Boston Calling in Review

Since May of 2013, the multi-stage music festival known as Boston Calling has graced City Hall Plaza’s brick and cement-lined grounds. This year, the event curated by The National’s Aaron Dessner made its way down Storrow Drive and found a new home at Harvard’s Athletic Complex. Despite a handful of Allston-Brighton residents voicing concern over the sound pollution, Boston Calling was made a success with the help of native Boston bands, Grammy award winners, and talent across the board.

Day 1

The self described “Sludgy Jangly Pop” band were the first to take the stage Friday afternoon with a set that signaled a perfect start to the weekend. Although the Boston-based group are accustomed to playing much smaller and more intimate venues, Vundabar’s stage presence translated impeccably onto Boston Calling’s Xfinity stage.

Lucy Dacus
Although Lucy Dacus’ name sat far down the Boston Calling lineup, her future is as bright as any. The Virginia indie-rocker entered onto the festival stage armed with her powerful voice and witty lyrics, eventually winning over her audience and distracting them from the sprinkling of New England rain.

Francis and the Lights
You may not know Francis Farewell Starlite by name, but chances are you’ve heard his work. Through his collaborations with fellow Boston Calling artists Chance the Rapper and Bon Iver, he has amassed quite a discography. Friday afternoon he treated audience members to his quintessential dance moves, and was later joined onstage by Chance the Rapper as the two performed their newest song, “May I Have This Dance.”

Sylvan Esso
When Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn first ventured into Sylvan Esso, they treated it as a side project. Years later and touring on their newly released record What Now, the duo brought their quirky alternative tunes to life at Boston Calling.

Bon Iver
Bon Iver’s set was one of the most anticipated of the weekend, as it was Justin Vernon’s first performance in Boston since the release of his newest album, 22, A Million. When the initial guitar strums of “Skinny Love” began to ring through the festival, the sky erupted into a downpour. Instead of ruining the atmosphere, the rain forced the crowd to forget their inhibitions, leading to arguably the most climactic moment of Boston Calling.

Chance the Rapper
The tempestuous weather did not dissuade fans from dancing through Chance the Rapper’s set in the mud and rain. The Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist truly lived up to his title as he effortlessly closed out night one of Boston Calling.

Day 2

Alexandra Savior
Although the headliners gracing the top of Boston Calling’s lineup are undoubtedly impressive, hidden gems were found earlier in the day. Such is the case with Alexandra Savior. The Portland-based singer took to the stage with her dreamy and atmospheric melodies before most festival attendees had even eaten lunch.

Tkay Maidza
The Australian rapper/singer may be a long way from home, but with a early afternoon slot on the Delta Blue Stage, she got Boston Calling attendees moving.

Moses Sumney
Upon entering Boston Calling’s main stage Saturday afternoon, Moses Sumney joked, “I knew I would make it to Harvard one way or another.” Indeed, the musician gave any PhD candidate a run for their money as he expertly used his voice as an instrument.

Oh Wonder
Although the grounds of Boston Calling were still covered in mud from the prior night’s rain, the sun was shining bright by the time Oh Wonder took the stage. The London-based duo, comprised of Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, have advanced far in the short amount of time since the release of their 2015 debut album. Together they performed new and old songs, entrancing the audience with their gentle harmonies.

Majid Jordan
There’s no denying that Majid Jordan were a highlight from Boston Calling’s lineup. The Canadian duo, composed of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman, paired soulful vocals with electrifying instrumentals, proving they’ve come along way since a feature on Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”

The 1975
As the sun began to set on day two of Boston Calling, a large crowd progressively formed in front of the Delta Blue Stage. Audience members, coming from as close as just around to block to all the way from Canada, eagerly awaited the arrival of the English band. When The 1975 finally took the stage, the screams only grew louder. Throughout their set, festival attendees sang along to hits like “Chocolate” and “The Sound.”

Day 3

Mondo Cozmo
Mondo Cozmo did not let anything, even a lack of sleep, stop them from giving the festival attendees an energetic and spirited set. Together with his band,  Josh Ostrander effortlessly weaved through the notable tune “Shine,” his newly released single “Automatic," and a cover of “Bitter Sweet Symphony."

Mitski Miyawaki, better known as just Mitski, gave a short but sweet performance on day three of Boston Calling. The singer-songwriter captivated the audience with her reverberating instrumentals and impassioned vocals.

Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant’s energy Sunday afternoon was paralleled only by that of their audience. One attendee even managed to jump onstage and dive over the massive barricade into the crowd, prompting a gesture of shock from frontman Matt Shultz.

It was somewhat of a homecoming for Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo when the rock band walked out onto the fields of his alma mater, Harvard. As Weezer closed out the final night at Boston Calling’s Delta Blue Stage, they cemented this year’s festivities into everyone’s memories.
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  2. you guys left out mac demarco and tool???

  3. The executive chef here was a genuinely nice person and never made us feel like we were just "business" for him. He was extremely competent and organized. Because of the natural beauty of the LA venue, we were able to get away with very minimal decorations.

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