Fest Recap: Boston Calling Music Festival

Words & Photos by Heather Krut  |  www.hikrut.com

Boston and music fans alike are no strangers to the Boston Calling Music Festival. Boston Calling is a biannual festival that has been around for the past two years and has boasted amazing lineups that have included Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Brand New, Fun., The Shins, and Matt & Kim. For the September 2014 edition of Boston Calling, we were luckily enough to have performances from Lorde, Childish Gambino, Bleachers, The 1975, The Replacements, Nas x The Roots, and Twenty One Pilots. 

However, it would be unfair to say that the Boston Calling Music Festival was just a “normal” festival. Instead, it was a well-organized machine of a festival. They had great food vendor options (which were surprisingly reasonably priced for a festival), a Samuel Adams beer garden, and a lawn area with oversized Jenga and checkers. There was also the Capital One 360 Café, which generously provided attendees with free phone charging stations throughout the area.

The staff was some of the kindest I’ve ever come across, and they made it very clear that they cared about everyone in attendance. Before each band hit the stage on Saturday, “water guy” would grace us with his presence and remind everyone to stay hydrated. With temperatures in the mid-90°s and humidity close to 100 percent, even just sitting in the shade was an exhausting feat. However, Boston Calling so kindly provided concertgoers with a water refill station where they could refill their own bottles or festival-provided cups. EMTs and staff were also on standby for people that were passing out, injured, or dehydrated. They were on top of taking care of everyone even with an impending storm headed our way. 

For those of you that haven’t heard of Bleachers, I advise you to hit your favorite music app and search for Bleachers, “I Wanna Get Better”. It’s catchy and you can’t help but turn it up, dance, and sing along. Jack Antonoff’s second home must be the stage because he always has some sort of project going. Previously it was Steel Train, and while his main project is now Bleachers, most people know him as the guitarist for Fun. Bleachers album, Strange Desire, was released this past July. If you are into or looking for some 80’s/90’s-inspired pop, this album is a must listen, and if you like what you hear, Bleachers is on tour now!

It’s been roughly a decade since The Hold Steady has formed, but they are still going strong. Lead singer, Craig Finn knows how to work a stage and keep the crowd’s energy high even in the heat. Over the last 10 years The Hold Steady has gained steady momentum in the music scene. Teeth Dreams is their newest release that came out in March of this year. If you are into Yo La Tengo or The New Pornographers, The Hold Steady is definitely worth your time.

At roughly 6pm, the previously-mentioned impending storm won the battle and the festival was shutdown. However, it was shutdown in the most impressive way possible. I hand it to those running the Boston Calling Music Festival. They made a judgment call and shutdown an entire festival, ensuring that everyone would be safe including the attendees, artists, staff, and vendors. Advising they would keep us updated, my companion and I headed to safety where we followed along with all the updates and conversation happening via twitter. A community of people came together in a short amount of time. Someone tweeted to the staff that someone had passed out by the front entrance. One Twitter user, @miniCoopDeville joked that “Boston Calling is currently on a thunder and lightening storm hiatus because Lorde is practicing witchcraft in prep for her set”. Amanda Palmer had chimed in saying she was at the North end riding out the storm. And in what felt like no time at all, the festival doors had reopened, greeted by cheers in the streets by those already gathered at the gates. They announced at ~8:30 that Lorde would be going on no later than 9:00 followed by Childish Gambino. 

Lorde and Childish Gambino seemed to be the two most anticipated acts of the entire day, from the talk around the festival. And I assure you that neither artist disappointed. Lorde gave a performance that was exactly what the festival needed to pick its momentum back up where the storm left it. Lorde’s short 50 minute set flew by but was loaded with lots of the expected dancing, hair flipping, and high energy. She checked in on her fans to make sure everyone was still doing well from having to hole up from the storm about half way through her set. Before her performance was over she donned a red hooded cape, in which she performed “Royals” and “Team.”

Moments after her set ended, Childish Gambino wasted no time keeping the crowd going and closed out the second day of the festival with a vivacious performance. He played tracks off of his newest release, Because The Internet as well as his previous works: Royal, Freaks & Geeks, CAMP, and Culdesac. For Gambino fans, he definitely made the performance come alive with his non-stop bouncing from one side of the stage to the other, seeming to get lost in every second of it. If you haven’t heard of Childish Gambino, give him a listen—“Heartbeat”, “Freaks & Geeks”, “Worst Guys”, “v. 3005” are all good choices to get you started in the world of Gambino and get you dancing. 

Sunday was day three of the festival, which seemed to have brought us much cooler weather alongside a calmer tone to the day, but not in the music. 

Ohio-band, Twenty One Pilots, have been touring constantly as of late, and it shows in their live show. The band effortlessly maintained the crowd’s attention. Their rap-charged poppy sound took hold of and owned the crowd. They even managed to throw a few covers into their set, including a cover of “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey. The band will be on tour now until November both in the USA and in the UK.

The mellowed pop sound of The 1975, Manchester (UK) band, immediately followed the Twenty One Pilots performance. They made sure to play their three biggest hits, “Chocolate”, “Girls”, and “Sex”, from their self-titled album that was released this past April. The band will be touring in the USA November through December this year. If you are a fan of Chvrches, they might very well be worth a listen!

I’ve heard a handful of people say they had never heard of The Replacements, so let’s get this out of the way now, The Replacements are a punk band from the 80’s that just reunited last year, playing together for the first time in 22 years! This made Sunday night’s performance a real treat! Their 22-song set was definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it was a great performance that really pulled the mood of the entire day up. How can you not get a boost of energy from loud, fast, and aggressive punk rock?

I was so excited to have been able to be a part of this fall’s Boston Calling Music Festival. It was one of the most well-organized, well-connected, festivals I’ve ever witnessed with some of the nicest staff I’ve ever come across. The Boston Calling Music Festival has had shows in both May and September of 2013 and 2014. You can keep an eye out for on http://bostoncalling.com or https://twitter.com/boston_calling for all updates on future festivals!


Stay Connected

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

 Learn more