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Headlined by SZA, Camp Flog Gnaw acts illuminate November night on day 2

A crowd gathers in the Dodger Stadium parking lot for day two of the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival. Tyler, The Creator’s music festival drew to a close on Sunday with a headlining performance by SZA. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

By Joseph Jimenez and Talia Sajor

Nov. 13, 2023 5:31 p.m.

This post was updated Nov. 14 at 8:26 p.m.

As the sun swept across the Angeleno sky, Camp Flog Gnaw said “See You Again” to its festivalgoers.

The second day of Tyler, The Creator’s annual music festival drew to a close at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Apart from performances, patrons were able to partake in carnival games and feast on various food options.

Read on for the Daily Bruin’s coverage of day two of Camp Flog Gnaw 2023.

WILLOW belts into the microphone while gripping it with a tattooed arm. The "Wait A Minute!" singer brought out her brother Jaden Smith during her Camp Flog Gnaw set. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)
WILLOW belts into the microphone while gripping it with both hands. The “Wait A Minute!” singer brought out her brother, Jaden Smith, during her Camp Flog Gnaw set. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

WILLOW

WILLOW did not wait a single minute to bring an edge to this year’s festival.

Starting at 4:13 p.m., the “emo girl,” who sported sunglasses and a black crop top, ignited the Camp Stage through her powerful pop-punk vocals. As she methodically shredded on her guitar, WILLOW’s strong belt and raspy screams elicited cheers from the sea of festivalgoers.

Despite a change of sound and minimally decorated stage, WILLOW continuously brought a heat wave of excitement to concertgoers through her grunge-like performance. She kept the audience on their toes by teasing a surprise guest before eventually bringing on her brother, Jaden Smith, to sing their duet “Summertime In Paris.”

“We are all very human, and I think that that’s a blessing, (but) it’s also a little bit of a curse,” she said. “This next person I’m going to bring up is actually human, like all of us are. … So I’m just going to bring out this really amazing person, and let’s just all be fucking human together.”

After the pair concluded, WILLOW performed her indie-pop tune “Meet Me At Our Spot,” followed by “Wait A Minute!” Reasserting her genre shift, she concluded with a short guitar riff before taking a bow and giving her final gratitude to the crowd.

Although she left the audience alone, WILLOW was no longer a stranger to the Flog Gnaw grounds.

Syd grasps the microphone during her eighth Camp Flog Gnaw performance. The Internet bandmate's setlist was divided into three acts. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)
Syd grasps the microphone during her eighth Camp Flog Gnaw performance. The Internet bandmate’s setlist was divided into three acts. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

Syd

As an eight-time camp counselor, Syd soothed the warm LA night with her smooth vocals.

The former Odd Future member and singer-songwriter donned blue jeans and a flowy striped shirt for her three-act set. The first act, beginning at 5:30 p.m., included a background LED panel that illuminated her back in multicolored gradients. Bringing a neo-soul sound to the Camp Stage, Syd instructed the audience to raise their hands before beginning the romantic love song “Fast Car.”

“So take me there, I wanna ride,” she sang. “I got you runnin’ lights / Shiftin’ these gears of mine / In your fast car.”

[Related: Camp Flog Gnaw returns to Dodger Stadium after hiatus, offers vibrant first day]

The second act strayed away from the backlighting by stripping its panels away and becoming a spotlight of sorts. During this act, Syd’s outfit was revealed to the audience as she became the sole focus on stage and sang songs from her band, The Internet.

She moved on to her third and final act, in which the paneled box on stage was revealed to be a piano studio. Syd shared that this performance was the first time she had played piano in front of any crowd since high school. Closing out her set, she played songs that she produced but did not originally sing.

With another Flog Gnaw set under her belt, Syd’s future is anything but odd.

Illuminated by a beam of white light, Dominic Fike stands on the Camp Stage. Following his 6:45 p.m. entrance, Fike&squot;s set included the song "3 Nights." (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)
Illuminated by a beam of white light, Dominic Fike stands on the Camp Stage. Following his 6:45 p.m. entrance, Fike’s set included the song “3 Nights.” (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

Dominic Fike

Dominic Fike has made his return to the “Westcoast Collective.”

At 6:45 p.m., Fike entered the Camp Stage wearing a white tank with a Red Cross emblem and the words “only human” written in black ink. Opening with “How Much Is Weed?”, Fike performed next to an LED traffic sign that flashed various messages including “Words Mean Things” and “Faith Over Feelings.” He took the time in between songs to address the crowd, detailing his feelings before leading into the night’s performance.

“I got nervous, and it’s good to feel nervous. It’s good to feel that,” Fike said. “I realize every time I do, every time I feel very nervous … my life changes drastically in a positive way. So I appreciate you guys for typically being the catalyst for that.”

Fike introduced his artistic eclecticism, stating he does rap and pop and plays the acoustic guitar. This was then demonstrated through songs such as “Phone Numbers,” a collaboration with Kenny Beats, and a cover of Paul McCartney’s “The Kiss Of Venus.” Throughout his set, Fike also switched between shredding on his red guitar and using a voice effect pad. While the audience appeared to reciprocate Fike’s vivacity, he restarted “3 Nights” to encourage the crowd to increase their energy.

While he only spent one night at Dodger Stadium, Dominic Fike proved his “Superstar Sh*t.”

SZA swings from a wrecking ball above the Camp Stage. The day two headliner and "SOS" artist performed until the 11 p.m. curfew.(Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)
SZA swings from a wrecking ball above the Camp Stage. The day two headliner and “SOS” artist performed until the 11 p.m. curfew.(Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

SZA

SZA was in no need of an “SOS” at Camp Flog Gnaw.

Cued by the sound of waves crashing, the headlining artist rose onto the Camp Stage with a lighthouse set piece at 10:03 p.m. Following “PSA,” SZA performed “Seek & Destroy” as a wooden boarding dock emerged from the stage. Her set continued on a genre-bending sonic adventure with the head-banging “F2F,” dance-pop track “Kiss Me More” and rhythmic ballad “Drew Barrymore.” Drawing inspiration from the actress of the same name, “Drew Barrymore” depicts insecurities and mental health.

“Warm enough for you outside, baby?” she sang. “Is it warm enough for you inside me?”

[Related: Re:SET 2023: Steve Lacy and openers serenade the sunset on day 1 at Rose Bowl]

Alongside the opening set inspired by the “SOS” album cover, visuals such as flame accents and a wrecking ball that SZA hung from adorned the stage. Throughout the entire set, she demonstrated her vocal strength through steady belts and controlled riffs while also spotlighting her skills as a performer. Moves such as sensual body rolls, sharp arm movements and twerking were among the choreography performed by both SZA and her backup dancers that brought an electric energy to the crowd.

However, as she began to conclude the night with the nostalgic “Good Days,” her microphone was cut out because of the 11 p.m. curfew enforced by the city. But this did not stop her and the audience from reciting the lyrics to each other, a cappella style.

Nevertheless, Camp Flog Gnaw definitely did not lose, with SZA concluding this year’s festivities.

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Joseph Jimenez | Assistant Photo editor
Jimenez is currently a senior staffer for Photo. He was previously the 2023-2024 Photo editor, the 2022-2023 assistant Photo editor on the news beat and a Photo contributor during the 2021-2022 year. He is currently a fourth-year sociology student from Compton.
Jimenez is currently a senior staffer for Photo. He was previously the 2023-2024 Photo editor, the 2022-2023 assistant Photo editor on the news beat and a Photo contributor during the 2021-2022 year. He is currently a fourth-year sociology student from Compton.
Talia Sajor | Arts editor
Sajor was the 2023-2024 Arts editor. She previously served as the 2022-2023 Theater | film | television editor and a Photo, Opinion and PRIME contributor. She is also a fourth-year communication student from Oxnard, California.
Sajor was the 2023-2024 Arts editor. She previously served as the 2022-2023 Theater | film | television editor and a Photo, Opinion and PRIME contributor. She is also a fourth-year communication student from Oxnard, California.
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