Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 6:52 PM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife
Matt Korvette of Pissed Jeans performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, August 30, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )

We're halfway through Made in America day one and things are officially getting crazy. 

Next up: Holy Ghost! and Pissed Jeans, two bands with very different definitions of raging.

Holy Ghost took the stage first at the Freedom, or EDM, Stage, which, I might add, is about as far from the media tent as possible. (Perhaps organizers think us media peeps are all too nerdy to get down to dance music... which I confess might be somewhat true [I do NOT have fly moves]).

POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 5:34 PM

Big Daddy Kane may be old school, but that doesn’t mean there’s rust on the pipes. The Brooklyn MC is still the smoothest fast rapper in the game. His evening set on the Rocky Stage had the feel of a soul revue.

Well, it was vintage soul -- except that the man with the mic was spinning out words quicker than an auctioneer. All of them perfectly metered.

At 45, the rapper they once called Dark Gable still cuts an imposing figure. And his classic jams, such as “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’ ” and “Raw” can still kick it.

Big Daddy Kane performs during the Budweiser Made in America Festival, on the Ben Franklin Parkway, in Philadelphia on August 30, 2014.
POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 5:05 PM

Mayer Hawthorne, the Michigan formerly-retro soul man born Andrew Mayer Cohen, played to a packed crowd of late afternoon partiers on the Liberty Stage. The no-longer-bespectacled singer/guitarist did an expert job of continuing his transition from skinny-tie ’60s revivalist to ’70s blue-eyed soul singer and smooth-groove practitioner.

Drawing heavily from his 2013 album Where Does This Door Go, Hawthorne and his  five-man band, The County, nodded to Steely Dan and Philly soul-pop heroes Hall & Oates (as well as the latter’s antecedents, The Temptations) when he dipped into his 2009 debut A Strange Arrangement.

He also showed his aplomb in working a festival crowd by taking off his white suit jacket to crank up the guitar riff on Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” He the hip-hop fans to push up close to the stage by referring to “my homie Kendrick Lamar.” Lamar was not on hand but did collaborate with Hawthorne on his most up-to-the-minute track, “Crime.”

Mayor Hawthorne performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, August 30, 2014. (PhotoL Stephanie Aaronson/Philly.com)
POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 5:04 PM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife
Mayor Hawthorne performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, August 30, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )

Of all the artists taking the stage today during MIA, I confessed I'm particularily psyched for Mayer Hawthorne, the feel-good, throwback-style pop project from Los Angeles artist Andrew Mayer Cohen.

The slick, mellow crooner took the stage clad in a white suit, with a four-piece back-up band contributing harmonies and sweet, old skool vibes.

Hawthorne's 2013 LP, Where Does This Door Go is a breezy, 80s-influenced collection of perfect summer road trip songs, that sound like the Steely Dan tribute I never knew I needed in my life (but so totally did). Live these same songs sounded wistful and lively, accentuated by Cohen's tender vocals and fun, choreographed danced moves.

POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 4:57 PM

Philly boys OCD took the Skate Park Stage in high spirits. With young MCs Moosh and Twist rapping simultaneously and in tandem, they blazed through a frenetic set that encompassed their own songs, such as  “All That I Know,” and covers of 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, and others. The pace was more ADHD than OCD, with one truncated song slamming into the next.

The Schuylkill crew was unusually hyper, with Twist even climbing the stage scaffolding at one point.

Home court advantage is important, even in concert.

Oliver Feighan, one of the two members of the Philadelphia Rap group OCD, leapt into the crowd in front of the Skate Stage and crowd surfed for a while during their set on Saturday afternoon at Made In America. ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 4:06 PM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife
The Neighbourhood performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, August 30, 2014. This photo has been digitally altered to be black and white. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )

Made in America 2014 is officially underway, and first on our must-see list is moody rockers The Neighbourhood, who--despite the British spelling of their name--hail from Newbury Park, CA.

The post-rock fivesome first came onto our radar with 2012's "Sweater Weather," a dark, enveloping track perfect for late nights and early fall. I confess seeing them at 3 in the afternoon felt bit strange at first; this is nocturnal music, the type that sounds best seeping out of a vintage speaker at 4 a.m. in the bowls of some club downtown somewhere. Yet if the brooding musicians had any aversion to daylight, they didn't show it, rocking through numbers with panache and style.

They took the stage clad in all black and white--their signature colors (even the video projections for their set were B&W)--and proceeded to sear their way through a 45-minute set, mostly drawn from their 2013 record, I Love You.

POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 3:40 PM

Destructo couldn't wait to rave.

He took the Freedom Stage before his scheduled 3 p.m. start to unleash a marathon club jam, complete with light show and smoke machines.

Destructo -- the stage name of seasoned Los Angeles DJ Gary Richards -- powered through a throbbing, unbroken dance set that wove in distorted samples of Drake, Jason Derulo, and other artists.

POSTED: Saturday, August 30, 2014, 3:12 PM

How does a band win over a Made In America festival, and inspire a patriotic chant while they’re at it?

“This song’s called ‘Chocolate Strawberries,’ said Jordan Kelley, singer of Nashville electro-pop duo Cherub, the first band up on the festival's Rocky Stage. “It’s about doing that, and watching pornos. That’s a pretty American thing to do, right?”

Then he took a look out at the red-white-and-blue-dressed crowd and noted, “It looks like the Fourth of July out there.” Voilà: The first “U-S-A!” chant of the day was under way.

Jason Huber of the band, Cherub, is the first band to perform on the Rocky Stage Saturday afternoon at Made in America on Saturday, August 30 2014. (MICAHEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
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