapped halfway around the block.

Saturday, (Oct. 28), the musician’s most devoted fans again stood patiently, waiting through lengthy lines for the first night of the two-day spectacle that is Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival.

Attendees -- many of whom had taken special pains to dress in the latest from the Golf Wang collection, which also had a pop-up on the grounds -- turned out in droves, pouring from the adjacent MTA station and various rideshare services into L.A.'s Exposition Park. The festival’s theme stayed true to the carnival-meets-kitsch aesthetic that Tyler has gleefully established over Flog Gnaw’s tenure.

Among the returning attractions was the signature Ferris wheel, a swinging ship and a nausea-inducing spinning ride, especially for those who have had a few drinks. Another section, nestled near the second artist compound, featured arcade games including Skee-Ball and a variety of '80s-flavored novelty machines.

Friends and affiliates of Tyler and the Odd Future family  were front and center on the lineup, which is arguably the strongest to date. Performers included a thoughtfully curated mix of both emerging and established artists, as well as current fan favorites like Migos, Playboi Carti and the elusive Kid Cudi. Like last year, the acts were dispersed between the “Flog” “Camp” and “Gnaw” stages, triggering a pattern of predictable mass migrations between the sets of headlining acts.

The lineup for the day ranged from preternaturally turnt talents like Denzel Curry, The Garden and Migos to the mellower tones of 6LACK, Syd and the special guest, indie rocker Mac DeMarco.

Special Guest Mac Demarco

On Wednesday (Oct. 25), the Camp Flog Gnaw Twitter account sent out a brief dispatch announcing the festival’s official set times. The 6:15 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. slot, between Brockhampton and and Syd, simply read “special guest.” That guest turned out to be Stranger Things cast member Finn Wolfhard’s favorite musician, Mac DeMarco.

The Canadian singer’s reveal, which came directly on the heels of sunset, was met with hysterical screams from the unexpecting audience, many of whom believed Frank Ocean would be the surprise guest. At one point DeMarco did mention Frank, prompting another brief frenzy, but alas, Mr. Ocean had a birthday to celebrate.

Syd Enlists Steve Lacy

Though she’ll take the stage as lead singer for the critically-acclaimed band, The Internet, Sunday evening (Oct. 29), Syd made her solo debut at Flog Gnaw on Saturday, running through favorites from the Fin EP as well as singles from her three-track mini-project, Always Never Home. She kicked things off with “No Looking Back” before revisiting crowd-pleasers like The Internet’s Kaytranada-featured sleeper-hit “Girl.”

After a brief pause, the singer announced that she too had a special guest (at this point in the day a trend was developing), bandmate Steve Lacy, who has embarked on a solo career of his own. Amidst cheers and whistle, the two riffed their way through “Over” (which actually features fellow Flog Gnaw performer 6LACK), and followed it up with the mood-setting slow jam,  “Body.”

Golf Wang Pop-Up

Though it’s unlikely anyone attending Flog Gnaw would be actively trying to escape Tyler, it really wasn’t even an option. From the oversized sneaker-shod foot rising from the ground to hover over guests’ head (a nod to Golf Wang’s latest campaign), to attendees dressed fastidiously in the rapper’s brand, Golf Wang was everywhere.

In addition to releasing a run of specialty merch for the carnival, Tyler extended his freshly opened flagship onto the fest’s physical grounds. For those who couldn’t make it to the actual store or didn’t want to brave the long lines, it was the ultimate perk.

Mac Miller Casually Brings Out Thundercat

Mac Miller -- who may or may not have been accompanied by Ariana Grande, if Twitter is to be believed -- dominated the “Camp” stage for his 8:20 p.m. performance. However, it wasn’t his delivery of “Diablo” or any other perennial fan favorites that titillated the crowd. Halfway through the set, Miller casually brought out Thundercat, who proceeded to set the tone with an impromptu jam session and a performance of “Them Changes,” among other things. In fact, Miller brought the bassist out as if it were such a regular occurrence that despite Cat’s face being projected on the jumbo screen, some people didn’t even realize it had happened until they’d missed him.

Tyler, The Creator Rages on Stage

High-energy sets are an expectation for Flog Gnaw but Vince Staples, Denzel Curry and Tyler, The Creator all delivered performances that took the crowd from head nodding to moshing -- to the point where more than a few people found themselves intimately acquainted with both the ground and the flavor of a tennis shoe.

Tyler was particularly determined to get the audience involved, keeping up a conversational stream as he ran through a litany of singles from his latest album, Flower Boy, and his older projects. After opening with the Frank Ocean-featured “Where This Flower Blooms,” the show took a pivot toward the stage jumps, animated motions and general dramatics Tyler has become known for.

After the show, Tyler took to Twitter to reflect on how deeply connected he’d felt to the audience, further stating he’d never had a show so powerful before.


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