Boston Calling’s second year at The Harvard Athletic Complex was about as far from a Sophomore Slump as you could get. Anyone who came for year two would be shocked to learn that issues like poor cell service, long lines for food vendors and rough sound quality plagued the festival last year. And those who came back for year two would certainly be thrilled to see these problems fully fixed and even more excited to see the details that made year one great—things like the ferris wheel, art instillations, and creative lyric displays—still fully present during year two.
Then, of course, there was the music. On Friday, Big Thief put on a set that showcased soon to be recorded material, Maggie Rogers sounded crisp as ever, and The Killers played their hits to an incredibly enthusiastic crowd. For me the highlight was the always somber, always tight and always engaging gentleman from The National. Their set got progressively darker as the sun continued to set, showcasing the band’s incredible attention to detail. The Menzingers and Manchester Orchestra kept things rocking Saturday, but that day belonged to the perpetually intriguing St. Vincent, who stole the show before the sun even set with her performance that was as visually stunning as it was sonically. Sunday opened with an arena acoustic set from Julien Baker, one of the most talented singer-songwriters of the 21st century. On the Green Stage a set from local favorites Weakened Friends flowed nicely into some tracks from Perth-based psych-rockers Pond. The Canadian Indie Pop band Alvvays, who played the adjacent Red Stage, also proved to be a nice addition to the literal and metaphorical chill feeling on Sunday afternoon. After that I caught The Decemberists, who embraced the rain and general atmosphere of 2018 in a set that was much stronger than I was expecting. People faced a difficult choice between Fleet Foxes and Khalid, but everyone left happy as neither act disappointed. And then Eminem was…well…he was Eminem if you’re into that.
As always we got to speak with some amazing bands like Pond, Zola Jesus, Weakened Friends, Charly Bliss, and This Is The Kit. We’ll be publishing all of our Boston Calling interviews soon, but we wanted to share this one with you right now! Take a listen to our chat with Portugal. The Man. I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed Boston Calling!
(Featured Banner Photo Credit: Ty Johnson)