Saturday (August 30) music fans of all genres representing all races and creeds flocked to Philadelphia for the East Coast iteration of the 2014 Budweiser Made In America Festival.
The third year of the Jay Z-curated festival was its next line of natural progression, complete with four stages of acts. But regardless of the bells, whistles, and Budweiser branding pieces, the day was still all about the music.
The first act to catch my eye was Young & Sick, a Los Angeles band that’s essentially a jack of all trades in the music and art realms. Lead singer, Nick Van Hofwegen serenaded the crowd with soulful vocals and lush guitar strings.
Next was Dreamville’s own Bas, the first artist to represent Hip-Hop on the heavy bill. Performing tracks from his Last Winter project, the Queens native turned many new fans into “Fiends,” expeditiously.
At this point, it’s not even 3PM and the marquee acts were hours away from gracing the stage. There were, however, a handful of stellar performances from the likes of DJ Cassidy, who left his crowd in a stupor with a set of classic jams, and the crooning, yet always dapper Mayer Hawthorne danced and sang his way into the hearts of plenty.
By midday, old and young Hip-Hop fans saw the legendary Big Daddy Kane dance and wax poetics in a set of classic records, while properly garbed in a silk shirt strategically buttoned to please the ghosts of groupies past.
Catching subsequent sets from Chromeo and Baauer were necessary and entertaining placeholders until Dreamville founder J. Cole performed. Seeing the Roc Nation onstage is the equivalent to seeing a well-oiled machine at work. From the crisp sounds of Cole’s band to the spot-on notes from his backup singers to his emphatic rhyming ability, the Born Sinner creator put on a hell of a show.
The crowd was boiling in anticipation of Yeezus himself, but not before Steve Aoki brought an unfathomable amount of energy to Philly’s Ben Franklin Parkway. Fans jumped to the electronic sounds of his music, leaving just enough energy in the tank to survive Kanye West’s 90-minute set.
West went on at 10:30 PM with a Yeezus tour-esque performance. Covered by a jewel-encrusted mask, he ran through tracks from his polarizing 2013 LP, but would soon reveal his face while switching the pace with songs from earlier in his discography.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was represented by cuts like “Runaway” and “All of The Lights,” Graduation was heard through “Good Life” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” and Late Registration heads were treated to live renditions of “Touch The Sky” and “Diamonds.” West even took fans to the College Dropout era by playing “Jesus Walks” and “All Falls Down.”
Closing the show on a high note with “Blood On The Leaves,” during which West commanded fans to create a circle for a proper mosh pit, he left onlookers with a sonic and visual experience up his own standard.
After a proper meal and some sleep to boot, we’re on to day two. Stay tuned.
Photos: Getty Images/Anheuser-Busch, WENN