Mo Pop Festival 2014 Part I: Flint Eastwood, MisterWives, and Bear Hands

I knew as soon as I saw the list of bands that would be playing this year’s Mo Pop Festival that there was no way that I couldn’t go. With a great mixture of bands that I had wanted to see for years and newer bands that had just recently made my concert wishlist, I knew that Mo Pop was probably going to be my favorite concert event of the year. The festival went off without a hitch, even the rain held off until the last band at the small, open stage was just about finished with their set. Fans that attended could see all 14 bands that were playing as well while enjoying craft beer and some great local eats. For me, it was all about the music. So begins part one of my five part review of Mo Pop.

What better way to start our Mo Pop experience than with our favorite local band, Flint EastwoodWith pistols up, we danced and sang along, forgetting about the heat and exhaustion while getting pumped for the rest of the day. Most of the people gathered around the small Harmonie Stage had never had the Flint Eastwood experience and it always excites me to watch them react to it.

I have to say that “Angels” is quickly becoming my favorite song to experience live. Jax dedicated the song to her recently departed mother when we saw them play their first headlining show back in January and it was a powerfully emotional experience. I recently just lost someone very dear to me and hearing this song definitely brought back the pain of losing them as well as the gratefulness I have for having that person in my life. I can’t wait to see what these guys have coming in the next year. I’m sure it won’t be too long before they’re the ones headlining Mo Pop.

I was glad to get another chance to see MisterWives play live as the last time we saw them I was exhausted after a night of basically no sleep and couldn’t really enjoy the experience. With their ability to get the crowd up and dancing and their summery sound, they were a great followup to Flint Eastwood and really a great addition to a summer music festival in general. Everyone went crazy for Jesse Blum’s trumpeting as he tuned it up before their set even started to give you an idea of how pumped everyone was to see the show.

“Reflections” in particular had the crowd forgetting the heat and moving to the music. Even when MisterWives slowed it down the crowd was still moving to their infectious beats. Mandy Lee’s voice is a wonderful mix of pop and that Nashville charm that makes it completely unique. Throw in her energy and and the wonderfully upbeat and catchy tunes that MisterWives produce and you have a wonderful live experience that I would be more than happy to have again.

After hearing Bear Hands’s “Giants” all over the radio and getting to hear the guys give an interview on Alt Nation, I was pretty excited to finally get to see them live. The floor of the amphitheater was buzzing with excitement when we grabbed some seats, going crazy as soon as the announcer came out to announce the band. I found myself wishing that I had learned the entirity of their album before the show so that I could join in and sing at the top of my lungs like so many other fans. I had assumed that Dylan Rau’s voice had to be manipulated to get the sound that they achieved on their album Distraction, but that isn’t the case. He’s just a talented dude with a lot of energy to keep the crowd up and going through their entire set.

Hearing “Agora” and “Bone Digger” performed live made me really love those songs more. I knew enough of “Bone Digger” to sing along with the track and thankfully I know all of “Giants” so I was able to sing at the top of my lungs as Bear Hands closed out their set. That catchy hook was stuck in my head all day and my cousin and I would randomly bust it out between sets to keep our energy up for the rest of the day. I can’t wait for these guys to come back to town for a longer set. I can tell you I’ll definitely know all their songs by then.

The first three bands were a great way to kick off Mo Pop Festival. Great energy and catchy songs made me almost forget just how hot it was and got me pumped for the rest of the day.

Part II featuring Wild Cub, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and Hundred Waters
Part III featuring Cold War Kids, Bad Suns, and Trampled by Turtles
Part IV featuring Tokyo Police Club, The Neighbourhood, and Lord Huron
Part V featuring Young the Giant and City and Colour