Perhaps by now the dust has settled at West Riverfront Park in Detroit, because as of last night the dust had certainly not settled for the Mo Pop Music Festival day two. The throngs of music fans who traversed the park on Saturday left the landscape bedraggled and the grass all but gone, leaving acres of nearly bare soil underfoot. The result was a great deal of dust in the air during the very warm Sunday afternoon and evening, one that seasoned festivalgoers prepared for by wearing protective bandanas around their faces.
But, no matter, a little dust never hurt anyone and with the hot tunes paired with the hot air, it was a good day for music in Detroit. An early set by Louisville, Kentucky's White Reaper got pulses going early on, with a combination of classic guitar pop kitsch mixed with garage punk swagger. It was a heavy dose of guitar rock mixed with 70s glam hooks that made the band an early favorite.
In some ways, White Reaper and opening act Heaters opened the door for a more guitar-centric day than Saturday, which was heavier on hip-hop than Sunday. Afternoon sets by two Canadian bands - brat-punks Pup and the more nuanced and Juno award-winning Arkells kept the guitar based rock going. Arkells lead singer Max Kerman made for a lively performance, jumping into the crowd and singing along with concertgoers.
Solange perhaps left the deepest impression of the festival. Sure, she's an R&B queen like her sister Beyonce. But Solange's music and her set Sunday night were more understated and mesmerizing. With an abstract set bathed in cherry reds and blue, a full band with horns, intriguing choreography and atmosphere and attitude to spare, Solange owned the evening. "This is such a beautiful night, I'm so grateful to share it with you guys," she told the appreciative crowd.
Of course for hip-hop heads, the day may have been short on quantity but it made up for in quality with Tyler the Creator, who turned in a typically irreverent, profane, and fun-filled set. "If you know the words, sing along," he told the crowd before launching into "Mr. Lonely." "If you don't, just pretend that you do so my ego doesn't get crushed." Tyler's loopy sense of humor added an extra dash of fun to the day's proceedings.
Headliners Alt-J closed the festival in dramatic fashion. The unconventional British trio stood on a set with lightbars separating them. By launching into their eclectic mix of combined electronic and traditional songs like "In Cold Blood," the Mo Pop faithful were rewarded for waiting until the end of the festival for one of the more sonically experimental acts of the weekend.