Once again City Hall Plaza hosted a weekend of music, as the Boston Calling Festival raged May 22nd, 23rd, & 24th. The show had a spectacular lineup; headliners included Beck, My Morning Jacket, and The Pixies.
At noon the floodgates opened and the first of hundreds of fans hurdled toward their respective barricades at the red and blue stages to scope out the primo spot. They would linger there without fail until the final acts of the night, and be rewarded with a surprisingly intimate performance, given the massive scale of this twenty thousand person festival.
This festival drew a unique blend of fans. Some younger attendees were at their first festival, light shone in their eyes as they stared up at their idols. And some fans were attending the latest in a lifelong history of forays with festival life. Interspersed among the head bopping, beer drinking, and fist pumping, Boston Calling brought a calmer, folky, fairy-like atmosphere to the normally tourist laden City Hall Plaza. Circles of dancers adorned with flowers and flowing in skirts popped up sporadically. Whether you came for the music, or the party, you were sure to be satisfied.
Three days of music flowed one into the next powered by pop rock and folk rock performances dotted with psychedelic-rock and more blues influenced groups. On Friday, Tame Impala jammed with the city in the waning light. Beck came on stage like a hurricane, bringing fans low and funky with harmonica solos, spoken word, and some unexpected cover songs like “Wipeout.” They then built up the enthusiastic crowd to a massive crescendo of choral cheers to “Where It’s At” in the finale.
Saturday returned with powerful female vocalists; Danish singer-songwriter MØ, the exciting experience that is Tove Lo, festival favorites Marina and the Diamonds, and St. Vincent, who topped off her electro rock with a choreographed robot stage show, deft musical expertise, and hauntingly captivating vocals.
Sunday was full of favorites, old and new. Vance Joy brought glee to the festival with his unabashed smile and infectious lyrics which ran rampant across nearly every face in attendance. TV on the Radio pumped up the crowd expertly with their blend of funky rock. The guys threw out high energy hit after hit to the receptive crowd. This was exactly the cue the audience was waiting for. The oppressive rays of the sun had just set, it was time to let loose and rock!
Tenacious D brought their sass and rocked the crowd with their hits like “Tribute” and “Pick of Destiny.” Black made special effort to dress up for the fans, going through several costume changes marked by his big-cat t-shirts.
Fans expectantly crowded toward the Jet Blue Stage for Pixies Sunday night. Their performance marked a highlight for fans old and new. Pixies logos shown proudly on faded t-shirts dotted throughout the crowd. The set satisfied with performances of nearly all their hits, leaving “Debaser” for the pseudo encore. The veteran group looked happy and at home on the stage, bringing all attendees to their feet and sending many patrons home in a state of rock bliss.