The mothership has landed in Los Angeles in the form of the Budweiser Made in America festival – and we didn't have to travel to the desert for it.
Budweiser, rapper-mogul Jay Z and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti came together a few months back to bring Made in America to the city, where the event took over downtown's Grand Park on Saturday and Sunday this past Labor Day weekend.
The fun-filled music event drew an estimated 37,000 concertgoers who were largely peaceful and well-behaved at what should become an annual event. The city of Los Angeles did a fabulous job of running things and keeping the weekend fun and light.
Dr. Dog on the Dylan Stage
Dr. Dog has nothing to do with Snoop Dog but instead is an upbeat indie folk band with good sound and vocals.
A Tribe Called Red on the James Dean Stage
A Tribe Called Red made a beautiful combination of traditional American Indian drumming and chanting with electronic sounds.
Capital Cities on the Marilyn Stage
The sun bothered no one at this dance party, where the bearded Capital Cities' cup overflowed with dance beats and rhythms.
Sublime With Rome on the Dylan Stage
The opportunity to hear Sublime With Rome must not be passed up. Respect is due to the remaining band members and new singer Rome Ramirez for continuing to share the music of Sublime. Late singer Bradley Nowell's unique voice is not easy to replace, and the band deserves a whole lot of credit for bringing back the music of Sublime.
Sublime bassist Eric Wilson stepped forward to thank the mayor: “We should all give thanks to Eric Garcetti for having the nuts for putting this event on. He took a lot of shit for this."
Iggy Azalea with DJ Whiz on the Marilyn Stage
During Iggy Azeala and DJ Whiz's set, the sound was a bit off. Azalea has mass stage presence. She was nice on the eyeballs as she worked and twerked that money maker along with her dancers. A very sexy performer, for sure. Rita Ora joined Azalea on stage for some extra booty shaking.
Azalea closed the set by saying, "Hello L.A., my name is Iggy Azalea. Thank you for having me. Be kind to each other – and be safe."
Day one at the BMIA started fairly smoothy. But toward the end of the day, it was crowded, making it nearly impossible to maneuver from one stage to the next without getting caught in a mosh pit. For Kendrik Lamar's Day 1 performance, the best bet was to see him on the huge video monitors. The sound was still loud and clear.
Having learned the ropes by Day 2, much like at Coachella it was better to camp out in one spot for a good view all day. The only difference here was that you could pass the time watching bands live on the other stages on the big-screen monitors.
Cypress Hill on the Marilyn Stage
While waiting for Cypress Hill's performance on the Marilyn stage, I was able to catch Mutemath performing on the Dylan Stage on the monitor. They sounded damn good, but there was no way we were going to miss Cypress Hill's “Dr. Green Thumb.”
Blazing hot or not, Cypress did not disappoint. Funny and brazen B-Real even saluted 4:20 by properly lighting up a blunt on the steps of City Hall. Cypress also threw a shout-out to their boys in South Gate. They closed their set with a smokin' version of “Rap Superstar.”
Weezer on the Marilyn Stage
Weezer busted out on the stage with the Looney Tunes theme and a huge Warner Bros.' “W” banner. The indie band had lots of fans who were giddy to see hear their favorite tunes.
Juanes on the Marilyn Stage
Latin heartthrob Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez or Juanes, as the lead singer is better known, was off and running, saluting Los Angeles, Latin America, Mexicans and Colombians with a warm smile radiating a sense of wonder and awe. "Eighteen years I came here (Los Angeles) with nothing,” he gushed. “And now to play for you here is so exciting."
He sang "A Dios Le Pido," telling the crowd, “This is the song that broke my career 10 years ago.” He closed with "Camisa Negra," an all-time favorite.
John Mayer on the Marilyn Stage
John Mayer came out looking like James Dean. It's no wonder he gets all the beautiful women. His set started up with Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" in true soulful blues style.
Mayer's set time was pushed back, but he was still able to play his full hour. Midway through his performance, he quipped, "Can you tell I'm nervous? It usually takes three or four songs before I'm comfortable with this,” as he did a few guitar-playing motions to illustrate his point.
Many electric and acoustic changes later, he thrilled some fans with his tune as well as covers like Bob Dylan's “All Along The Watchtower” and Muddy Waters' “Mannish Boy.”He then closed the set tearing into his guitar as it laid on the floor.
Kanye West on the Marilyn Stage
The antsy audience was not there for John Mayer's blues. They wanted Kanye. And Kanye they got.
The larger-than-life performer was stunning. Sure, he did a bit of ranting but was the best-loved performer at the show, judging from the reaction of the crowd.