There was music spilling out into the many cross streets of the Government Center area in downtown Boston Friday night at the start of the 4th semi-annual Boston Calling Music Festival in City Hall Plaza. This year’s lineup features The National, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lorde, Nas w/ The Roots, The Replacements, Bleachers, Spoon, and many others.
This year’s festival comes with a few new perks for folks, one being an updated Sam Adams sponsored beer garden with Octoberfest, pretzels, and sausages available along with other German flair. People are encouraged to dress up, no bar maids or lederhosen have been seen thus far.
Live visual art is another one of the new additions. Five winners from the Blank Canvas contest were given the opportunity to create 36×60″ works of art inspired by the festival. Not for everybody but those part of the VIP crowd have an option to treat themselves to some pretty tasty complimentary bites by Citizen Public House.
I entered the show as Neutral Milk Hotel, a well put together orchestrated ruckus, and pulled out lots of crowd favorites including “Two Headed Boy”. It was my first time seeing them and while I wished I had seen them more in their hay day they still did a good job connecting with the audience.
The National closed out the night with the most technical lighting and visuals I’ve see them with and digging deep into their catalog playing tracks going all the way back to their second album. The drum solo going into “Squalor Victoria” and the piano intro introducing “Pink Rabbits” truly excited me even as someone who has seen The National several times.
Mid set the crowed sang along to an acoustic version of “Vanderlyle”. I wasn’t crazy about the sound the first night especially when it comes to The National who hang more on their sound then a crazy live show. It still held my interest though and overall I had a great first night.