The second installment of Boston Calling took over City Hall Plaza on the first full weekend in September, and once again the festival was a hit. This time around the festival was even set up better logistically. With the two stages facing each other there was plenty of room at each stage for fans to gather and get a good view of the stage.
The festival weekend kicked off Saturday just before 1pm with local vintage rockers Viva Viva who drew an obvious influence from the early days of rock & roll in the 1960’s. Another local act, You Won’t picked things up from where they left off, their indie folk sound blended energy with acoustic jams to create a great atmosphere early on in the festival.
Indie pop act Lucius hit the crowd with a big surprise from their set. The band which features two female co-vocalists got the crowd going and very interested in their sound. Even though they weren’t one of the early buzz bands that initially brought people out to the festival, but the time their set was over many people were talking about them.
Indie rock veterans Okkervill River put on a great show during their set. Blending classics like “For Real” “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe” and “Unless It’s Kicks” with new songs off the recently released “Silver Gymnasium”.
Providence rockers Deer Tick also had a few surprises up their sleeve, one being playing their upcoming album Negativity in it’s entirety 3 weeks prior to it’s release. The other surprise during that set was bringing out pop star Vanessa Carlton for featured vocals on “In Our Time”.
Following Deer Tick, The Airborne Toxic Event took over the main stage with their orchestral influenced alternative rock. The multi-instrumental performance impressed many in the crowd who seemed as if they didn’t know what to expect at first.
Natasha Kahn, known by the stage name Bat For Lashes was up next. Her indie pop set was similar to the stellar performance put on earlier in the day by Lucius. Kahn drew quite the crowd to the second stage for a great performance.
Rising indie rockers Local Natives gave a performance worthy of the hype that has been building up around them recently. The band does a great job of blending multiple genres into their sound, and does an even better job at getting the crowd going during their live performance. Many flocked to the main stage for an opportunity to catch a band that could easily be headlining festivals such as this one, as early as next year.
The Gaslight Anthem took over the Red Stage for what was personally, my highlight of the whole weekend. The New Jersey punk rockers put on an incredible display of energy and emotion in their set. The crowd who gathered at the Red Stage for the set, were blown away by Gaslight’s performance. Frontman Brian Fallon display an amazing ability to command a crowd and make his audience feel his band’s music, not just hear it.
Day 1 was capped off with a fantastic headline performance from festival headliners Vampire Weekend. The band built an incredible setlist that kept every from their biggest fans, to people who knew only a few songs happy. All in all the day was a huge success and while it could have used a bit more diversity musically, the bands that played delivered in a big way.