August 31, 2017
There are a number of can’t-miss acts at MIA, a/k/a Made in America, which is slated for Saturday and Sunday at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Yes, there is the obvious. Superstar curator Jay Z will headline Sunday night and his sister-in-law, Solange, will perform Saturday. J. Cole will close out the event after Beyonce’s sibling sings. Those recording artists will attract massive crowds at the sixth annual Budweiser Made in America festival.
However, there are a few duos you won’t want to miss. Run the Jewels, the one-time, one off project, which has become a hip-hop super duo, has become an incendiary live act. There is no group in the world of music which combines creativity, humor and meaningful tunes like Run the Jewels, who will perform Sunday.
Hilarious Killer Mike, who was a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders during Sanders' Presidential run, and intense El-P, killed it at South By Southwest in 2016 and at the Electric Factory in January. Unlike most other hip-hop acts, there is a palpable intensity during Run the Jewels’ shows.
“We believe in having fun when we perform,” Killer Mike said. “We’re not just going to stand around.”
The same can be said for the band’s fans. At SXSW, fans kicked it old school with a mosh pit. A few crowd surfed during the anthemic hit “Close Your Eyes.”
“What we believe is that people who come out to see us should have a good time,” Killer Mike said.
“Music is about that and it’s also about freedom of expression. We’re about getting a message across. I’m all about my freedom. People look at me like I’m a liberal, but I’m more of a libertarian. I want my constitutional rights. I want to express myself.”
Run the Jewels is doing just that with their latest album “Run the Jewels 3,” the tandem’s third album in four years.
“We’re here to create,” Killer Mike said. “We don’t see the point in putting an album out every five years.”
Another popular tandem, which will receive considerable attention at Made in America is the Chainsmokers, which is comprised of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart. The charismatic EDM-pop duo were under the microscope at South By Southwest in March, jamming venues.
The single, “Roses” reached the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Don’t Let Me Down" became their first top 5 single and won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. “Closer” became their first No. 1 single on the chart. Not bad for an act that formed in 2012. Expect a big crowd when the Chainsmokers perform. The pair sold out the Liacouras Center during the spring.
Philadelphia has burgeoned as an indie rock scene. It’s not quite on the level of Brooklyn but it’s impressive. Most music festivals have its share of Philly acts and MIA is no different. Beach Slang, PNB Rock and Japanese Breakfast are each worth catching Sunday.
Beach Slang is on a headlining tour and Japanese Breakfast has scored airplay on XM. Made In America is slated for Saturday and Sunday at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A two-day wristband is $162. For more information, click here.