I just realized that, so far, that I’m having more fun at 35 than I was at 18. Okay, maybe at least as much fun. At any rate, all those people who told you back in high school that those would be the best days of your life… they told you wrong. Heck, I even got one of the best birthday presents I’ve gotten in a long time this year (I don’t even remember what I got for my birthday when I turned 18).
Some of my siblings pooled together and got me a ticket to the MoPop music festival in downtown Detroit.
Guys, I had never been to a concert festival. I’m not sure why. You probably know by now how I feel about concerts in general and we’re talking about two days of concerts. Two. Days.
I was not disappointed.
While there were quite a few bands I hadn’t heard of I was really looking forward to seeing Modest Mouse and Passion Pit. My not-so-baby brother is a huge fan of both Brandon Flowers (as well as The Killers) AND Modest Mouse so he was super excited to be going to MoPop.
As you may or may not be able to see in the above picture, the music started at 12:30 on Saturday. Being the procrastinating anti-morning people we are, however, we did not arrive at the festival until around 3pm. None of us cared too much about the first few bands. In fact, Atlas Genius was the first band on the menu that I had even heard of. After acclimating ourselves to the set up and obtaining the necessary beverages (there was a craft beer tent that sported mostly local brews. Score!) we wandered over to the stages. King Tuff was a surprisingly fun band of three middle aged men. One was rocking the long hair comb over look…if such a thing can be rocked. But their music was upbeat and dance-able.
My sister and her boyfriend (the only non-family member in our group of five) wanted to see James Bay so they wandered over to the other stage while my little brother and I hung around waiting for Atlas Genius. I think my older brother headed for the beer tent to find a couple other friends who were allegedly at MoPop too.
We eventually reconvened during Atlas Genius’ performance after which we agreed that they were excellent live. I was familiar with their song Trojans but had forgotten about a couple others that had gotten some radio play as well. We all agreed that Atlas Genius was the best band of the afternoon. I’d see them again and fully intend to find more of their music to add to my collection.
Up until that point it had been a hot, very sunny day. It was ideal outdoor concert weather…until suddenly it wasn’t. Part way through the next show the skies got just a little more cloudy. Then it started to rain a bit. Iron and Wine was playing at the time and they continued to play because who doesn’t like a nice light rain?
But like most things, it’s all fun and games in moderation. After a few minutes of light rain the downpour began. And boy did it pour! Since Brandon Flowers was going to be on the same stage as Atlas Genius and my little brother really wanted to be in the front for his show, we stayed by the empty stage to wait it out. We were not the only ones. There was a nice little group of die hard fans standing around in the now heavy rain getting soaked to the bone. There was a couple in their late twenties who had gotten married to a Brandon Flowers song and every so often someone would sing a lyric or two from one of his songs and start a mini sing along. Overall the crowd was amicable though very very wet. To them it was worth it. Personally I had nothing better to do; I felt a little out of my element having heard Flowers’ solo stuff for the first time on the ride to the festival that day.
After some lightening and the crowd being forced to move back at least ten feet from the stage the rain finally stopped. More waiting commenced. This time waiting for the stage and equipment to dry a little and allll the tedious sound checks and stage prep to be completed so that the much anticipated main act could take the stage. I was impressed with the overall mood of the crowd, even though we were drenched and had been standing around for over an hour at this point everyone was pleasant and excited. Well, except when it was clear that we were finally getting close to actually seeing some music and a group of young twatty girls pushed their way up towards the already crowded front of the mass of people. I was irritated but the girls behind me were ready to cut some bitches. No Joke!
Finally it looked like Brandon Flowers was about ready to go on stage. And of course, after all that waiting, this was my view. I swear if you want to find unusually tall people take me to a concert, they’ll be directly in front of me.
But then the sky got dark again. The crowd got a little anxious and started chanting “Just one song.” in hopes of luring the artist on stage. We had been standing around through torrential down pours and lightening, enduring a tediously long stage prep session and now it was looking like more storms were coming. They were. Worse ones than before. Our parade was literally about to get trained on….again. Announcements were made that the show was being postponed. The crowd was instructed to go to their cars and wait it out. We were assured that Brandon Flowers would still be performing but my little brother did not believe them. He was pissed to say the least!
This time the previously persistent crowd quickly dispersed but we couldn’t go to the car because my older brother who had the keys was MIA. I’m pretty sure he had taken shelter in the beer tent when the first bout of storms rolled in. I was beginning to think he was the smart one. My sister and her boyfriend had joined us in our soggy wait for Brandon Flowers to take the stage when the rain had originally subsided. The four of us made a mad dash for what little space was left under the three feet of overhang on a drink ordering station (aka bar tent, not to be confused with The beer tent). Being on the outside row we got pelted with giant, cold rain drops. I was shivering. We miserably reminded each other that this is the stuff memories are made of. Meanwhile a slightly drunk woman in the row of people squished behind me (our bodies were being sacrificed for use as human rain shields) looked at me and said “You look a lot like Lena Dunham. You must get that all the time. ”
What? Um, no I don’t and I don’t because. ..I don’t. I have gotten that one other time though, at another concert in Detroit. What are the chances it was the same person both times? So weird!
Eventually it did stop raining and Brandon Flowers did perform. He was worth the wait. The guy is talented and charismatic. Even though his set was shortened he played a good mix of his solo songs and Killers stuff.
After that we danced our soggy selves back home for the night.
Thankfully Sunday was sunny with zero chance of rain.
Saturday night there had been a two foot deep river in front of one if the stages. By Sunday it was magically gone. With the help of copious amounts of straw.
Much like the day before we weren’t in a big hurry and got to Riverfront park in the mid afternoon. Modest Mouse was the show we were all waiting for and they played last.
We watched some bands like Wild Child, a fun little Indy rock group from Texas who were playing their first ever show in Michigan, and Saint Motel then got food & relaxed. Jessica Hernandez played before Modest Mouse and on the same stage. We joined the crowd before she went on mostly to secure a decent spot for Modest Mouse but she was worth watching too.
Neither of my brothers had seen Modest Mouse before even though they’re both long time fans. I had about ten years ago at a smaller venue before I really even knew who they were. Word on the street was that they weren’t that good live. They put on a pretty good show that night though. We were not disappointed.
Unfortunately Passion Pit ended up cancelling their show due to bronchitis or some other lame (though entirely legitimate) excuse.
One of the non-musical highlights of the festival for me was this. ..
Seeing Hot Jewels in action. I had no idea people actually wore those things. I thought they were merely the stuff of late night infomercial legend. Like Pajama Jeans. But there they were affixed to the arms of numerous young female hipsters. It kind of made my day.
Good stuff, good stuff all around!