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Mo Pop 2018 Saturday pics (Bon Iver, Vince Staples, Curtis Roach, more)

The 2018 edition of Mo Pop Festival kicked off on Saturday (7/28) at Detroit, MI’s West Riverfront Park. Bon Iver headlined the festival’s first day with what Detroit Free Press says was their “first area performance in a decade”:

“We’ve never played Detroit proper,” [Justin] Vernon said Saturday. “Which is f—— stupid.”

Long-waiting fans were rewarded: Operating at his musical control station at center stage, headphones clamped over his ears, Vernon shepherded a 90-minute set of yearning, spiritually restless work that was rustic and cosmic at once. Deploying sequenced loops, a vocal-morphing harmonizer and his world-weary falsetto, the Wisconsin musician concentrated on songs from 2016’s “22, A Million” amid selections of earlier material.

At one point Vernon mused aloud about tailoring a message for those who bristle at “people that are different than them.” He returned to the theme as he sat at a piano for “00000 Million” and its poignant, poetic take on reckoning with life’s trials.

“There’s all of us, and there’s all the people, and then there’s just one person,” he said. “That one person is everybody too.”

Bon Iver’s gorgeously lit performance put a visual and sonic flourish on the first of Mo Pop’s two days just west of downtown. Two stages hosted 11 acts — sets timed for no overlap — to provide a live soundtrack to the best day of weather Mo Pop has enjoyed during its four years on the riverfront.

Saturday at Mo Pop also featured sets from Vince Staples, HOMESHAKE, Alvvays, S. Carey, Shortly, Clairo, Billie Eilish, local rapper Curtis Roach (who’s picked up some recent buzz for his Highly Caffeinated project) and more. Check out pictures in the gallery above.

photos by Christian Heinzel

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