Review: Mo Pop

Photo by Travis Brandner Photography

Located in downtown Motor City on the banks of the Detroit River, Mo Pop Music Festival brought a diverse set of acts to Detroit over the weekend. Mo Pop is a two-day music festival that was head lined this year by acts Foster the People and Alt-J. Some of the more memorable sets we enjoyed during the weekend were Wavves, Run the Jewels, Tyler, the Creator and Phantogram.

Mo Pop has taken place in West River Front Park since 2015 and you can tell how things have really grown in the past 2 years. Walking through the entrance of the festival there is a large variety of entertainment such as a paint-ball style nerf gun battle field, a full indoor arcade, School of Rock mini stage and a Hammock lounge area.

Saturday I enjoyed the lo-fi punk music of San Diego band Wavves. This band really embodies the chill wave vibes similar to other California bands and ending with a climax of singer Nathan Williams doing a huge dive into a crowd of fans. Run the Jewels played an energetic set that had the crowd forming several very rowdy mosh pits during the entire show. One thing that I have noticed over the past few years of going to festivals is how current hip-hop shows make the crowd go so crazy that the pits are similar to something you would see at warped tour or rock on the range. After getting dirty and bruised at RTJ Phantogram played a dreamy synth pop set that had my two favorite songs, "You don't get me high anymore" and "Fall in love". Foster the People closed out the night with old favorite hit songs and new synth driven music. I have wanted to see Foster the People since missing their set at Lollapalooza 2010 and was happy to get to see "Pumped up Kicks" and "Helena Beat" on a giant stage.

There was a strong diverse lineup on the second day of Mo Pop. It was a special moment to hear Vance Joy play some of his soft radio anthems. There was really one act that drew my group all the way up to Michigan and that was Tyler, the Creator. It seemed as if his set was the most anticipated show of the weekend, and this was backed up by the fact that all his merchandise was sold out within a few hours. Tyler just released his new album "Flower Boy" and the crowd was singing along to every word from the new songs. I knew that the show would be crazy but was still surprised to see the energy and madness that broke out when he played such old tracks as "Yonkers," "Tamale" and "Welcome to Death Camp". The most pits kicked up so much dust that it was hard to breathe. This morning waking up I can feel every hit and bruise that happened in that crowd.

I enjoyed this trip up to Detroit not only for the music but also to just enjoy being in the historical Motor City. Being in Downtown Detroit I really feel a sense of optimism that one day it will rise to be a booming metropolis once again.