Words & Photos by Rebecca Kavaler
Massachusetts native band, The Hotelier, kicked off the final day of Boston Calling at the Delta Blue Stage. The band walked onstage and began playing one of the instrumental coordinate songs off of their most recent album, Goodness, which singer Christian Holden mentioned turned had just one year old that Friday. Throughout the set, fans head-nodded to songs such as ‘Two Deliverances’, ‘Your Deep Rest’, and ‘Soft Animal’. When performing ‘Sun’, Holden and his bandmates produced the most beautiful harmonies I’ve ever heard in my four times seeing The Hotelier live. Despite the short set of 30 minutes, Holden was able to thank everyone for coming and throw in a joke as well. Christian said that before their set, there was a giant “W” as a backdrop preparing for Weezer later on, and he was going to introduce themselves as “The Wotelier”. The band closed with ‘An Introduction To The Album’, where, at the climax of the song, a pit opened and people crowd surfed. Highlight of the set: Christian smiling to me after profusely waving and jumping up and down.
PUP, a punk band from Canada, performed right after The Hotelier on Sunday afternoon. PUP’s set was highly anticipated, both for the many fans that gathered and for myself, as I’ve been wanting to see PUP for over a year. Stefan began by introducing the band, then acknowledged that their set was a short one stating “less talk more walk”, then began their opener ‘Guilt Trip.’ Immediately the crowd was exploding with energy. I’ve never seen so many mosh pits and crowd surfers – Stefan being one of them during ‘Old Wounds’. Their set included many songs off of The Dream is Over, which, similarly to The Hotelier’s Goodness, was released a year ago Friday. At one point, I noticed Stefan’s arm was bleeding, but he never addressed it and continued delivering an amazing performance. If that’s not punk, then I don’t know what is.
Converge, a Massachusetts native metalcore band, started their set 20 minutes early on Sunday at the Red Xfinity Stage. Lead singer J Bannon opened the set with ‘Dark House’, and as expected, the pit opened in the middle of the crowd. However, the outskirts of the crowd wasn’t as intense as I had expected – just fans with fast, headache-inducing head-nods. In between songs, Bannon joked that Converge is probably the “weirdest, loudest, and ugliest” band at the festival that day. At one point, some nuts fell off of the drum set, but they were prepared, as “luckily we’re rockers and have a spare wing nut.” Converge’s set included songs such as ‘Trespasses’ and ‘Aimless Arrow.’
Another Massachusetts native on Sunday was Piebald. The set began with ‘King of the Road’, which immediately had people singing along. Next was ‘The Stalker’, where an unknown man came out on stage, dancing around playing cowbell. His appearance was met with confusion, enthusiasm, and laughter, and naturally, he became known as “cowbell guy” among the fans around me. Later, they played ‘Two Rocking Chairs On A Porch’, which Travis Shettel introduced by saying “we’re about to play a song that’s almost 20 years old. It’s almost allowed to have a drink now.” Overall, Piebald put on a great performance with a mix of old and new songs.
Fans were chanting “RTJ” anticipating the duo to come on stage, decorated with giant balloons of their classic logo dangling from the top of the stage. First, DJ Trackstar walked on stage and the hype began further building up. Once EI-P and Killer Mike walked out, they took a selfie with the crowd, then began and the crowd exploded with excitement as they opened with ‘Talk To Me’. They played hits such as ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)’ and ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’, then performed ‘Run The Jewels’ for an encore. It was one of the most high energy crowds I had the pleasure to be a part of this weekend.
I don’t know where to begin with Cage the Elephant besides “wow.” Prior to Sunday, I knew some of their songs, but I wasn’t a huge fan. However, frontman Matt Shultz had me leaving the Green Boston Calling Stage in awe of his immense energy and stage presence, unable to shut up about how amazing the set was. They opened up with ‘Cry Baby’, and in between running and jumping back and forth on stage, Shultz looked up at the sky and hocked a loogie into the air. He then stuck out his tongue and opened wide, trying to catch it back in his mouth (he unfortunately was not successful). After few songs in, the first few notes for ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ rung out and the crowd surged forward. The band’s final songs included some of their hits: ‘Cigarette Daydreams’, ‘Shake Me Down’, ‘Come a Little Closer’, and lastly, ‘Teeth.’
Weezer gathered a huge crowd as the sky went from light to dark on Sunday evening. The bleachers by the Delta Blue Stage were completely filled with fans and the crowd on the grass spanned all the way back to the food tents. Their set opened up with ‘Hash Pipe’, then went into the classic ‘My Name is Jonas.’ A few songs later, I was pleasantly confused and surprised to hear a cover of Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya.’ When performing ‘Thank God for Girls’, a slideshow of powerful women such as Michelle Obama, Oprah, Emma Watson, Beyoncé, and more was shown on the mega screens. Weezer closed their awesome set with classics ‘Say It Ain’t So’ and ‘Buddy Holly.’
I’ve never seen a band as highly anticipated as Tool. The demographic of the crowd was very different from that of the first two days – older, wearing a lot of old metal band tees – and they were clearly at the festival for Tool. It’s understandable – they haven’t toured in 14 years, and it seems like they’re making a comeback, so fans from all over gathered for this event. I met a couple who came all the way from Seattle just to see Tool. They planned on seeing them back at home, but they explained that their concert sold out in 4 minutes! Tool’s fanbase is very dedicated.
Tool’s set began with some ambient sounds including a kick drum and the guitarist running the pic along a string. Before Sunday, I knew nothing about Tool except that they are a metal band from the 80’s, so when their set opened up with ‘The Grudge’ and I could hear singing but saw no singer, I was very confused. With the help of my zoom lens and a nice man next to me, I discovered Maynard James Keenan in the back of the stage with no spotlight, wearing an outfit similar to a SWAT suit, however most SWAT suits don’t have a Starbucks logo on the front of it reading “I [heart] Guns & Coffee.” There weren’t any mosh pits that I could see, however a pit of mud to my left became an area for some fans to flail their arms around. The graphics Tool had were amazingly terrifying, trippy and artistic videos that made me uncomfortable to look at, but at the same time so beautiful I couldn’t stop myself.
As I made my way out of the crowd later in the night (which took forever – never seen so many people in a crowd!), I passed a man hysterically crying. Concerned, I approached and asked the man if he was okay and what was wrong, and was met with inaudible moans and cries in return. I pushed further asking if he was just so happy to see Tool, and he replied with more moans and cries, but this time with a nod in agreement. The commitment and love the fans had for Tool was amazing to see, and I can only hope I have that much enthusiasm when I’m older.