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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Boston Calling September 2014: Day One recap

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A huge crowd took in The National at City Hall Plaza

Crowds gravitated toward the Jet Blue stage as Future Islands began to play at 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 5, the first day of Boston Calling. Their synth-pop sounds filled City Plaza with music, and it rebounded it off the city skyscrapers that cradled the festival in the heart of Boston. 
Future Islands was not the same band one hears on their recorded work. The somewhat docile songs soared higher, and the rhythm section punctuated like any seasoned arena rocker would. 
After the energetic and well received set, the crowd began to thin as attendees stocked up on Angry Orchards, and was not entirely reassembled by the time the next act began to play.
A lone, heavily-bearded man walked out on stage. An individual in the crowd said, “That’s him. Such a little guy.” Their friend answered, “A little guy with a big heart.”
They were referring to Jeff Magnum, who began to play his acoustic guitar, was soon joined by the rest of Neutral Milk Hotel, a group that had temporarily reformed to tour after a decade long hiatus.
Some of the songs, with their slow, ambient builds, were somewhat of a mellowing agent for the crowd, especially following the energizing performance of Future Islands. But still, there was a certain sense of appreciation for the sentimentality in the air.
At one point, accordion player Jeremy Barnes dedicated a song to his grandmother. 
Someone in the crowd said, “This is sad. We’ll probably never see them again.”
Concluding the night were melancholic and popular indie rock group, The National. At this point, some of the older attendees pushed forward. There were a wide range of ages present at the first night of Boston Calling. 
The band had an elaborate light show, with lasers, fog machines, and digitally manipulated footage of the band, playing on giant screens beside the Jet Blue stage.
The band had an active stage presence, except for singer-songwriter and frontman, Matt Berninger, who was still, sometimes downward looking, singing his barely discernible baritone lyrics into the microphone.
Away from the stage, hordes of people sat cross-legged while the food and beer stands were running strong. For those with rumbling stomachs, there was an assortment of carnival food; pretzels, fried dough, as well as sandwiches and more. 
Cat Monica, from Peabody, said that she “enjoyed the music of the festival and that is was a lot of fun.” Her favorite act of the night was Future Islands because “they were so danceable.” She is going to all three nights of Boston Calling.
Derek Rocha, who attends Boston College Law School, said that he liked Future Islands the most of the three bands that played.
“By default. Neutral Milk Hotel dragged on. The National was too slow.”
Erica Willis, a recent UMass graduate, said that the lineup for the Sept. iteration of Boston Calling was similar to May’s, in the sense that there are artists playing from many different genres. Her favorite of the night was The National. 
The first night was a rousing success, and the festival rolled its momentum into the next two days.