Concert Review/Photos: Made in America — Day 1
Beyonce, Hop Along, Waxahatchee, Meek Mill, Strand of Oaks and more.
Made in America version 2015 swept through the Ben Franklin Parkway last weekend. The sold-out two-day event featured over 60 acts on five stages. Day one was all about two things: Philadelphia music and the build-up to Beyoncé. Many local acts took the stage, with a heavy emphasis on guitars. As for Queen Bey, people jammed themselves in front of the Rocky Stage when the doors opened at noon until Beyonce went on 10-and-a-half hours later. With them came the odor of cannabis, American flag clothing and paraphernalia, lots of Budweiser and many youngsters who did not understand the concept of hydration (leading to many emergency medic visits) was great music everywhere. A handful of my Saturday highlights were:
- The Skate Stage and its rock-heavy line-up. Starting with the glorious guitar theatrics of Detroit-based Mayaeni as the fest’s first act and then continuing into the night with Philly-related acts made the Skate Stage one of my favorites on Saturday. It was a wonder to behold the likes of Creepoid, Superheaven, Hop Along, Waxahatchee and Strand of Oaks playing consecutive sets on their home turf. (And I unfortunately missed the stage’s last act, another Philly-connected band Ground Up.)
- The dust clouds of freedom. Dust and dirt was flying through the warm air throughout the festival and the Freedom Stage played host to it quite well. Dancing abound for the EDM-centric acts there, it was quite a pleasure to see acts like Giraffage and Ryan Hemsworth throw down their beats.
- Rap and hip-hop reigned supreme. Meek Mill made his triumphant Philly return and got a little guest help from Nicki Minaj. Earl Sweatshirt was stunning on the Liberty Stage and De La Soul brought their older school hip-hop to brilliant life.
- Pacific Northwest rock was front-and-center. Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse put on mini-indie-rock clinics to get everyone ready for the final two acts of the night. (And let me not forget two more rock nuggets I saw: the multi-genre Sarah Jaffe was thrilling and Bass Drum of Death provided a little afternoon indie caffeination.)
- And finally Beyonce. After the crowd was moving to the force of musical nature that is Bassnectar, Beyonce finally took the stage. With Jay-Z surely looking on from one of his many musical hideaways at his festival, she danced and sang her way into everyone’s eyes and ears to bring day one to a brilliant close.