The September edition of Boston Calling usually sees a rather diverse line-up musically. This September was no different; however rock music was well represented at Boston Calling in a wild weekend that saw everything from a mass evacuation to a band’s first Boston area appearance in over 20 years.
Friday night, indie rock got top billing as rising stars Future Islands opened the weekend with an absolutely wild and unique set, quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Vocalist Samuel T. Herring is a madman with a stage presence that you won’t see in many places.
Indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel were next, the band requested that no one photograph them, professionals or fans with the phones. But some people tried anyway, when security attempted to stop them, frontman Jeff Mangum spoke up for his fans and told the event staff it was okay and to let it go. The recently reunited band rattled off classics from their two albums that had much of the crowd singing along.
Opening night was headlined by one of indie rock’s biggest names, The National. National guitarist Aaron Dessner has co-curated the festival since it’s inception in 2013 and his band was making their 2nd appearance as headliners. The National made an early statement with an outstanding performance that included songs like “Slow Show,” “Don’t Swallow the Cap,” and “I Need My Girl.”
Saturday’s line-up focused primarily on pop music with acts like Sky Ferreria, Lorde, and Childish Gambino. But also found some time for rocking with the indie act Bleachers, the side project of fun. Guitarist Jack Antonoff. Bleachers brought a sound similar to indie rock giants The Killers and his set brought the crowd to life during the late afternoon hours.
As far as rock music is concerned, Sunday was the day to be at Boston Calling. With legends like The Replacements, The War On Drugs, and Spoon sharing the stage with rising stars like White Denim, Twenty One Pilots, and the 1975 there was a little bit for everybody to enjoy. Early in the day, White Denim got things rolling with a blistering, rocking performance that set the tone for the day to come. Highlights of the day were an incredible set by twenty one pilots that drew nearly the entire festival crowd to their stage for an incredible performance that left the whole festival talking.
Other high points in the day were the exciting set by British pop rockers the 1975 who brought the energy level of the festival to new highs. Also the return of the legendary punk rockers The Replacements who were playing their very first show in New England since 1991.
Although the weekend consisted of a very diverse line-up of music throughout the weekend, it was clear that festival organizers wanted to make sure rock music still had a significant place in the line-up, and that they did.