If Jay Z - who was spotted riding around backstage on a golf cart in the VIP area at the festival Saturday afternoon - is really as hands on in choosing the acts at Made in America as his "curated by" credit suggests, then the rapper impresario clearly favors slickly commercial, heroic sounding pop bands when he ventures out of his hip-hop comfort zone.
Put both Las Vegas foursome Imagine Dragons and Australian duo Empire of the Sun, the two bands that preceded the big Phoenix-deadmau5-Beyonce finale on Saturday night, in that category.
Imagine Dragons are a polished outfit fronted by singer Dan Reynolds whose set was full of mild,mif more than moderately catchy propulsive pop tunes, capped bytheir big hit "Radioactive" and highlighted by a tender, surprisingly quiet cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me." Pleasant enough, but far from memorable.
Empire of the Sun, whose singer Luke Steele gusted on Jay Z's Blueprint 3 album back in 2009, is a wholly more outrageous things. Like Imagne Dragons, the band's song draw on elements of New Wave, but but they combine it with over the top glam rock showmanship four-on-the-floor dance floor rhythm. Steele played guitar wearing w gold head dress that mae him look like some kind of interstellar conquistador and and the band's stage show included four helmeted female dancers in curvy blue robot suits that would have ben enough to put lust in Daft Punk's steely hearts. Let's hear it for playing dress up.