Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 11:12 PM

The final two acts on the Parkway on Sunday night were Dutch superstar DJ Tiësto and Southern arena rockers Kings Of Leon.

The former let loose with a hyper-adrenalized set that kicked off, naturally, with his triumphant techno race up “Rocky” and remixes of John Legend and Icona Pop songs, accompanied by a flashy light show.

The Kings of Leon took the stage at 10:45 — 75 minutes after their scheduled arrival — starting off their festival closing performance with singer Caleb Followill belting out “Supersoaker” from last year’s Mechanical Bull in his buzz-saw voice.

POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 10:43 PM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife
Britt Daniel of Spoon performs at Made In America 2014 at the Philadelphia Art Museum along the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sunday, August 31, 2014. ( YONG KIM / Staff Photographer )

We've already shared our love for Spoon's 2014 record, They Want My Soul, the quirky, percussive rock journey that already feels like a new classic and has been on repeat on my iPod since its release earlier this month. This evening, the Austin, TX rockers brought "Soul" to life, with a spirited evening set on the Rocky Stage, that had concert-goers pumped, despite an hour-plus rain delay.

Since forming in 1993, the band has released 8 LPs and established itself as a stalwart on the indie scene. But tunes like new single and set opener "Rent I Pay" have clear cross-over appeal, as was evident from the large crowd nodding and dancing along.

Front man Britt Daniel took the stage in an all-white outfit, spitting lyrics and strumming his guitar like a seasoned pro (which of course he is), while the rest of the band contributed solid grooves.

POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 9:49 PM

On the delayed Made In America schedule, Pharrell Williams (and his famously funny hat) hit the stage at 9 o’clock, after the soaking rain throughout mashup expert Girl Talk’s set had let up.

Pharrell opened with “Lose Yourself To Dance,” one of his vocal contributions to Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories. That  set the tone for a set that got the still-frisky crowd’s groove on with a succession of taut, rubbery, pop-funk tunes, including his current hit “Come and Get It Bae” and catalog cut “Flirtin’.”

Williams’ name may have become a household word only in the past year, thanks to his successes with Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, and the ubiquitous “Happy,” but his hitmaking career spans two decades, and he pulled from his entire oeuvre in a well-paced show that drew from his rock band NERD as well as an array of hits he’s sung on and produced with his partner Chad Hugo in the Neptunes.

Pharrell Williams performs at Made in America Festival in Philadelphia on August 31, 2014. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )
POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 8:57 PM

After the rains let up, Texas indie foursome Spoon took up where it had left off. Its set had opened around 6 p.m. with “Rent I Pay” from their superb new album They Want My Soul. But Spoon didn’t get through a second tune before the rains came down and Day 2 of Made in America went into indefinite suspension mode.

An hour and a half later, the Britt Daniel-led, masterfully minimalist indie rock band was back, reaching back to reopen with “Small Stakes” from 2002’s [ITALIC]Kill The Moonlight[/ITALIC]. They bought with them news: The festival curfew had been pushed back an hour til midnight, making room for all the scheduled bands to perform slightly truncated sets.

They also brought more rain, in this case apparently free of the threat of lightning, but more than enough to transform the festival into a soaking event testing the mettle of even the hardiest partiers. The band seemed to appreciate deeply the dedication of fans gathered before them, and may or may not have added “The Way I Get By” to the set list to give Daniel the opportunity to sing the line “we go out in stormy weather.”

Spoon performs at Made In America 2014 at the Philadelphia Art Museum along the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sunday, August 31, 2014. ( YONG KIM / Staff Photographer )
POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 7:51 PM

After an elaborate sound check, and even though stage time was at a premium, Man Overboard came on more than 10 minutes late for its scheduled 5:15 p.m. start at the Skate Park Stage.

Ah, well — punks’ prerogative.

The band from South Jersey then scratched and scampered through a playlist that included “White Lies” and “S.A.D.”

POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 7:35 PM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife
Claire Elise Boucher, better known by her stage name Grimes, performs at Made in America Festival in Philadelphia on August 31, 2014. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )

Following Danny Brown's outrageously fun set at the Liberty Stage is another artist known for her "outrageous" creations: Canadian artist Grimes, who blanketed the late afternoon with trippy, surrealist tunes, drawn mostly from her 2012 record Visions.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012, the blue-haired ingenue, born Claire Boucher, has amassed a surprisingly wide fan base, from the indie tastemakers at Pitchfork to the style elite. It's not surprising, given her cohesive and wildly unique creative vision, which manages to touch on so many familiar tropes (think: pop, new wave, trip-hop) while still sounding immediately identifiable as emerging from her restless mind.

Since 2013, Boucher's been a member of fest curator Jay Z's management co. Roc Nation; this perhaps explains her inclusion on an otherwise rap- and rock- (and male-) dominated lineup.

POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 6:41 PM

The Made In America crowd seemed evenly split among genders.

Up on stage, though, it was a bro fest.

How much of a bro fest? So much so that Claire Boucher, the Canadian indie electro mixmaster who performs as Grimes, was the only female-fronted act to perform on either of the main stages all weekend long at the Philadelphia half of the festival.

Grimes performs during Day 2 of the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia on August 31, 2014. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Inquirer Staff Photographer )
POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 5:08 PM

Compton rapper YG received the nastiest intro of the weekend, as he was hailed by his hype man, Slim 400, with a declamation that freely mixed the "n" and "f" words.

That semantic linking continued and increased during YG's chaotic, abbreviated performance.

On songs like "I Just Wanna Party" and "Don't Tell 'Em," his West Coast style was notably belligerent, both in content and delivery.

Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, aka YG, performs at Made in America Festival in Philadelphia on August 31, 2014. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
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