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Made In America: The Portraits

Marian Hill | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN | brotherlylost.com

When he wasn’t in the photo pit grabbing killer shots of J. Cole, Migos, Tommy Genesis and more, The Key’s photographer Ben Wong spent this Made In America festival backstage, linking up with artists for on-the-fly portrait sessions.

Below, check out an assortment of his shots — including Japanese BreakfastKodie Shane, a very Robert Smith-esque Beach Slang, a look at Queen of Jeans taking shelter from Friday’s rain and Kaskade embracing it, and much more. To dive deeper into Ben’s work, check out his website, BrotherlyLost.com, and give his Instagram a follow.
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Kill, Jay-Z: HOVA reigns supreme at Made In America day two with Meek Mill, Japanese Breakfast, Kelela and more

Jay-Z and Meek Mill | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Two-plus decades into the game, hip-hop icon Jay-Z is still full of surprises. First there was the lowkey release earlier this summer of 4:44, a terrific back-to-basics collection that easily sits along his canonical records Reasonable DoubtThe Blueprint and The Black Album. Then there was yesterday’s closing set at the Made in America Festival.

After a wide ranging, 90-minute performance touching on everything from “Heart of the City” to “H.O.V.A. (Izzo)” to “Hard Knock Life,” Jay swiftly exited the Rocky Stage after dedicating “Numb / Encore” to the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. The lights around Logan Circle came up, the crowd looked around and, perplexed, shrugged to one another, figuring the show had just come to an abrupt conclusion. As the exodus began, stage lights flickered on over at the festival’s Liberty Stage a little ways down the Parkway. Continue reading →

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Made In America day one is a soggy spectacle with J. Cole, Solange, Marian Hill, Migos and more

J. Cole | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN | brotherlylost.com

Okay, yes — it was wet. It was muddy at parts. But though yesterday’s climate conditions during Made In America were less than ideal for a celebratory end-of-summer music festival, as Minneapolis rapper Lizzo pointed out during her early afternoon set, there was no room for us to grumble.

“We have a bit of a rain thing going on,” Lizzo said. “But this doesn’t compare to what’s going on in Houston. I’m from Houston originally, I have friends and family who lost everything.”

She encouraged the crowd to donate to relief efforts, and to do so at at the local level as directly as possible. Then she launched into a knockout performance of “Water Me,” a song she said she felt uncertain about playing in the wake of Harvey — “I’m done with water” — but one her Houston loved ones encouraged her to embrace, saying it uplifts them.

So, let’s not dramatize yesterday’s weather. It was soggy, it was a slog to get from point A to point B (but it usually is during MIA, honestly). But the show went on. Continue reading →

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Bleachers and Grimes (both playing MIA Festival 8/30 & 8/31) collaborate on new track, “Take Me Away”

Photo via teco apple
Photo via teco apple

Bleachers, the solo project of fun.’s Jack Antonoff, has been attracting attention with poppy hooks and ’80s-injected melodies on his 11-track debut LP, Strange Desire. One track in particular, “Take Me Away,” stands apart as a dreamy cyber-hop tune that definitely channels the influence of his collaborator, Grimes.

The Canadian producer/singer’s ethereal vocals offer a delicate contrast to Antonoff’s beats, stark screams, and dramatic build-up towards the end of the song. The song’s brevity keeps it tight, but you may find yourself hitting “repeat” at least twice. Bleachers is scheduled to play the Made In America Festival on August 30, while Grimes is slated to perform on August 31st. You can find information about MIA on our concert calendar here. You can listen to the track on Pitchfork here.

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The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Our Griffins, Made in America Festival, Kate Faust)

OG

Our Griffins‘ Michael Boyd LP is the focus of this week’s Unlocked series [link]

XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun highlights the best Fall arts events with her 30 Days of Philly Arts daily feature [link]

Watch Younger Me‘s warpy summer video for “Swimming Pool” [link]

This year’s 215 Festival is set for Oct. 17-20, with a preview night to be held at Port Richmond Books on Sep. 13 [link]

Christopher Paul Stelling stopped by for a Folkadelphia Session [link]

Get to know Ohio’s The Sidekicks, summer tourmates of Hop Along and masters of punk disguise [link]

Revisit this week’s Key Studio Session with musical chameleon Kate Faust [link]

Fitz and the Tantrums announce new Philly show at the Electric Factory on 11/1 [link]

New England’s Magic Man premiered a new song called “Every Day” off of their upcoming You Are Here EP [link]

Get a full recap of Labor Day Weekend’s Made in America Festival with videos, photos and reviews [link]

Listen to XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week, “The It-Switch” by Johnny Marr [link]

Get a free download of Luray‘s “The Wilder” off of the singer-songwriter’s debut LP [link]

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Watch Queens of the Stone Age rock Made In America

Photo credit: Colin Kerrigan via http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/music_nightlife/Made-in-America-2013-Queens-of-The-Stone-Age-put-on-rock-heavy-set.html
Photo credit: Colin Kerrigan via http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/music_nightlife/Made-in-America-2013-Queens-of-The-Stone-Age-put-on-rock-heavy-set.html
After an incredible afternoon and rap and electronic music, if you had a moment to breathe after Macklemore and Ryan Lewis finished their fiery set at Made In America on Sunday, it was time for the rock. While many concert goers were clearly at MIA for the hip-hop flavor, the rock showed its face when Queens of the Stone Age took over at 7:30 on the main stage for an explosive hour long set. Fronted by guitarist and singer Josh Homme, the Queens wasted no time at the party in drawing the rock and roll line in the sand and immediately slammed into “My God Is The Sun” from the band’s recent album, Like Clockwork, which immediately set the tone with an efficient, hard working set of songs, highlights of which included “Make It Wit Chu,” “No One Knows,” “Go With The Flow,” and the pulse-pounding “A Song for the Dead.”

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Watch Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at Made In America

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
The first question that was on a lot of Made In America concert goer’s minds about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ mind blowingly jubilant set was: “why aren’t they on the main stage (the Rocky Stage)?” Right before their set, it seemed as if the entire audience shifted to the right side of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, nearly tipping it over with sweaty bodies, crazily dancing and bouncing around to the band’s 45 minute set. “Philly, welcome to The Heist,” rapped Macklemore with their set opening “Ten Thousand Hours” and from the moment they stepped on stage, Macklemore – wearing a John Kruk Phillies jersey – along with DJ Ryan Lewis and the band had as much command over the crowd as they’ve had on the Billboard music charts this year. Macklemore and Lewis gave the audience what they came for – the hits. “Same Love,” “White Walls,” “Crew Cuts,” “Thrift Shop,” and their set closing “Can’t Hold Us.” Watch the set below. Go here for a complete recap of the festival.

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Watch Kendrick Lamar at Made In America

Photo by Kendrick Lamar
Photo by Kendrick Lamar
Rapper Kendrick Lamar performed an excellent and enthusiastic half-hour set on Sunday afternoon at Made In America. After a 15 minute set from his Top Dawg Entertainment pals Jay Rock, Black Hippy and Schoolboy Q, Lamar, came out wearing a white t-shirt and a black L.A. Dodgers cap. Backed by an absolutely top notch band, he opened with “Backseat Freestyle,” performed an exuberant version of “F— Problems,” “Money Trees,” “m.a.a.d.city,” and ended with a rousing rendition of “B- Don’t Kill My Vibe.” In the hot and humid mid-day, the crowd gave Lamar a welcome, fanatical reception and were treated one of the many highlights of the weekend. Watch Lamar’s set below. Go here for a complete Made In America recap.

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Watch Beyonce from Made In America

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Beyonce headlined this past Saturday night at Made In America and performed a 90-minute set. She brought the first day of the festival to a close with more than a handful of hits, five costume changes and lots of smoke, glitter and hot dance moves. Made In America may have been Jay Z’s festival, but Beyonce stole the show. Go here for a complete photo recap of the weekend.

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Watch Haim at Made In America

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
The sisters of Haim performed on the Made In America Liberty Stage, early in the day on Saturday. They told stories of growing up in Philly going to Wildwood, had shoes thrown at them, and played a set that showcased their charisma and classic rock flavored songs including, “The Wire,” and “Falling.” Watch the video below and check out the photo recaps of both days of Made In America here.