GWAR Eternal Tour Beautifully Paid Homage To Lost Leader Oderus Urungus

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(PCM) Many were curious just how GWAR and the scumdogs of the universe would survive after the loss of their leader Oderus Urungus but I can say that his spirit was very much alive and well during the GWAR Eternal Tour as it slayed its’ way across the nation.

After being sucked through a hole in the space/time continuum Lord Blothar has now found himself thrust on stage fronting the almighty GWAR and he certainly managed to pull it off without a hitch. Well, maybe that is not entirely true … he did have to deal with his sister from a distant future the sexy breast-blood spewing Vulvatron.

The tour overall focused on GWAR’s search for their lost leader Oderus and they payed homage to his spirit beautifully. The show was both highly entertaining and the perfect way to allow fans to both celebrate and mourn the death of Oderus, who in his own right was a true rock n’ roll pioneer.

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The production for this tour was phenomenal and it was an utterly fantastic idea to have the first song of the evening performed by Oderus himself through the magic mirror aka. a video screen on-stage. I am not going to lie that I actually shed tears during the song while watching one of the slaves (GWAR’s on-stage hands/prop guys) looking devastated the clawing at the screen which contained an image of their beloved leader.

Musically speaking everyone in GWAR has truly stepped up their game and their finale cover of the Pet Shop Boy’s “West End Girls” was fantastic. I definitely enjoyed GWAR’s version a whole lot more than the original.

I am sure that GWAR will have plenty more in-store for 2015 as the band will be celebrating their 30th anniversary!  It is sure to be a bloody good time!

Photography by: Megan C. Brooks

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Caught In A Halestorm At The Shindig! Exclusive Interview!

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(PCM) A few weeks ago we attended The Shindig Music Festival in Baltimore, MD!  The festival was an epic showcase that included some of the most hard-working and diverse bands currently in the scene. The line-up featured artists such as Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, Clutch, Halestorm, The Bots just to name a few.

The festival celebrated a sense of unity among both the artists performing and their fans. The music from each of the band’s performing in some way speaks to the soul of the everyday person and without a doubt we can all find ways in which we relate,.

During The Shindig we were able to catch up with Grammy-winning rockers Halestorm to discuss the band’s festival performance, work on their upcoming new album, tour plans with Eric Church and so much more!

You can view the interview below:

 Photography credit: Ken Schuler for PopCultureMadness.com

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Catching Up With Clutch’s Neil Fallon

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(PCM) I was recently out at The Shindig Festival which was held in Balitmore, MD and had a chance to catch up with Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon.

We spoke in-depth about the band’s latest album release, the phenomenal “Earth Rocker”. I expressed to Neil just how much we had enjoyed the album on vinyl, which I highly recommend that everyone check out given the opportunity.

Based out of Maryland, the band tore up the stage at The Shindig and were a perfect choice to be part of the line-up that featured an eclectic mix of artists such as Jane’s Addiction, Gogol Bordello, Rise Against, Halestorm and more.

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All of the bands playing, Clutch included, share a certain spirit that connects with everyday people and that common thread of unity was quite apparent at a festival such as The Shindig.

Clutch recently performed at all three Riot Fest dates in Toronto, Chicago and Denver prior to their appearance at The Shindig. Neil informed us that the band has some plans for the holidays and of course New Years Eve and are also hard at work on a new album that we could see sometime next year.

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You can watch the full interview below:

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Louder Than Life Is Living Up To Its’ Name!

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(PCM) It is the inaugural year for the Louder Than Life Festival held at Champions Park in Louisville, Kentucky and thus far we can say that it is certainly living up to its’ name.

We have just gotten back to our hotel room to recover from day one of this monster of a two day festival which boasts a line-up that consists of rock n’ roll royalty. Day one brought us performances from bands such as Judas Priest, Korn, Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington, Limp Bizkit, Theory Of A Deadman, Pop Evil, Alterbridge, Otherwise, Thousand Foot Krutch and many many more!

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Day one featured a fairly good sized crowd and despite the fact that temperatures dipped fairly low, especially after the sun went down the raw enthusiasm from the crowd never waned. However, that could have something to do with the fabulous variety of bourbon and other spirits that were on-hand throughout the entire day.

We were absolutely blown away by the performance from Judas Priest to close out the first day. Vocalist Rob Halford and the rest of the band sounded utterly fantastic. Halford is always one of my favorite performers to watch in the live environment, as his vocal prowess is second to none. Oh to be able to hit some of those notes … and he does it almost effortlessly.

The band is celebrating their 40th anniversary, however watching them perform it was as if no time had gone by at all and their set was filled with the classic metal staples that we all know and love.

I was able to catch Korn perform back on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival earlier this summer and I had commented after their show in Camden, NJ that I had not seen vocalist Jonathan Davis looking so excited and refreshed as he did during that particular performance. Well, yet again Davis appeared to have discovered some kind of new found zest and excitement just oozes off the stage when watching them perform.

There is definitely no phoning it in with this band and their performances have certainly did more than deliver. Always an epic live band throughout the years, however there is something about now that is working and whatever it is I certainly hope it keeps up, as we are super excited for the band’s upcoming co-headlining run with Slipknot!

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Prior to both Judas Priest and Korn taking the stage, we caught sets from both Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington and Limp Bizkit. While I think that STP feat. Chester Bennington are fabulous, I could not help but note that they brought the energy level in the crowd down just a notch.

The band’s performance was solid and I have to admit that Bennington is certainly holding his own in the band, but after a blazing set from Limp Bizkit and gearing up for Korn, throwing STP on in-between the two just seemed a bit odd and slightly out of place in the days line-up.

Many people continue to have mixed feelings about Limp Bizkit, but I will freely admit that they have always been one of my very favorite bands. Their music, to me, is like a trip down memory lane and back to the late nineties. It was a time when their were more carefree days and Limp Bizkit was definitely part of the soundtrack.

Vocalist Fred Durst has showed no signs of slowing down as he bounced all over the stage, at one point even coming down to the barricade to become a little more up close and personal with the thousands of screaming fans in attendance. Guitarist Wes Borland sounded incredible and it without a doubt one of the most unique and versatile players in modern rock.

The only slight complaints I had about Louder Than Life, and I’m sure many of you who were in attendance will agree, were the incredibly long lines/not enough porta-potties and for some reason the sound on the Main Stage South was fantastic, but Main Stage North at times because a bit muffled and was incredibly heavy on the bass.

The best part about these two-day festival is that we get to go back and do it all again tomorrow!  Stayed tuned for more updates as we catch performances from Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Buckcherry, Chiodos, Hellyeah, Crobot and more!

We caught up with a ton of talent at Louder Than Life!  See our full interview playlist below:

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Finch Drop New Album! Exclusive Interview!

Finch1(PCM) Finch has just released their first full length album in nine years titled “Back To Oblivion” and without a doubt the band has truly outdone themselves with this brilliant release.

After listening to the album it is quite apparent that the band has pushed themselves above and beyond and what I love is that they are truly not afraid to take some risks with their music.

“Back To Oblivion” is a true statement to the band’s longevity and certainly showcased a deeper and more matured side to the band.

Recently we were able to catch up with Finch guitarist Alex Linares to discuss the band’s new album, touring plans, musical history and more!

We were certainly sure that the band was more than excited to get this highly anticipated album into the hand of listeners. Alex comments “Yeah, it felt like it was taking forever. It was finished a couple of months ago and I am so anxious for people to hear it”.

With this being the band’s first full length album in nine years were were curious about any challenges they may have faced in the studio. Alex tell us “Probably just writing together again. It has been almost ten years since we all sat down to write a whole album together. Before we split up, we tried to write a record and came up with nothing worthy of a third full-length record, but with this album it took about a year of us writing in secret. We were doing all these anniversary shows for the 10th anniversary of “What Is To Burn”, but we were always secretly working on the new material. We just didn’t want to announce it at that point”.

When speaking about tracks on the new album that can definite the mentality in the studio, Alex reveals “We worked really quickly and it was sort of over before it began, but I don’t know if there is really one song that captures the tone of us recording. I think maybe it would be “New Wave”, it is the last song on the record and it was one that was wholly created in the studio. Normally during the recording process each person records their parts separately and they are all put together, however for that song we were all in the studio together, at the same time, working on it, and we created it together. I think that might be an example of the new Finch where we are a bit more united”.

With “Back To Oblivion” Finch were definitely not afraid to experiment some with their sound and create a very unique new album. Alex says that he is “crossing my fingers and toes” that the fans take to it more than they did “Say Hello To Sunshine”. He felt that “Sunshine” caught most people off guard, although some people did love it.

Alex goes on to say ” I have ADD in the studio and I feel it is important for us to keep challenging ourselves with every record, so that will keep us all interested”.

“Two Guns To The Temple” is the first single off of “Back To Oblivion” and we were curious to know what led to the band’s decision for that track in particular to become the single and also if they ever get a feeling about a song and then are surprised by what the fans happen to gravitate towards. Alex comments ” I don’t even pretend to know which song should become the single, usually I’m like ‘Yes, that’s the one’ and the record label and manager types are like “You’re f**king crazy, dude … it’s five and half minutes and you don’t get to the chorus for three and half, so that doesn’t work’! The lead off single was really “Anywhere But Here” as the internet single and fit a little more into the traditional single format.”.

We also spoke in-depth about many of the changes that have taken place within the music industry over the years. Alex reveals ” Five years ago I didn’t want anything to do with a label, but I think how they function now, it makes sense, it works and we are more comfortable with it. So far, Razor & Tie has been a really good home for us. They have not made any sort of ridiculous demands that we have had to deal with from label in the past. They seem to really respect their artists and that is genuinely what artist really want … to be respected.

We also spoke about the up rise of social media and Alex commented “As much as social networks give you access to the band in ways that you or I didn’t have twenty years ago, I mean you had to buy Hit Parader if there was a cool picture of Marilyn Manson or Jonathan Davis in there, now you have this inside peek. You get to see backstage and see how boring it really is (laughs), I think it is kind of good and kind of not good sometimes. It takes some of mystery away.

He goes on to say “When I was thirteen, Korn was my favorite band ever and this last tour we were on tour in Australia and they were on it and seeing Jonathan Davis, like romp around backstage, he looked like the most mega-geek and that’s probably what most people involved with social networks these days really think about the artist’s they see. They take backstage photos and they are just sitting there with a book, reading or something. It’s like someone explaining how the magic trick works and it’s a f**king bummer!”

Currently the band is gearing up for a headlining tour run with Maps & Atlases that is set to begin in a few weeks. Alex also told us that there is some talk about the band headed back to England and some other parts of Europe as well and plan for non-stop touring for the next year and half of so in support of the record.

We mentioned to Alex that it would have to be difficult for the band to craft a set list each night and he replied “The only hard part is not wanting to put too much new material in there. I want to go out and play the new record from beginning to end but I know that would greatly annoy most people that paid for a ticket so I think we will play a good mix of both old and newer material”.

Alex also reveals that one of the great inspirations for the new album was the 10th anniversary show for their seminal album “What Is To Burn”. He says ” To play the album together again was bizarrely easy and running through all the songs, it was like muscle memory. I think feeling such constant enthusiasm for my band and just constant desire for us to not go away after this tour was a great motivator to try our hand at a new record.”

Often times certain information about a band may be misconstrued or misunderstood, we asked Alex if that had ever happened with Finch. He replied “So much!  Usually everything! (laughs) I am not actually a grizzly bear, most people think I am the offspring of some great grizzly mother … that’s not true! No, I’m kidding. People come up with the wildest things and it’s ridiculous. I think the worst on is that people actually think that I’m a d**k. People will come up and talk to me and be like ‘man, we heard you were a d**k, but you’re really great’.  I appreciate that … really.”

Well, we can certainly set the record straight! He is neither bear nor d**khead! Alex along with the rest of Finch are truly great guys that have put together a truly wonderful new album that we certainly urge you all to check out!

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Man Overboard Reveal New Music On The Way And More At Made In America Festival

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(PCM) We recently had the chance to catch up with Man Overboard while out at the recent Made In America Festival in Philadelphia, PA over Labor Day weekend.

The band has deserving earned the title of being one of the biggest bands on the pop punk scene. Forming back in 2008 the band hit the ground running and continue to go strong to this day.

They have been a staple during the Vans Warped Tour over the years, but it was awesome to catch the band performing a festival such as Made In America where they were able to hold their own on a line-up that featured mostly EDM, hip-hop and indie rock artists.

Chatting with the guys backstage at Made In America was a lot of fun and you can check out the full interview where we discuss the ways in which the band has continued to grow, their fan base, and of course some details about the new music which is headed our way soon.

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Steve Aoki Paints A Neon Future At Made In America Philadelphia

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(PCM) Words cannot even begin to express how excited we are for the upcoming new album “Neon Future I” the first installment of a dual release from Steve Aoki on September 30th!

The Vegas born producer/DJ recently performed at both Made In America Philadelphia on Saturday and then at Made In America Los Angeles on Sunday. When this man finds a minute to rest is completely beyond us!  His restless and creative spirit is always on the go and it shows.

His performances are truly a work of art and we adore an artist, especially in the world of EDM, who is not afraid to get up close and personal with their adoring fans, even if that does mean getting showered in both cake and champagne from time to time! Yum!

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It is also not everyday that you have rap icon (and Budweiser Made In America curator) Jay-Z and the infamous two-dollar bill man literally making it rain two-dollar bills during a performance as well…but with a Steve Aoki show, always expect the unexpected.

We got to hear some snippets of new material of the upcoming album which included a new collaboration with Afrojack. “Neon Future I” will also feature collaborations with Aoki and Empire Of The Sun, Fall Out Boy, Waka Flocka Flame and Machine Gun Kelly. We also loved his clever move of blending the opening of Kanye’s “Power” into the Chainsmoker’s “Kanye” as a way to almost welcome Kanye, who was up next, to the stage.

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We had the chance to catch up with Steve Aoki just prior to his incredible Made In America performance. We discussed the new album, the hectic schedule and the many places from which he draws his inspirations. Check out the full interview below:

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I’m Only “Happy” When It Rains…Pharrell And Kings Of Leon Bring Made In America 2014 To An Epic Close

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(PCM) Despite the imminent threat of inclement weather on the way, the Budweiser Made In America Day Two in Philadelphia kicked off with a hot and humid start with some amazing performances from Bleachers, Kongos, Penguin Prison, YG, Man Overboard and Awolnation.

As the day progressed the storm clouds began to roll in and just after Spoon took the stage a nasty thunderstorm began, forcing the band’s performance to come to an abrupt halt and the festival grounds to be evacuated.

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There was some mild protest from some of the more rowdy attendees in the audience, but it appeared that all were evacuated quickly and efficiently until the worst of the storm had passed. About 20 minutes later the gates were re-opened and the curfew was extended for a bit to allow the rest of the show to go on as planned.

Spoon took to the stage once again to finish out their set and I give both them and Girl Talk all the respect in the world for continuing their performances during some absolutely torrential downpours of rain, but hey…that’s rock n’ roll.

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Majority of the heavy rain had passed by the time that Pharrell Williams took to the stage and his performance was just brilliant. There is nothing we don’t love about Pharrell, as his performances are always both entertaining and thoroughly engaging. Opening with “Lose Yourself To Dance” and plowing through a hit filled set that included some throwbacks to tracks that he had produced including “Hot In Herre” and “Hollaback Girl” to name a few.

One of my favorite moments occurred when Pharrell was addressing the crowd and gave a shout-out to all the women in the house, claiming that his wish would be to see more women in positions of power including both government and the entertainment realm.

At the very end of his set Pharrell commented that he had wished that the media/photographers were still out there to capture what 100,000 happy people looked like from his point of view. Well, rest assured P…we were out there, just as happy as could be, dancing our way all over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and loving every moment. (See our past chat with Pharrell Williams and his N.E.R.D. bandmate Shay Haly here)

In our opinion not much could compete with Pharrell’s outstanding Made In America performance, but Kings of Leon certainly gave it their best attempt. I am not sure I always agree with closing out a festival with a slower tempo, however Kings of Leon provided a nice way to close out Made In America festival with a dose of good ol’ rock n’ roll.

The rain unfortunately shortened the band’s performance time by a bit, but they were very gracious to those that stuck it out to the very end and definitely made true on their promise to give it all they had till the very end!

More images from Day Two of the Budweiser Made In America Festival Philadelphia below:

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Concert Review: Uproar Festival 2014 Featuring Godsmack, Seether, Skillet And More!

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(PCM) There are so many summer touring packages that it can often times be hard to make the decision as to which show is worth spending you hard earned cash on a ticket. This year the 2014 edition of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival provided plenty of bang for your buck with an line-up of epic proportions this year!

The 2014 line-up consisted of Godsmack, Seether, Skillet, Pop Evil, Buckcherry, Escape The Fate, 3 Years Hollow, Within Reason and Sons Of Revelry to name a few.

Godsmack were the perfect choice to headline this year’s festival as they were definitely missed during their hiatus of sorts and it was great to seem them back out on the road, refreshed and ready to rock.

The band has just released a brand-new album title “1000hp” which made its’ debut at #3 on the Billboard charts. As a fan it was fantastic to hear some new material making it’s way into the band’s set and the band appeared to be both excited and invigorated to finally be able to play some of these tracks in the live environment.

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The band even went as far as to open their blazing 90-minute set with “Generation Day”, a track off the new album, as well as, “Something Different” which was another “1000hp” track that was played early in the set.  Of course the crowd went crazy for fan favorites such as “Straight Out Of Line”, “The Enemy”, “Awake” and of course my personal favorite “Voodoo”.

As many times as I have seen Godsmack live I also do not think that I will ever tire of seeing the epic drum battle that takes place between drummer Shannon Larkin and front man Sully Erna, now being dubbed Batalla de los Tambores. It is always just incredibly fun to see!

Prior to Godsmack taking the stage to close out Uproar Festival 2014, we were also privy to some incredible performances from many of the other bands’ on the bill as well. Highlight performances came from Seether, Skillet, Buckcherry, Escape The Fate, and Sons of Revelry throughout the afternoon into the evening.

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Seether released their amazing new album “Isolate and Medicate” earlier this year and while their performance at Uproar sounded amazing, I was surprised that only one track from the new album, “Words As Weapons” made it into the set. They plowed through fan favorites such as “Rise Above This”, “Fake It” and “The Remedy”, and I am chalking it up to set time for the reason some more newer tracks did not make it into the performance.

We had a chance to catch up with Seether’s drummer John Humphrey prior to the band taking the stage. You can view our chat below:

Skillet also put on a phenomenal performance which was absolutely mesmerizing to catch. Skillet are a band that has the ability to take command of the stage and are able to hold the audience at full attention for the start of their performance to the very end.

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I adore the string players and the band just appears to be having a lot of fun while up on the stage. I would almost be willing to say that within the next few years we could possibly see Skillet as the top headlining spot for one of these mainstream rock festivals, if not already, as they have more than earned it!

We had a chance to catch up with Skillet front man John Cooper while out at Uproar. You can view our chat below:

There is truly nothing I don’t love about Buckcherry!  As headliners of Uproar’s second stage, the band put together a rousing performance that featured a perfect blend of both older and newer material.

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The band has just released their brand new EP perfectly title “F**k” and the songs are absolutely f**king brilliant!  We had the opportunity to catch up with Buckcherry front man Josh Todd before the band’s performance. You can listen to the full interview below:

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We were also able to catch up with Escape The Fate, who may have been the odd band out on the bill, but certainly did an incredible job at commanding the audiences full attention. The band is still currently touring behind their phenomenal album “Ungrateful” but have revealed that they have plans to start working on some new material shortly.

You can view our interview with Escape The Fate’s Robert Ortiz below:

 Up and coming band Sons Of Revelry were definitely another highlight from our day at Uproar Festival. We had a chance to speak with the full band…check it out:

We loved the 2014 edition of the Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour and we certainly can’t wait to see what they will have in store for 2015!

All photography credit: Megan C. Brooks Photography

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Kanye West Closes Out Made In America Festival Day One + Attends A Delaware Wedding!

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(PCM) Artist Kanye West closed out day one of the 2014 Made In America Festival Philadelphia and the man is without a doubt an artist in every sense of the word. Every part of his performance was mesmerizing and he definitely holds the audience in the palm of his hand.

Opening with “Black Skinhead”, West plowed through his hits in succession moving into “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and “New Slaves” to get things off to a fantastic start.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Kanye West performance without some kind of diatribe, however this time his criticisms mentioned actually made a lot of sense. He spoke about the importance of not being judged by the things the media will say, not just for himself but for all artists. He went on to speak about his marriage to Kim Kardashian saying “I am in a highly publicized interracial relationship and it deserves to be respected”.

West went on to speak about the fact that “we are all in this together”, meaning artists and fans and he wants to be able to create more to help others. He said “What we as artists do is not a joke…we put our love, our hearts, our souls into what we do”

It was hard not agree with him on all of these points. He then launched into “Blood on the Leaves” which is normally the set closer….and don’t worry…he did play it again at the end of the set as well. Kanye also had some criticism for those “who think Kanye is a bad guy” saying you can’t criticize people like him saying he deals in “beauty, truth, love and helping the next guy out” .

Many thought Made In America curator Jay-Z would grace the stage with Kanye at some point during the performance as he was on site for most of the day, but alas we were disappointed.

Hearing dig back in his catalog was a huge thrill for me and the crowd absolutely erupted during “Jesus Walks” and “Touch The Sky”.

In other news, Kanye had the whole family in tow for Made In America and evening attended a wedding in Delaware with his wife Kim and baby North. No word on how Kanye knew the couple tying the knot, but the family’s appearance certainly created a bit of stir in the state, located right outside Philly.

Please be sure to stay tuned to PCM for more Made In America Festival coverage as well as our exclusive interview with Kanye’s first cousin, The World Famous Tony Williams, who has collaborated on every Kanye album and was performing with him at MIA.

 

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