Mojostock 2011 Review

We faced a mixture of weather elements on Friday at Mojostock. The afternoon was warm and sweaty, quickly erasing all signs of body freshness early in the day. The temperature dropped a little once the sun set, but later in the evening intermittent rain showers disrupted the schedule on the jam stage. The Skeetones’ 10 p.m. show was postponed due to the unfavorable weather conditions, but they found a window of opportunity to get in a solid set before more precipitation arrived. The Max Allen Band patiently waited for their turn, followed by a rowdy set with Eumatik that closed the first night of Mojostock well past 3 a.m.

The Skeetones perform with a sitar player.

Day time
Earlier in the day, MC Sparkplug (a boyfriend/girlfriend duo from Muncie) caused a small riot of people to run to the jam stage from all directions of the campgrounds, excited for the pair’s quirky, funky emcee skills. Aside from the Heavy Gun Showcase that would happen on Saturday, MC Sparkplug was the only other rap act on the Mojostock schedule and their uniqueness drew a lot of attention.

MC Sparkplug

I popped in and out of the EDM tent all night, working up a sweat and then forcing myself to walk away to hydrate and rest. JIN-XS played a hyper version of “Mad World” by Gary Jukes for a small audience in the 6 o’clock hour who used the plentiful open space on the floor to their full dancing advantage. Later that night, Slater Hogan played a sophisticated set of jams that varied from “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys to a playful rendition of “Bear Necessities”, worked over with that special Slater Hogan housey touch.

Night time

Friday night closer Eumatik played a loud and unruly show that was overflowing with rage- the release of Mojostock anticipation that had been building inside all for weeks. I spent my reserve dance energy on Hot Mess, getting dirty with the masses inside the muggy tent as it rained outside. “They know what we like, and that’s lots of drops. Man do they have a lot of drops!” I over-heard a friend say as they discussed the Ohio dubstep duo’s performance.

Hot Mess

During the Hot Mess performance, one of the DJ’s literally fell through the stage as a result of their rambunctious hype and jumping activity. In a moment of quick-thinking and ingenuity, Mojostock staff put a tall cooler in the hole for the performers to stand on so that the show could go on. Later, the cooler was covered with a board, but remained in place for additional weight support, and the weekend’s remaining acts performed with no reported issues.

Hot Mess continues to perform at Mojostock, despite a hole in the stage.

Saturday I was thankful for Mojostock’s modest size, compared to the gargantuan campgrounds of festivals like Wakarusa, The Electric Forest, and All Good. Nestled into Sleepy Bear’s cozy grounds, it’s nice to be able to hang out in the comfort of your camp-home with a live soundtrack from the jam stage running in the background. Temperatures were high on Saturday, so I spent a lot of time relaxing with my friends under our shade patio. At any given time though, if I stopped to listen hard enough, I could always hear a light thumping radiating from the EDM tent on the other side of the barn.

Jessie and Amy

Jessie and Amy opened Saturday morning of Mojostock at 11 on the jam stage. Their rustic acoustic music and angelic rootsy vocals were the ideal wakeup call to a night of hard raging. Acoustic LIVE Challenge Champions The Knollwood Boys played next, maintaining the gentle wake-up vibes and chillaxing background music as Sleepy Bear’s campers began to rise from their slumbers. In the EDM tent, Turtle Matt served up a soothing set of house music for breakfast.

Steve Webb of The Knollwood Boys

Turtle Matt

Set times
I overheard a lot of vocalized observations about set lengths on the jam stage. “These guys have been on stage for a while, it seems.” “How long are the sets today?” As it turns out, the answer to that question was an hour and a half. “We did it right this time,” Mojostock organizer Jason King told me in a post-event debrief. “Last year we gave most bands 60 minutes on stage and scheduled 12 minutes for changeover between sets. This year everyone got 90-minute sets and 30 for changeover, which made it much easier.”

Heavy Gun Showcase
My favorite daytime set this year was the Heavy Gun Showcase on the jam stage that started just before 5 o’clock. Gateway 2 standout single “Future Ninja” made an early appearance in their set, riling their fans in front of the stage and drawing in curious ears from the sea of tents within earshot. Freddie Bunz and Grey Granite stole the spotlight when they rapped the dramatic “Friday the 13th”- a track filled with so much emotion that Bunz fell to ground and rolled around in seizure-like fashion, ripping up patches of grass and throwing them like sod from the lawn during a metal fest.

Hinx Jones made an impressive impact on the showcase with an especially lofty run of “Hey” that would later persuade me to pick up their album the following week while shopping at Luna. Oreo Jones performed his wildly popular “Cordon Bleu” that invoked enthusiastic crowd participation with every run of the mischievous line “We goin’ universal ham and cheese sandwich. We goin’ ham BITCH!” To up the ante as the 45-minute set came to a close, producer Jay Brookinz appeared shirtless on stage wearing a Michael Myers mask during “Mushroom House” as the remaining emcees bounced around him in disorderly fashion.

EDM Tent
After the Heavy Gun show, I moseyed over to the EDM stage for a drum and bass fix with What The Bleep. Dressed in an appropriate “Junglist” t-shirt, the Bowling Green DJ moved bodies with hard-hitting ragga jungle that left the audience dripping in sweat- no different than when he performed for Altered Thurzday several months back.

Kodama vs. Hollow Point was another high point to my evening in the EDM tent, mixing equal parts dirty dubstep and jarring DnB. With Hollow Point dressed in a festival-appropriate bandana tied around his head and frequent flashings of Kodama’s unmistakable bass face, I knew the pair had come to get down to serious business.

Kodama’s bass face.

There were, of course, other highlights to the night. There was a dubstep epidemic in the tent around midnight, induced by EDM headliner Cyberoptics who’d traveled from his homebase in California.

I also recall a moment of blissful confusion when hoards of glowsticks were broken open and the bright yellow juice inside was thrown across the audience during the Twin Cats headlining show on the jam stage. Suddenly, as I looked around, I realized everyone was speckled with glowing drops of glowstick guts. As The Twin Cats entered the final hour of their set (with special treats planned for a finale that would include new cover songs and guest performers), the festival came to a screeching halt.

Mojostock 2011 Concludes
“First of all, Twin Cats are badass,” King said to a rowdy group of late-night partiers who’d been waiting several minutes in silence for the show to go on. He continued, “But after two full days of raging, the fire marshal has finally asked us to be quiet. That means that this is the end of Mojostock 2011.”

With that, reality set in that we’d just been robbed of an hour of quality time with The Twin Cats. There was still plenty of live entertainment to be seen and heard, however, as fire spinners and acoustic guitar players quickly came to the rescue so that the Mojostock community could continue to thrive well into Sunday morning.

Closing remarks
A few final thoughts, as I file away the last of my Mojostock memories from this year:
• Special thanks to Blue Moon Revue as the unofficial lighter sponsor of Mojostock 2011. “Are they multiplying?” someone at my campsite once asked, looking at the stash that had accumulated on our table. If you were at Mojostock and couldn’t find a lighter, you most certainly were doing it wrong.
• Shout out to whoever left their toaster lying around so that it could be discovered and transformed into this awesomeness:

Toasters are the new poi.

Rage Toast!
• This blog post is dedicated to Cameron Reel who insisted (at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning) that I stay awake and take full advantage of all the prime blogging opportunities that exist at Mojostock.

Danielle Look! Wake UP and write me a blog!

Finally, enjoy this video recap by Nathan Welp:

Photos by KGDesigns, Aaron Lingenfelter & C-Style Photography.