When Jay-Z puts on a festival, he does it right. Budweiser’s inaugural Made in America fest in Los Angeles ran smoothly, and despite the heat, it gave this city a music-filled way to celebrate Labor Day weekend. Boasting an eclectic lineup of hip-hop, rock, and EDM artists, the two-day-long festival had something to get everybody excited. Whether you wanted to see Rise Against, Iggy Azalea, or Yeezus himself, you could watch great music and drink Budweiser all day long.
I arrived Saturday thinking I had mentally prepared for the immensity of the event; however, seeing the line of people stretch across block after block, I realized I had not fully grasped the significance of the festival.
Both Saturday and Sunday offered a plethora of talented artists to the point that seeing them all seemed like (and proved to be) an impossible feat. The festival utilized three standard stages and one DJ stage that was set up behind the skate ramp. Yes, a fully accessible skate ramp sat directly in the middle of Grand Park, and people used it! So with a combination of three big stages, about 40 artists, and copious amounts of beer, the mayhem began.
One of the coolest aspects of the Made in America festival? It happened coast to coast. As Los Angeles enjoyed the festivities, Philadelphia did as well. During set changes, a live feed played on the giant screens beside the stages. Sometimes they showed the act performing on the stage next door, but when both stages experienced a set change, the screens featured a live feed of the performances in Philly! While waiting for Capital Cities in LA, the audience had the privilege of watching City and Color play on the East Coast. A world connected through music, the Made in America festival brought the country together.
So many artist gave their alls this past weekend that picking just a few to review proved to be quite the challenge. I have decided to cover the acts that stood out the most in both presentation and showmanship.
On Saturday, Capital Cities took the gold. In all honesty, they blew me away. They really did have extraordinary stage presence. They even boldly covered a song by Weezer, who performed on that same stage the following day, and they did so with such poise. Their trumpet player Spencer Ludwig stole the show. I have never seen a brass section like his. He jumped into the crowd, used every last ounce of air in his lungs, and never stopped moving. Of course, the group played their radio hit “Safe and Sound,” but their whole set stood out. They delivered each measure of each song so deliberately. Capital Cities should without a doubt be on your must-see live list.
Iggy Azalea also graced the Main Stage on Saturday, and despite her style being a bit out of my taste, she put on a pretty exciting show. Her backup dancers did not stop moving the entire time, while Iggy got fancy with her booty shaking just as I had anticipated. She knows how to move, and she certainly knows what people want to see. I’m not her biggest fan, but I have to at least give her props.
Weezer delivered a perfect set list that spanned their impressive discography, and the iconic show was everything you could have asked for from a Weezer performance. They played a few new singles as well as some of their most beloved throwbacks. Rivers Cuomo can deliver a mean guitar solo, and his tone…don’t even get me started. Heavenly. They played “Undone – Sweater Song,” “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” and closed with “Buddy Holly.” After their final song ended, each member of the band grabbed a pair of drum sticks, and the four of them created a ridiculously rowdy beat to end their set.
On the EDM side of things, Borgore’s set was astonishingly good, and he held the crowd’s attention throughout the entirety of his performance. He energy was solid the whole time, and his drops were insane. I find it difficult to intelligently explain the nastiness of his drops because that sounds absolutely ridiculous, but trust me: filthy, they were. He played some of his newer mixes from #NewGoreOrder, as well as his Miley Cyrus collaborative single “Decision,” a track about bitches loving cake. To make his set that better, he ended the already wild show with a mosh pit. I am not sure I have ever been so happy to see a mosh pit in my whole life.
Other highlights of the weekend included watching skaters of all ages and backgrounds skate their little hearts out to the soundtrack of live DJs all weekend on the skate ramp, seeing people go crazy during Rise Against’s Sunday evening set, and a man in the crowding holding up a giant Minion on a stick.
The entire weekend combined genres, broke norms, and spread music to both old and new fans. Budweiser’s Made in America festival certainly proved to be a success, with over 30,000 people attending and a plethora of artists sharing their passion. The sea of people enjoyed so much music and beer over the course of those two days that it almost seems like a distant dream.
And yes, Kanye West headlined the festival, but I will not attempt to describe that performance. You just had to be there.
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