Words by Sarah Moore
Photos by Timothy Becker
“This is why you come to festivals. This is why you listen and love music – to be together, to jump together.” Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots summed it all up right there on Sunday. He summed up the reason we love festivals, the reason we get excited to stand with hundreds of people and lose control of our bodies in the sway of the crowd. It’s the reason ‘festival season’ is a such a big hit, and why people fly across the country to spend sweaty days jamming out.
The fourth bi-annual Boston Calling was a definite success. For three days City Hall Plaza was filled with people enjoying music, food, beer, games and art. The festival paired up with Sam Adams to host Octoberfest throughout the weekend, stein-hoisting contests happened regularly and German-styled hats were handed out to get everyone in the spirit. The south side of the festival space was turned into a turf lawn to give festival goers another place to hang out and play games like giant connect four and jenga. Compared to many of the monstrous festivals out there that boast ten plus stages and huge amounts of space, Boston Calling’s two stages were a welcome setting for a more intimate experience. Every artist that performed had ample time to play all the big hits along with lesser known songs. No two bands ever played at the same time. There was no choosing which of your two favorite bands you would rather see, you got to see them all.
Friday evening eased everyone into the festival with Future Islands, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The National. As the headliners for Day 1, The National pulled the crowd into their mellow sound, reminding everyone why they were asked to return. The three made for a relaxing intro to the weekend and the warm night made it easy to forget that summer is coming to a close.
Fall has definitely kicked its’ way in though, Saturday’s line-up was interrupted by a crazy storm that forced the hot weather out and Volcano Choir and Girl Talk to cancel their sets. Luckily, the festival’s central location allowed everyone to spend the two hour hiatus taking in the nearby restaurants and bars (or the underground parking garage) and the social media team was awesome about keeping everyone updated on the reopening of festival gates. When the storms cleared up, attendees were right back to it lined up to see Lorde. I have to say, she puts on an impressive show and shows genuine gratitude for her fans. Finishing up the day, Childish Gambino showed off impressive moves to match what we already knew were impressive vocals.
Saturday’s storms led to a much more comfortable Sunday. Early in the day, the Philly based band War on Drugs took us on a journey through a hazy sounding set of indie pop. Next up was Lake Street Drive, the band was high on being in their hometown and the crowd definitely showed them love. Around this time there was a definite shift in the day’s energy, Twenty One Pilots performed with great showmanship as usual and The 1975‘s groupies came out in full force. The first four rows of their crowd were made up of teenaged girls crying and waving pictures/ letters/ needlepoint-art around hoping to be the one who locked eyes with lead singer Matthew Healy. Midway through their performance, Healy pulled one girl on stage and sang with/to her (don’t worry she took a selfie as proof).
Spoon finished the afternoon off, leading to the two biggest names on the lineup: The Replacements and Nas x The Roots. Big names to see at a small festival, neither performance disappointed. From an upbeat rock band to a hip-hop legend, both dug deep into their archives performing classic songs that everyone could get into. Nas in particular celebrated 20 years since illmatic’s release. With the inspiring words of Nas,”I know I can//I know I can//Be what I wanna be//be what I wanna be//If I work hard at it//I’ll be where I wanna be//I’ll be where I wanna be.” Where you wanna be is at the next Boston Calling, I promise.
Full Photo Gallery – Boston Calling 2014