The second day of the ninth-annual Boston Calling music festival was undeniably the most stacked with rock and pop royalty of all three days. Saturday was cooler and cloudier, which made it easier to get around to all three stages without getting scorched, but it was still easy to push the limits of human exhaustion with so many great high-volume acts that came out. This was set to be one of my most rocking Memorial Day weekends ever, and I was ready to take it all on.
My day started with the Long Island progressive rock outfit Tauk who rocked out the jazz-fusion instrumentals with extreme smoothness. Then there was a taste of absolutely charming down-home fiddle-loving country music with Lille Mae. Then there was a full turn to high-volume punk rock with Scranton, Pennsylvania’s The Menzingers that brought out the first packed crowds of the day.
One of my favorite bands of the festival played next, and that high-octane act was Oh Sees who are better known by the name of Thee Oh Sees. I’ve been a big fan of them for quite some time now, but to witness frontman and guitarist John Dwyer rev up the audience in person is something magical to experience each time it happens, and the new double drummer set-up cranks up the adrenaline levels to the max. After that was another long-time favorite of mine, the 90’s dream alt-pop band Belly. Frontwoman Tanya Donelly originally formed this band in the early 90’s after ditching two alternative band giants Throwing Muses and Breeders and going it alone with a boldly personal sound, but they only lasted a couple of albums before going bust, only to surprise just about everyone by coming back stronger than ever just a couple years back. They still sound amazing and the new material is an ethereal treat.
The Atlanta indie rock band Manchester Orchestra were next, who really got the audience head-banging and proved that epic jams are still adored by rock audiences. Then the English rock duo Royal Blood pulled out all the stops to get the crowds crazed and rowdy. That was followed by the magnificent indie pop artist St. Vincent, and she was nothing short of angelic and captivating. She was the first act of the day to bring on the huge stage show, but her artsy presence never over-shadowed her stunning songwriting talent. Still, it was hard to top the blistering hot and molten hard rock power of Queens Of The Stone Age. Frontman Josh Homme and his amazing crew rocking out like the pros of stoner metal that they are was one of the highest points of the whole festival.
On the other end of the spectrum, I also caught present day art rap genius Tyler, The Creator who turned out a stunning stage show and was a fascinating artist to behold. Then there was the headliner of the day, one of the biggest alternative rock gods of the world by the name of Jack White. His extensive set and lengthy encore spanned his wide-spanning career from his ground-breaking White Stripes catalogue (including some real deep cuts), as well as tracks from his following projects The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, and many songs from his last two solo projects. His backing band was also stunning, including the magnificent drummer Carla Azar, and even included a sign language artist off to the side of the stage who kind of stole the show at times. A big shout out to Jaju Pierogi for some amazing eats that kept me going on a killer Saturday that left us all exhausted to the core.
Article: Dean Keim