Monday, March 2, 2015

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, 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.”

David Hiltbrand @ 7:51 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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, 5:22 PM

Kongos, who played on the Liberty Stage, is a group made up of four brothers from Phoenix by way of their native South Africa. They are four sons of John Kongos, the South African rocker who hit the U.S. charts a couple of times in the 1970s (think: "He's Gonna Step on You Again"). The family connection may partly explain their sound, which is tighter than shrink wrap. They play an infectious brand of whatever passes for swamp boogie in Johannesburg.

Of course they add  their own alien elements. On “Kids These Days,” Johnny Kongos delivered what must have been the festival’s first accordion solo. And it was pretty avant garde.

Kongos’  full-tilt approach recalled Philly rockers Marah. “I’m Only Joking” rolled on a thundering Adam and the Ants beat.

Drummer Jesse Kongos the Kongos performs on the Liberty Stage during Made In America 2014 at the Philadelphia Art Museum along the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sunday, August 31, 2014. ( YONG KIM / Staff Photographer )
David Hiltbrand @ 5:22 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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)
David Hiltbrand @ 5:08 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Sunday, August 31, 2014, 5:02 PM

The rain started to fall as Danny Brown's time slot came up on the Liberty Sunday afternoon. (Reader, my iPhone screen is getting wet as I type this.)

The other notable thing about the start of the Detroit rapper's set: Brown wasn't anywhere to be seen.

Instead, a DJ who seemed to have migrated from the EDM Freedom Stage entertained the perfectly happy, bouncing-around-in-the-drizzle crowd with a selection of skittering, kinetic beats. Perhaps Brown had gone AWOL with AWOLNation, the act scheduled to follow him on the Rocky stage?

Danny Brown performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday, August 31, 2014. This image is a double exposure. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )
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Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic
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