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Made In America Sunday Recap: Spoon, Vacationer, Girl Talk, Pharrell, Grimes, Tiesto and More.

September 5, 2014

pherrell_9Text by Darragh Dandurand. Images by Teresa McCullough.

With a foreboding sky up above, musicians and fans alike were hopeful, yet cautious of the impending storm. By 6 p.m., acts were cut short and the sweaty masses were kicked out the Made In America festival area for a weather postponement. The downpour soaked into the souls of every last fan, who begrudgingly trudged back to the grounds once it reopened about an hour and a half later. By this time, only six bands were left and a festival-inspired surge of new-found energy mixed with smuggled-in drugs returned to the audiences.

Spoon put on an amazing comeback set as the first group to play after the gates where reopened. With a reasonable downpour challenging the fate of the festival yet again, they played into the hazy evening while little droplets graced their instruments and the sides of their faces. Everyone’s clothing stuck closely to their bodies as couples danced in the rain and splashed in puddles on the parkway reflecting the neon lights all around. Rhythms rattled to the beat of the rain on the glossy ground while musicians were framed by the electric light against the storm. Devoted crowds continued to rage on, drinking as much Bud as they could, scared the unending stock might actually run out.

By the time Girl Talk finished spinning, his table surrounded by college kids who he had invited on stage to dance, Pharrell‘s upbeat, funky set was a welcome change. Opening with a dramatic light show and a gaggle of sexy, synchronized dancers, Pharrell stepped out looking like a hiphop version of Smokey the Bear singing “Lose Yourself to Dance.” He seemed to lack energy as the conventionally attractive women wriggled around him. He held the mic as if he were praying, pressed evenly between his palms while he rained accolades on our soggy city. Before a cover of Gwen Stefani “Bananas,” he called to action the women of the crowd, asking for more female leaders, doctors and musicians in the world. This was then quickly followed up with “Blurred Lines,” of course.

Tiesto created an army stomping and reeling since he was the second to last act of the festival. Thousands were drawn like a moth to a flame, headbanging to the dubstep beats and absorbing his radiating discord. Red flares shot out of the stage during “Red Lights” and hands cut up through the smoke to clear away the fog. Lit by pulsing strobes, the masses jumped like their lives depended on it, though some did not last through the set as they dropped like flies to the ground. The collective frenzy caught on like wildfire and for many it seemed almost holy.

Not much is to be said about Kings of Leon‘s performance except that they closed out the show. Kids stuck around for the sake of staying, most sat quietly on the ground and shut their eyes tight to the rock and roll all around them. Many did not know the words to the songs being played and several people screamed for “Sex on Fire” which, unsurprisingly, was the last song of the night.

Made In America ended up being was some kind of twisted Garden of Eden, tucked away and fenced in, a paradise for pop-culture addicts. Girls were crying on the curb, mascara streaming down their faces and around the plastic rhinestones they glued to their cheeks. Boy sat in quiet misery, sick and tired of trying not to upchuck whatever it was that they drank two hours prior. Shirtless and burned out from a weekend-long party they paid too much for, Made In America will become an epic story they’ll tweet about for a good week or so afterwards.

That is if they don’t forget about it.

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