A stroll around the Made in America grounds on Sunday afternoon was a move through disparate musical genres.
Jersey was represented on the streets of Philadelphia with the Gaslight Anthem, the New Brunswick Springsteen-influenced rockers whose lead singer Brian Fallon delivered winningly earnest, straight-ahead rock on the Rocky Stage that was effective but somewhat out of place on a festival lineup dominated by hip-hop, electronic and slicker rock acts. (Though tell that to Diarrhea Planet, the unkempt Nashville sextet slated to go on at 4 on the Skatepark stage.)
Meanwhile, over on the dance-music Freedom stage, Robert DeLong was up to something newer. The Los Angeles based DJ-programmer-drummer is a one-man band who specializes in building up loops of sound and then adding live percussion to them in real time. A fairly common trick these days, but DeLong distinguishes himself with a flair for melody and a high-energy attack. He doesn't just bang on the single drum set up next to his electronic hookup, he also sits down on a full kit and wails away.
He sings, too, most effectively on "Global Concepts," in which he asked an overheated crowd -- cooling itself with promotional hand fans advertising either Budweiser or the new Arcade Fire album -- a series of existential questions that provdied keys to his mission in life: "Did I make money, was I proud? Did I play my songs too loud? Did I leave my life to chance? Or did I make you f---- dance?" The latter, he did. (He didn't do quite as well though, when he moved on from his own material to a thin cover of the Rolling Stones' "Miss You.")