Eight Things You Missed at Mo Pop

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Kevin Kortas

A Torrential Downpour

On Saturday, as Iron and Wine was about to perform with Ben Bridwell (of Band of Horses), storm clouds rolled in.

A light shower started during their first song, but quickly developed into an intense Forrest Gump style barrage.

The band squeezed about five songs in before thunder was heard and they had to stop playing (standing on a giant metal stage is kind of dangerous during a thunderstorm).

Instead of scattering for cover, everyone huddled together and held up blankets to form rows of makeshift umbrellas.
 

An Impromptu Mudslide

As everyone realized that the storm was not going to blowing over anytime soon, fans decided to make the best of it.

At West Riverfront Park there’s a small hill that slopes down into the area in front of the Grande Stage.

Naturally a few energetic festival goers started sliding down, which opened up the floodgates for a half hour worth of impressive penguin slides.

A large crowd gathered and cheered for anyone brave enough to make it down the hill.
 

Happy Birthday Sung Twice

On Saturday, happy birthday was sung to Magic Jake’s mom, the bassist of King Tuff.

Sunday, Brian Sella of The Front Bottoms asked for his cousin’s birthday.

What a good weekend to have a birthday.
 

Brandon Flowers Covered the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love With A Girl”

After an hour and a half of storms and the ominous feelings that the rest of the day might have been canceled entirely, Brandon Flowers opened with a killer rendition of one of the Impact’s favorite White Stripes songs.
 

Chromeo Live Mixed Songs of Detroit Artists

Due to a few setbacks related to the rain Saturday, Chromeo performed later than scheduled and on the Fender Stage instead of the Grande Stage.

Instead of using their usual keyboards and instruments, Chromeo played a set using their boards and controllers, much like a DJ would in a nightclub.

This allowed Dave 1 to play a block of music created exclusively by rap artists from Detroit.
 

Modest Mouse Fabricated a Spontaneous Song About College

Usually during performances there is some down time where musicians have to tune and swap out their instruments. This usually leaves enough time for some witty banter by whoever is close to a mic.

Luckily, the stars aligned and Isaac Brock decided to ad lib a few verses about going to college.

The band looped an intro to one of their songs while Brock said the word “college” in place of the usual lyrics and then continued to name food items where the chorus would have been.

Later, Brock talked about where he bought his romper and how he couldn’t talk all weekend because he was resting his voice.
 

The Front Bottoms Handed Out Tambourines

The Front Bottoms never cease to amaze their fans with their live performances.

There is a line in their song “Twin Size Mattress” that says “I’m sure that we could find something for you to do on stage. Maybe shake a tambourine, or when I sing you sing harmony.”

So before closing with “Twin Size Mattress”, the group threw bags of plastic tambourines into the crowd for fans to shake them at the right moments.
 

The Festivalgoers Were Amazing

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused the crowds to unite, maybe it was the spirit of the city of Detroit, the love of great music, or maybe just beer, but by midday Sunday there was a distinct feeling of camaraderie in the air.

Countless random acts of kindness were performed, anything from fans sharing food and water with complete strangers to food trucks handing out precious resources (thanks Chicken Coupe for letting me have that wet wipe.)

Overall Mo Pop provided a great atmosphere to branch out and meet new people.

Shout outs to Allison, Maddy “Mad Dog”, and that guy near the front gate who told me the story of getting Silly Putty stuck in his hair.


The people responsible for curating this year’s schedule have come through with big names in the past (Manchester Orchestra, The Mowgli’s, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and City and Colour) and this year was no different.

Mo Pop hosted some of the most relevant figures in the music industry. It’s amazing how a festival just barely three-years-old can pull acts like Modest Mouse, Brandon Flowers, Passion Pit, Chromeo and Iron and Wine.

Not only was the weekend marbled with legendary performances, the festival also allowed the opportunity to be exposed to established artists alongside the up-and-comers in the indie/alternative music scene.

Bands like Ex Cops, EL EL, COIN, King Tuff, and Viet Cong that have been making waves in the college radio scene had the chance to jam in front of the large audience that they deserve.

Crowd pleasers like The Front Bottoms, Saint Motel and Atlas Genius pulled in a diverse mix of music lovers that set the stage for an incredibly enjoyable weekend. In short, both days were filled with rock solid performers.

But not only was there amazing music, Mo Pop also had a craft bazaar full of local handcrafted items. A craft beer tent with drinks from at least 12 breweries, and local food trucks with a diverse  range of options to accommodate people with dietary restrictions were both prominent sources of food at Mo Pop. There was something for everyone.

In previous years the festival was located at Freedom Hill Amphitheater,  but this year it was moved to West Riverfront Park, a scenic location on the Detroit River wedged between downtown Detroit and the Ambassador Bridge.

The Detroit native and bassist of King Tuff, Magic Jake, even commented on how the Riverfront Park was a great use of an area that was previously underutilized.

With Mo Pop growing in popularity, I can only imagine what artists will be performing next year (Kanye West?).

Mo Pop is a great music festival for the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.
If you weren’t able to make it out last weekend, you can catch most of the artists that performed anytime on 88.9FM The Impact.

Kevin Kortas is the Programming Director for Impact | WDBM