Budweiser had every single detail nailed down for its Made in American Monument Series concert at Crissy Field on Saturday; there was free beer all day, the Golden Gate Bridge in the background of the stage, a beautiful San Francisco sunny day, and — whether or not you want to admit it — the execution of a brilliant marketing plan. As E-40 thrilled the huge crowd, attendees soaked up the sun, but also enough Budweiser imagery and branded giveaways to (almost) blot out its rays. It was a deadly combination of a brand deciding to promote a lifestyle of carefree good times and hiring the perfect mercenary for the job. Because honestly, if you can't have a good time at an E-40 show you don't belong in the Bay Area.
The event was the second installment of Budweiser's monument series. The first one was in New York and had the Statue of Liberty looming over the venue. This is part of Bud's partnership with the National Park Service to celebrate the centennial of the latter and tout the “Find Your Park” movement. The New York City and SF shows serve as warm-ups for the 4th annual Made In America Festival, presented by Budweiser and Jay-Z over Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia.
Opening the day was Oakland's spectacular up-and-coming indie rock band, Day Wave. The project is led by Marin native Jackson Phillips and it boasts a wavy, beachcomber style of indie, akin to a band like Real Estate. The first single, “Drag,” instantly builds its own summertime nostalgia. Make sure to bump that track, it's stellar. Day Wave is a promising project and as it gains momentum you can be sure this won't be the last time you hear about them.
Curiously, Budweiser paired Day Wave with East Bay rap God and hyphy master, E-40. Although, it became clear that it was an attempt to capture multiple facets of the local music scene. Seeing E-40 play live was a damn treat cause he'll make you feel peak-Bay Area. He coursed through every major hit in his discog and just worked the crowd the way you'd expect a hometown hero to do. “Tell Me When To Go” was especially entertaining and E was laid back and cool as hell. At one point, he said “Shout out to Made in America and shit. Budweiser. Tidal. All that shit.” I giggled and raised my American flag aluminum Budweiser bottle in approval, just like everyone else.
Somehow, the “headliner” to the event was an EDM trio called Cash Cash from New Jersey. I hadn't heard of these guys before and the fact that they were ahead of E-40 on the bill made me dislike them before I even heard their kitschy dance music. They were in a no-win situation in my Bay Area book.
All the while, the Golden Gate Bridge was providing a surreal backdrop to the event. Budweiser had a multi-level bar set-up in a trailer, with a tight window to the Bridge. The grounds were hardly at capacity, despite it being a sold-out event, which eliminated any claustrophobia in the crowd. All in all, it was just a really well-organized event that made me want to drink more Budweiser. I can live with that.
I leave you with E-40, in all his glory: