With Boston Calling concluding Sunday, Boston got to experience a great slew and variety of the top artists over time and now. From Beck’s slaying performance the first night of the festival to the ladies dominating Saturday, it was a great weekend. You can’t speak about Boston Calling either without mentioning the insane performance that Pixies did to close out the festival that went to the length of a third encore. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though so let’s take it back to opening night!
The night started off on a soft sweeter note with Sharon Van Etten. Before she took the stage, there was a crowd of about four hundred people but by the time Sharon finished her first song, the crowd had at least tripled. Opening with “Serpents”, she played a short but sweet around thirty five minute set. It was a smooth opening to the raucous night that was to follow. It was a low key warmup to what was to come next with bedroom fuzz Australians, Tame Impala.
Following Van Etten’s set, the young guys in Tame Impala took the stage. Tame has a very mellow stage presence but that’s the way their music should be presented. They make their incredibly intricate music seem incredibly easy to play. They played a ten song set that began with about a ten minute introduction that was very reminiscent to the way Death Cab For Cutie began their set last spring at BC with “I Will Possess Your Heart”. It really gave a natural way for the crowd to get amped up for the magic that was to come ending with the lead singer, Kevin Parker, saying “Thank you! Hello, Boston.”
The set then continued into tracks off Lonerism like “Why Won’t They Talk To Me” and my personal favorite “Elephant”. The latter got probably the best reaction from the crowd thus far and kids were bobbing their heads within the first few notes. After finishing it out, Kevin yelled ‘I can’t hear you’ despite the overwhelming screams and whistles through out the song from the audience. Ending on Apocalypse Dreams, he then called out ‘Thank you so much Boston’. Kevin acted as the voice piece for the band for the whole set despite barely speaking but the kids in the crowd still completely ate up their set. I really like how Tame Impala depends on their music solely to make fans, not witty banter.
To end off the first night of the first Boston Calling of the year, we got treated to lifelong musician Beck! Fresh off a Grammy win for Album of the Year with “Morning Phase”, I was sure the set would be filled with more of his mellow tracks but his set was a beautiful surprise. Yes, Beck played mellow stuff but he also rapped, engaged in group chants and showed the true rock god that he is. Starting off with “Devil’s Haircut”, Beck had the crowd’s attention right from the beginning. Going right into “Black Tambourine”, he continued his upbeat performance through the whole set.
With his sixth song of the night, “Hell Yes”, Beck began to break out his surprisingly excellent rap skills. He just really does everything. He is just straight up cool in black skinny jeans, a leather jacket and a big hat. He just exudes rock star. He has such a wide range and put on a very impressive set to finish off night one of this now legendary festival. Check back for our review of Saturday and Sunday from the festival as well as interviews with aussies DMA’s and Boston royalty The Ballroom Thieves!
Photos by John Hutchings, like Mosh Pit Report on facebook for additional photo content: