Camp Flog Gnaw returns to Dodger Stadium after hiatus, offers vibrant first day
A bright orange screen displays the words “Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival” onstage. Organized by Tyler, The Creator, the annual two-day music festival returned to the Dodger Stadium on Saturday following a three year hiatus. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)
This post was updated Nov. 12 at 8:00p.m.
Camp Flog Gnaw is anything but lost.
For the first time since 2019, Tyler, The Creator’s annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival has returned to its home at Dodger Stadium. With a lineup including first time and returning artists alike, the music festival began in full bloom.
Read on for the Daily Bruin’s coverage of day one of Camp Flog Gnaw 2023.
Festivalgoers were stuck like glue watching beabadoobee.
The Filipina-British singer-songwriter ignited the festival as the Camp Stage’s first performer at promptly 3:35 p.m. Dressed in a green and white baby tee, beabadoobee began her set with “Talk.” After transitioning into the romantic, upbeat track, “Apple Cider,” she gave a quick introduction to the Flog Gnaw audience. Continuing her set list, she performed songs across her entire discography from a rock rendition of “Back To Mars” to “She Plays Bass,” a song dedicated to her bassist Eliana Sewell.
“This one’s for the girls,” she said, introducing the 2019 single.
In the middle of “She Plays Bass,” she took a pause to introduce the rest of her band, composed of drummer Luca Carusco and guitarist Jacob Bugden. She gave a similar shoutout prior to “Glue Song,” an acoustic guitar-driven ballad.
“This next one’s a love song,” she said. “I’m going to dedicate it to my cats.”
Throughout the set, the screen behind her flashed her name, alongside multicolored hand drawn doodles based on her recent 2022 album, “Beatopia.” Multiple fans also verbally expressed their admiration for the singer by shouting out their love, which she responded to with bashful smiles.
As she blew a kiss and waved goodbye to the crowd, it became clear that beabadoobee and Camp Flog Gnaw were the perfect pair.
Kali Uchis brought a celestial flair to the festival soil.
At 6:20 p.m., the Camp Stage prepared for Uchis’ entrance as a red moon rose onto the white sheet hanging from above – a reference to her latest album “Red Moon In Venus.” The Colombian-American singer then graced the ethereal set in a flowy, silver, feather-trimmed dress, beginning her set with the reggaeton-pop song, “Muñekita.”
As the desert-like scene turned to a soft pink sky of clouds, she tenderly began Tyler, The Creator’s “See You Again,” on which she is featured. She also went on to sing “After The Storm,” another song of hers in collaboration with the Flog Gnaw founder. While Tyler, The Creator did not step onto stage, Omar Apollo made a brief appearance for his vocals on Uchis’ “Worth the Wait.”
Uchis demonstrated her breathy vocal prowess, while honoring her Latin heritage with “telepatía” and a cover of Grupo Mojado’s “Piensa En Mí.” Yet her richer chest voice was spotlighted through her most recently released single, “Te Mata,” a part of her upcoming Spanish album “Orquídeas.”
“Por fin estoy feliz, mis días ya no son gris (I’m finally happy, my days are no longer gray),” she sang out. “Por fin me di cuenta que me merezco mucho más / Y eso te mata (I finally realized I deserve so much more / And that kills you).”
In addition to the screen that flashed images of moons, florals and sequined patterns, Uchis was supported by backup dancers dressed in all-white ensembles. The set was also adorned with Monstera plants and a singular couch where she spent most of her performance.
As her last note rang out, Uchis was more than deserving of a garden of roses.
Tyler, The Creator
The Flower Boy returned to camp for his Flog Gnaw roots.
The festival’s creator started his performance by emerging under a crane on top of a crushed car at 7:59 p.m. The American rapper and producer wasted no time in electrifying the crowd as he opened with “LEMONHEAD” while bouncing atop the car. Once he finished the song, he transitioned into a monologue thanking the audience for being at Camp Flog Gnaw after a three year hiatus.
“To think that this thing is not a tangible item, it’s not something you can just like (on social media),” he began. “Three, four years later and y’all … still care to come … It truly means so f—— much to me and the team.”
After some audience banter, the Camp Stage was rocked again by renditions of his 2021 tracks such as “WUSYANAME,” “LUMBERJACK” and “911 / Mr. Lonely” before moving onto older tunes.
While sporting a white GOLF le FLEUR* shirt and a red hat, he continued fueling the buzzing atmosphere with the slower instrumentals of “She” before rapping energetic versions of songs off his albums “Goblin,” “Wolf,” “Flower Boy” and “IGOR.” He ended his set drenched in sweat and by setting the stage on fire with a flamethrower before promptly singing “SORRY NOT SORRY.”
With his final bow to the crowd, Tyler, The Creator and his lively performance proved that he set up camp and never left.
Headliners Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem set the main stage ablaze with their first ever performance together as The Hillbillies.
The duo started their 9:50 p.m. set with a black-and-white live introduction before jumping straight into a performance of “family ties.” The cousins originally shared the stage by splitting the main screens and taking turns rapping but eventually split stage time. Throughout their set list, the stage background would occasionally be swapped out from time to time during its blackout intermission.
The American rappers would go on to showcase their breath control and stamina by maintaining an invigorating performance from beginning to end. Lamar spent his time controlling the festival atmosphere with his vast discography by rapping songs such as “HUMBLE.,” “DNA.” and “Money Trees.” Before Baby Keem kept energy high with “16” and “HONEST,” Lamar praised the Flower Boy for his festival.
“This s— is special, man,” Lamar began. “I’m proud of … Tyler, man. We’ve been trying to put this s— together for a long time to get on this stage. It feels good to be home, you know?”
The two ended their performance by inviting Tyler, The Creator onstage, where he spent the entirety of the last song dancing around while also embracing the two artists.
As the first night campfires withered down, The Hillbillies ignited Camp Flog Gnaw’s illustrious return.