PREVIEW | The Boston Calling Festival | City Hall Plaza | 5/25/13-5/26/13

PREVIEW | The Boston Calling Festival | City Hall Plaza | 5/25/13-5/26/13

By: Cassandra Chernin

Next weekend, direct in the middle of the city, Boston will host ‘Boston Calling’ – the first official music festival this town has ever seen. The brain-child of Brian Appel and Mike Snow formally of WFNX and the Boston Phoenix, ‘Boston Calling’ will feature everything from locally renowned Bad Rabbits to Grammy award winning band fun.

While other festivals pack in the acts what truly drew me to this festival was the 18 spectacularly picked artists. Each band or group is quality. The organizers of this festival (helped by the National member Aaron Dessner) picked artists that might not have the big name value but each act has a very special something. So, I’ve picked my top 5 favorites – but go see every band at ‘Boston Calling’ – it is sure to be something special.

Band: The Shins:
It’s relatively simple. Natalie Portman said it in Garden State, and I’ll say it again: “You gotta hear this one song. It’ll change your life. I swear.” While members have changed, lead singer James Mercer remains, and even after a brief (5 years!) interlude with Broken Bells, it is simple: The Shins are back. Their new album, Port of Morrow, really captures James’s lyrical prowess. I’ve heard rumors of lack luster performance, but I refuse to miss the band that coined ‘Australia’ and of course, ‘New Slang’.

Song: Simple Song
“I know that things can get really rough / when you go it alone / don’t go thinking you gotta be tough / and bleed like a stone. Could be there’s nothing else in our lives so critical / as this little home.

Band: Dirty Projectors
If you take the chance to listen to an average Dirty Projectors record, you’ll fall in love. The first song I ever heard wasn’t the oldest record from this eclectic band that has released seven full length albums but after hearing ‘Temecula Sunrise’ – I was hooked. With their pop influenced indie rock and memorable performances, you shouldn’t miss this group.

Song: Swing Lo Magellan
The album came out mid-2012 to considerable praise. You could hear this ease and please song in any time era, in any mood, and fall in love.

Band: Bad Rabbits
With their first full length LP released a mere week ago, these Boston natives on the way to stardom. This might be the last time they play a relatively small show – if they hit TD Garden next I wouldn’t be surprised. A genre bending R&B group, American Love is a great collection of lyrical and beat genius. You can’t help but dance to every tune. Bad Rabbits are also renowned for their on stage presence. You live in Boston, go to see them. That’s all.

Song: Dirty.
It might be ridiculous, it might be a newer song but this is a crowd pleaser to the end of time. I’m ready to dance, are you?

Band: Youth Lagoon
Wondrous Bughouse arrived in late February, early March to amazing reviews and critics alike agreed: this was an album to be remembered. With haunting songs, I’m incredibly excited to hear this album not in my headphones cramped at my desk working and zoning out on the MBTA but full in color, live, and let the sounds just wash over me.

Song: July
Not from the new album, but The Year of Hibernation song that has filled my dreams.
“If I had never let go, then only God knows where I would be know / I made a bridge between us then I slowly burned it / Five years ago, in my backyard I sang love away / Little did I know that real love had not quite yet found me”

Band: fun.
I’m going to say what everyone else isn’t going to say because fun. is just so mainstream and they won on the Grammys, etc. I’m so pumped to hear fun. live. Not only did I grow up with The Format (lead singer Nate Ruess former and catchy project), but I love when everyone knows the lyrics to every song. A crowd makes a show and this crowd is sure to be on point. Yes, some called the new album forgettable, but some called it special and I’m going to vote with them. There is just something about pop-punk with catchy choruses that just gets me. Sorry.

Song: Carry On
I reflect on what I said above. This song is going to be pure epicness: how can you end a show but not with chanting lyrics and guitar solos? I’m not sure.

I’m lucky to start “my music festival summer” off with ‘Boston Calling’ and the incredible line-up. Honorable mentions go to Andrew Bird, Portugal The Man, and MS MR.

Rose Rundown