Mo Pop Festival 2015 Part II: Coasts, King Tuff, James Bay, Atlas Genius, and Iron & Wine feat. Ben Bridwell
As much as I loved the first part of my Saturday at Mo Pop, I was particularly excited to see the bands that packed the last half. There were a few that I had been waiting to see for some time and had missed because of one reason or another. After snagging another bottle of water, I headed to the Grande stage.
Coasts is a band that I’ve been wanting to see since I got to review their A Rush of Blood EP back in late 2014. The band kicked off their set with “Wallow” which had actually been stuck in my head all day. I had been scribbling notes all day so that I wouldn’t forget anything but I couldn’t help but abandon that as I got swept up in the infectious atmosphere Coasts was creating with their set. I wasn’t the only one either, the sea of people in front of the stage danced and sang along with me to every track that the British quintet packed into their short but amazing set. Can’t wait until Coasts makes it back to Michigan.
I had used up the last of my energy dancing to Coasts’ set so it was off to the festival’s Food Truck Alley to grab a bite to eat. There were so many great choices but I finally settled on the Hero or Villain van, which specializes in some killer gourmet sandwiches. With my Mario sandwich in hand, it was off to the Fender Premium Audio stage to catch King Tuff. The garage rock and beachy vibes of King Tuff’s set were perfect for the riverside venue and, along with my amazing sandwich, helped get me ready to face the rest of my day. King Tuff, aka Kyle Thomas, even took a moment to wish his mom a happy 60th birthday before asking the crowd to sing to her. He was also surprised to find that they had a half hour longer than they had planned for. I particularly loved when they played “Madness” and have had the song on repeat for days now.
I heard a lot of buzz about James Bay’s set throughout the day so it was no surprise when the audience that packed itself in front of the Grande stage went crazy when he came out and jumped immediately into the upbeat “Collide.” While I had given a passing listen to Bay’s album Chaos and the Calm I was glad to get the live experience before really taking the time to check it out. Bay gives quite the lively performance, rocking out with his guitar and dancing as much as he can to keep the audience involved. Everyone went particularly nuts when his single “When We Were On Fire” started, singing as loud as they could back at the English singer. Bay’s set was invigorating and had me going back to give his album another listen, and another and another. I’d definitely get out to see him again the next time he’s in the area.
Atlas Genius was one of the few acts playing the festival that I had actually seen live before and one of the bands I was most excited to see. I have fond memories of watching the Jeffery brothers rock Saint Andrew’s Hall back in 2013 and was reminded of that as soon as the boys took the stage. It was great seeing so many other fans supporting the guys and singing along to every track. Their set was a great mix of old songs and new ones that will be on their upcoming album Inanimate Objects which drops on August 28th. Hearing my favorites like “If So” and “Trojans” live was a treat and getting a taste of the new music to come was also pretty amazing. The crowd went particularly nuts when the guys busted out a cover of “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).” It’s only been a week but I’m already itching for another Atlas Genius concert.
I had checked the weather that morning and there was a very slim chance of rain. There were some ominous clouds before doors opened but mostly they just served to keep the sun at bay and the day almost pleasant temperature wise. The day took a turn however just before Iron and Wine featuring Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses took the stage. I had made it to the VIP tent to grab a seat before the set and the downpour started just as I got under cover. This, of course, delayed the set and soaked a lot of people though it didn’t seem to deter anyone from having a great time.
Iron and Wine and Bridwell eventually took the stage, all smiles as they looked out at the soaked faces in front of them. The guys were out in support of the cover album, Sing Into My Mouth, they had just released together. I had worried that the mostly mellow set the duo was going to put on would be a rough one to get through just because I was so tired. Honestly, I was pretty excited to get to see Iron and Wine and Bridwell perform together and their interactions and performance was quite enjoyable so there was no worry of losing steam through it. They kicked off their set with “Done This One Before,” originally by Ronnie Lane, before going into one of my favorite Band of Horses songs, “Slow Cruel Hands of Time.” The good times were not to last though as the rain started back up on the fourth song of the set, eventually reaching downpour status and putting a halt to the duo’s set. I was sad to see them go but happy that I at least got a few songs as they would be the last of my Saturday.
The downpour continued off and on for about 2 hours finally coming to what we all thought would be a halt. The crew had begun to set up for Brandon Flowers on the small stage when some very dark clouds starting to roll in. I checked my phone and saw that the rain was going to start back up again and push the last two acts back at least another hour so after debating about it for a while I decided that it was best to just head out and get some rest before the next day. It started pouring again when I got about halfway to my car and I ended up finding out that everyone had been ask to leave because of the lightning in the area anyways. Flowers and Chromeo eventually took the stage and as sad as I was to not have caught them, I was happy to get a little extra rest before my next big Mo Pop day.
Don’t forget to check out our other recaps:
Part I of our Mo Pop recap featuring George Morris, Coin, Ryley Walker, Ex Cops, and Natalie Prass
Part III featuring ELEL, Sonny & the Sunsets, Dreamers, GIVERS, In The Valley Below, and Viet Cong
Part IV featuring Wild Child, The Front Bottoms, Saint Motel, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, and Modest Mouse