I was very excited for Mo Pop Festival to return. This year the festival moved from the suburbs to the city. It was a welcome change. West Riverfront Park is a great venue for the festival and hopefully it will stay there for years to come.
I arrived on Saturday and knew it would be a hot day. The music started at 12:30pm when George Morris hit the stage. He throws a lot of energy into his performance. His music is accessible to all. George is part of Detroit and I saw him just hanging out on Sunday. The two stages at Mo Pop Festival are not too far apart and that made it so easy to see each act.
I took the short walk over to see Coin. Coin is from Tennessee and they have a pop music style that had me dancing. Their songs are upbeat and I’m looking forward to their first album. They have an EP out now and it’s totally worth a listen. I was going to walk around when I heard Ryley Walker start his set. I was blown away by what I heard. Was it acoustic? Was it electric? Was it rock? Was it all over the place? The answer to all those questions is yes! I stood there staring at the stage and I did not want the set to end, but all good things do.
I ran back to the VIP tent and grabbed a snack so I could make it for the start of Ex Cops. Ex Cops music was perfect for the day and the great breeze that was coming off the river. I like to call that they do dreamy rock. Amalie Bruun easily held the attention of the crowd with her style and voice. I’m definitely a new fan. I took the next hour to walk around the festival and take it the sights. Along the river walk there were painted pianos and painted benches. Detroit is filled with creative people and that creativity was certainly on display at Mo Pop. I walked by the food trucks and made a mental note of what I might have to try later. I’m not a food critic so don’t expect any meal reviews. Just saying! I wandered into the Biergarten. It was a great way to get some shade and sample some delicious beverages. Mo Pop Festival even had a craft bazaar. I told you Detroit was filled with creative people.
I made my way back over to the Grande Stage and watched Coasts. I highly suggest the song Oceans. It was stuck in my head for days after the festival. I hope this band comes back to Detroit soon. King Tuff hit the Fender Premium Audio stage next and it was just the rock music I wanted all day. Their songs are in your face, loud, and guitar riffs galore. I might have headbanged a bit. OK, I totally did!
James Bay hit the stage and I will admit I didn’t know who he was or what he did. The man won me over. James is so talented. I was the one person who didn’t know Hold Back The River is his song. I loved it! Near the end of his set I knew my face was already feeling the effects of the sun and I made my way back into the VIP Tent. I watched Atlas Genius from the shade. I have heard many people tell me how great they are live. If you were one of them, you weren’t wrong. During the Atlas Genius set I noticed a woman wearing a Bonnaroo shirt. I yelled BONNAROOOOOOOOOOO at her and she promptly gave me a high five. It was a quality moment.
I was charging my phone and listening to Iron & Wine with Ben Bridwell. Of course the moment I walk out to watch the rest of the set rain starts falling. Lightning was in the area and the festival was put on hold. I ran back to the VIP tent and watched it fall and fall and fall and fall. When it stopped falling the festival grounds were a mess. A small lake had formed in front of one stage. I was not wearing the right shoes for water and mud so I left. Brandon Flowers was able to play late, but Chromeo had to switch to a DJ set. I was told both were cool. Did my night of music end there? No! I went to the Majestic Café to see Maps & Atlases. I always have a live music backup plan. I am a concert hopper!
I returned to the festival on Sunday and was amazed at the grounds. The staff worked so hard to make sure the mud was gone. It was impressive. The band that caught my attention first that day was Givers. You might remember their song Up Up Up. What a fun band to watch live. I had a feeling they were just as happy playing as I was watching. Someone near called them a less serious Vampire Weekend. I’ll go with that. I took a lap around the festival and everyone was in great spirits. I wandered back into the VIP tent and grabbed some more snacks. It was time for Viet Cong. I thought I would love their set, but something about it didn’t click with me. I really enjoy listening to their music at home. I want to see them in a small venue. Wild Child hit the stage and they had the crowd going. Make sure you check them out! They said it was their first time playing Detroit. They seemed genuinely stunned and happy by the crowd reaction. I rather enjoyed the song Pillow Talk.
Saint Motel was next and did not let me down. Once again a band had me dancing. Saint Motel makes music I would play at a party, to cheer a friend up, or when I’m driving around with the windows down. I like the mix of old and new sounds. Their vibe is infectious and everyone was smiling by the end of the set. Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas hit the stage and showed love to their hometown. I have heard about them for a few years. Jessica can flat out sing and she does not stop moving. She knows the crowd wants a show and she delivers! The band is on point the whole time. It’s great watching a Detroit band start to make it big.
Modest Mouse closed out Mo Pop Festival. I’m not a big fan of Modest Mouse. I saw them at Rothbury some years back it wasn’t for me. I decided to give them another chance. I watched 45 minutes of the set before I made my way home. It isn’t that Modest Mouse is bad. They just confuse me. The band is great one moment and off the rails the next. Isaac Brock started rambling about the hay on the ground, a ship sinking in the Detroit River, and his voice going out. I found it funny for a minute or two, but then I just wanted to hear more music. He ruined any flow the band might have had. I understand that I am in the minority when it comes to my thoughts on Modest Mouse.
Mo Pop Festival was a total success and I had a great time. The culture, people, and vibe of the city were on display and made me proud to say that I am from Detroit!