This weekend, the annual Made in America festival takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. With a lineup boasting headliners like Jay-Z, J Cole, and The Chainsmokers as well as an undercard with notable local names, this year’s lineup has a little bit of everything. We got a couple of staff members to put together some of their don’t miss acts this weekend.
- Tigers Jaw
Scranton indie-rockers Tigers Jaw, hot off the heels of their fifth full-length album spin, will be a must see act at Made in America 2017 (6:15 PM Sunday, Skate Stage). spin saw the band change their formula a bit, re-framing the honest, emotional indie/emo revival (see: The Promise Ring) for which they became well known into slightly broader indie rock that can still be played to a mosh pit. Losing three members before a new album would end most bands, but Tigers Jaw seems rejuvenated and more excited than ever to play live. Look for them to cater to new fans with the popular summer singles “Guardian” and “June” (the first Tigers Jaw song fronted solely by keyboardist Brianna Collins) and old fans alike with surprising deep cuts from ten-year old Bandcamp EPs. Tigers Jaw tore Union Transfer in half this past June, and they’ll be sure to do the same at MiA over Labor Day weekend.
- Beach Slang
We’re in a golden age of Philly punk, and few bands represent the scene better than Beach Slang (5:15 PM Sunday, Skate Stage). The supergroup consisting of former members of related bands such as Weston and Glocca Morra will undoubtedly be one of the best hometown acts at Made in America. Fans of The Menzingers will enjoy the loud, grand power chords and Springsteen-y lyrics, and fans of The Gaslight Anthem will enjoy the subtle Americana tinge to frontman James Alex’s raspy voice. Overall, though, fans of loud, straightforward rock and punk – no matter if they know Beach Slang or not – will find it difficult not to jump around and dance during the show, making them a must-see for sure.
Flor’s (2:00 PM Saturday, Skate Stage) hazy, indie-pop sound is something that immediately stands out from bands in the same genre. Their debut album, come out. you’re hiding encompasses a dreamlike, graceful sound that fits lead singer Zach Grace’s voice perfectly. Imagine a slightly more upbeat and fast-paced The Japanese House, mix in the flowing elegance of Grace’s voice, and you have Flor. After supporting Colony House on tour last spring, they are opening for Atlas Genius on their tour this fall, bringing them more and more fans along the way. Their unique sound is something special, especially in a rap/electronic dominated lineup so if you need a mix up in genre, definitely check out Flor.
- Marian Hill
The Philadelphia based duo Marian Hill (3:00 PM Saturday, Rocky Stage) is made up of vocalist Samantha Gongol and production artist Jeremy Lloyd. If you’re looking for a band that can bring some heavy bass, intense dance rhythms, improvisational jazz, and beautiful vocals then look no further than Marian Hill. After exploding into the scene with their hit single, “Down,” the musical geniuses are finally getting the recognition they deserve. The beats that Lloyd lays down are hauntingly engrossing and draw you in, and Gongol’s vocals are quite frankly as alluring as they get. If you’re looking for an intense dance break or really want to hear some improvisational jazz over sick beats, do not miss their set.
- (Sandy) Alex G
Fun fact: In case you didn’t know, Alex G (5:15 PM Saturday, Skate Stage) headlined WXVU’s Philly Underground festival on campus last year. Yep, the Havertown native was rocking away in his strangely wonderful lo-fi fashion right there at our very own Villanova Room. Since that amazingly spicy show, Alex G has added the (Sandy) precursor to his name and released the expansive, genre-hopping record, Rocket. Sliding on a sonic scale from country to industrial rock and hip-hop, this new record can seem like a lot. But there’s an inherent Alex G-ness present that makes the strangeness completely seamless. Experience this genre whiplash perfection for yourself when he takes the Skate Stage this Saturday.
- Japanese Breakfast
Michelle Zauner, a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast (4:15 PM Sunday, Skate Stage), has gone from kickass punk leader of Little Big League, to (still kickass) indie-electro-pop star. Armed with an impeccable knack for transforming grief into upbeat ballads, Japanese Breakfast’s recently released album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, blends lush, grandiose soundscapes, heartfelt lyricism, and electric beats for a sophisticated and smart pop record you just gotta dance around somberly to.