Editor’s Note: This article contains explicit language.
Changing colored lights and the smell of reefer set the stage at U Street Music Hall Nov. 4 for hippy-hop artist and Minnesota native Mod Sun. He proclaimed his love for everyone in the crowd throughout the show and introduced a new song.
Mod Sun performed to a jumping audience of “friends” who sang along and vibed to all of his tracks. He is currently touring the United States on his Pink Lemonade Tour with New Beat Fund and Australian rapper Allday.
Though he is already selling out popular venues in Australia, Allday is touring the U.S. for the first time and making his way into the American rap scene.
“I don’t have a particular message other than my own story, so I hope people just listen to it as they go about their stories,” Allday said. “I’ve been touring Australia since 2012, so coming here is like starting again. It’s fun.”
Before the doors opened, Mod Sun individually welcomed each person in line for the show. Listeners showed off their tattoos of song lyrics and scrap books with photos from every Mod Sun show they’ve attended.
Originally becoming interested in music when Mod Sun was nine, the band Hanson quickly became his biggest inspiration.
“These little kids that were my age were playing to arenas on tour and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s so fucking cool,’” Mod Sun said. “So I picked up drumsticks and all the sudden, it just clicked and I loved it.”
Mod Sun went on to play the drums in punk bands like Four Letter Lie and Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
“I’ve played in bands my whole life playing drums, I wanted to step away from just hands and feet and just wanted to speak,” he said.
Mod Sun said he originally liked touring because it allowed him to get away from home and travel to new places. Now, he just likes getting to meet and talk to his friend-base and hearing about how he’s been able to impact their lives.
“I used to have really bad depression and anxiety and I wasn’t into anything,” said Natalie Turkeuvich, 16, of Alexandria, Va., who has seen Mod Sun five times. “My friend gave me [Mod Sun’s] book and since then, I’ve been all about his music. Now I’m super positive and talk to everybody.”
Mod Sun stands for “modern sunshine” or “movement on dreams, stand under none.” His music radiates positivity and encourages everybody to be their best person.
“It’s the law of attraction; your mentality becomes your reality,” he said. “The greatest fucking gift you can get is being alive, it’s so simple. Dude, you’ve got to look around.”
Mod Sun said he wants his friends to know they can empower themselves and that everyone truly is beautiful.
Just like his favorite musician, Bob Dylan, Mod Sun wants to be looked at as a great writer, too.
“[Bob Dylan] isn’t just someone who’s making music, he’s changing culture,” Mod Sun said. “I’m a martyr in a way. If I can do this, anybody can do this.”
Mod Sun recently published his second book and writes poetry, which he said bleeds heavily into his music. His favorite poets include Jim Morrison and Ken Kesey.
Eventually taking the stage to a cheering audience, the audience danced around to upbeat songs and sang every line.
At the end of his set, Mod Sun proclaimed it was the best night of his life, and everybody who attended the show had become his “best fucking friends in the whole world.”
“D.C. is my favorite city to go run around in after midnight,” Mod Sun said. “After this, I’m just gonna sit on the Lincoln steps and smash a bottle of whiskey.”
“I agree with a lot of what he sings about, free love and being peaceful,” said Karen Rahn, 19, of Winchester, Va. “I definitely think I’m less negative. He’s always talking about positivity and good vibes.”
Afterward, almost the entire audience flooded to the merch stands, the line wrapping around the perimeter of U Street Music Hall.
“I love his music and vibes and just what he’s all about,” said Brianna Minter, 19, of Baltimore. “You just get a good vibe out of being here, it was amazing.”
The night’s message?
Mod Sun left his friends with his best piece of advice: “No matter the negativity you’re presented with, five minutes from now could be your best moment.”
Each person who attended the show, whether or not they were friends when they walked through the doors, left U Street with a smile on their face.
Katie Ebel is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.