With the 1st and 2nd days of Boston Calling behind me, Day 3 promised to be a great finish to a great festival experience so far. The grey rain clouds loomed overhead once again, and I was feeling a bit exhausted, but did little to dampen my spirits. I made my way to the festival a little bit later in order to finally grab a burger and gear up for the day ahead.
First on my list at the Green Stage was another favorite of mine, Hiss Golden Messenger. I wasn’t alone in this sentiment, as I spotted Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner settle into the balcony area to watch the performance as well. Led by MC Taylor, their Americana sound instantly fed my tired, aching body. It was the perfect music to prepare me for the excitement of the rest of the day. Brad Cook on bass, Ryan Gustavson on guitar and Phil Cook on keys anchored the group’s sound and the songwriting/lyrics just spread over me like a warm blanket. If their set was the only one I saw that day, I’d be satisfied.
Another act I was eager to see again was Mitski. The first and last time I saw her, it was as a solo act at Mercury Lounge. This performance, with an added band was just as spellbinding as when I originally saw her. Her confidence and “take no prisoners” approach is what always drew me to her music. She has a lot to say and she’s going to make us listen.
The loudest band of the entire festival was up next at the adjacent stage. Hometown heroes Converge’s metalcore set – while impossible for me to quite understand what they were singing about – was entertaining as hell and certainly got everyone riled up, mosh pit and all.
Taking over the Blue Stage, Scottish band Frightened Rabbit apologized early in their set for ceremoniously dropping the “c word” multiple times. Everyone laughed. Their deadpan humor was refreshing and their indie-rock sound invited everyone to have a good time. I looked around and saw people laughing, tossing beers back and two stepping to the music that spread out across the field.
Another band that was completely new to my ears was local indie-rock band, Piebald. This festival date was something of a reunion of sorts since the band broke up in late 2008. You would have never guessed it by the crowd’s reaction. Overzealous screaming, jumping and flailing were commonplace throughout the entire set.
Approaching the Red Stage, the unmistakable “fist and gun” logo of Run The Jewels was visible in balloon form high above the stage. Killer Mike and EL P has charisma and stage presence in spades, and quickly proved why they are such a hot ticket. For my first time seeing them perform live, I immediately understood why they easily sold out 4 nights at NYC’s Terminal 5.
Cage The Elephant was up next on the Green Stage, and again, the energy from this band was exactly what I needed in that moment. Guitarist Brad Shultz wasted no time climbing into the audience to touch the people, and lead singer Matt Shultz was the epitome of rock star swag, climbing onto and over every single surface while singing his entire heart out.
My final act of the festival was another band I’d never have the pleasure of seeing live, Weezer. Sure I’ve sang “Sweater Song” and “Hash Pipe” more times over the years than I would care to admit, but I never made the leap to see them live. They delivered a satisfying performance, singing the aforementioned tunes, and even throwing in a cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” for good measure. Fans hoisted the “W” into the air with their hands, and for a moment, we were all transported back to the good ole days of the 90’s when everyone was angst filled yet happy.
While this year’s iteration of Boston Calling Festival experienced some inevitable growing pains, these were minor hiccups in an otherwise flawless festival experience. The varied and diverse lineup gave everyone something substantial to enjoy during the 3 day fest, with tons of opportunities to venture outside comfort zones if the need arises. Looking forward to what they cook up next year.
Article: Lesley Keller