For its second year, Boston Calling took over the turf covered fields of the Harvard Athletic Complex for three days of music, comedy, and in a new addition: a film portion curated by Natalie Portman. Over the course of the weekend Boston’s predictably unpredictable weather ranged from a sunny and sweaty 90 degrees, to a brisk and rainy 50 degrees. However, no day was too hot or too cold for festival attendees to enjoy Boston Calling’s diverse lineup.
On Friday, Brooklyn rockers Charly Bliss kicked things off on the Blue Stage. Bringing a youthful energy, they invigorated the crowd and prepared them for the plethora of music yet to come. Across the festival grounds, the red stage was being set up for Perfume Genius, who had already amassed a sizable crowd of dedicated fans. By the time he took the stage, decked out in a white ensemble, the crowd had only grown. Throughout his set he treated audiences to his entrancing synth-laced melodies and mind-bending contortions. Many fans decided to stay at the red stage between sets to maintain a good position for Maggie Rogers’ set. The musician had released her new tune ‘fallingwater’ only a few days prior, and her set was sure to be full of new music and old favorites. With a 55 minute set and only a handful of songs already out in the world, Rogers’ time was filled with even more new music than expected and a served as a chance for those who weren’t yet familiar with her celestial songs to fall madly in love. Later, Maggie Rogers joined The National on stage for a rendition of “I Need My Girl”.
As the gates for Saturday opened, the Blue Stage was quickly swarming with fans excited for Tyler the Creator’s performance later in the evening. However, this demographic was treated to a slightly different genre of music as Mount Kimbie took the stage. In concert, the electronic duo transitions into a full band and transforms their beat driven tracks into live masterpieces which served as a perfect soundtrack to the bright afternoon. Later, with rugs laid out and welcoming lighting positioned, Daniel Caesar took the stage for an intimate set that strangely made a football field feel more like home. After his performance, and if one managed to make their way out of the crowd as Brockhampton fans pushed their way forward for what would be the group’s last performance before canceling all summer shows, St. Vincent took to the Green Stage. Before diving into “New York”, the musician went into an a capella rendition of the song, replacing New York sights with Boston scenes. Her peculiar visuals and ever changing guitars were not distractions, but enhanced her performance of electrifying tunes.
Sunday saw intermittent bursts of rain and a temperature that was well too cold for late May. However, as Zola Jesus walked on stage, dressed in layers of flowing red material and armed with her dark pop discography, she brought back the warmth. With a short, but surely sweet and mystifying set, the musician signaled a great last day of music. Dirty Projectors were next to take the stage. After a couple songs filled with a brief technical malfunction, the indie rock band proved themselves to an audience of longtime listeners and unfamiliar music aficionados alike. Over on the Red Stage, Alvvays treated festival attendees to their indie pop delicacies, despite the cold, rain jacket suggestive environment. The rain truly started coming down as Khalid closed out the Red Stage once more with a set of his chart topping tunes.