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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Boston Calling September 2014: Day Three recap

Nas closed out the festival on a high note

There was no trace of the rain from the night before, and the third day of Boston Calling, on Sept. 7, was sunny. The Sunday lineup had some of the most entertaining performances of the festival.

Local group Gentlemen Hall were the first up, displaying their unique spin on shimmering indie pop, uniquely featuring the inclusion of a flute and piccolo.

Boston Calling staffer and Worcester resident, Jeff Pierson, who was working the Samuel Adams tent during the act, enjoyed the show. “They were good. They had a crowd a lot bigger than some acts had yesterday, and they played early.”

San Fermin played next. The band is the pop rock realization of composer Ludwig-Leone, complete with two vocalists, strings, and horns. Carolyn Swanhall who lives in Boston said about them, “Gotta’ love me a band with brass.” One of their songs, “Sonsick,” had an uplifting and highly catchy chorus.

Diane Demarco said, “the interaction between their male and female vocalists was interesting.”

Demarco was running the stand for the food truck Cupcakory, of which she is the baker and owner. She said the Cookies and Cream cupcake had been the number-one seller at the festival.

Along with Demacro’s Cupcakory, there were three other food stands of worth at the festival; Tasty Burger, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, and Bon Me. Of particular note is the “Green Monster” from Roxy’s– a grilled cheese with bacon and avocado.

The attendees were flocking in as White Denim was getting gritty. The band combined grooving garage rock, progressive rock, and punk rock, but always maintained that pure rock n’ roll swagger.
The band hit the spot, where the quintessential summer rock festival band is concerned, right around the time when the temperatures started to rise.
Up in the press area, between the columns of Boston City Hall, curved a cool breeze. Down below, The War on Drugs swirled synthesizers and ambience. The singing of Adam Granduciel devolved to shrieks amidst shattering shoegaze.

Boston band Lake Street Dive is helmed by the soulful Rachael Price. Jessie Anja, from Brewster, MA, described them as “Old-timey but modern at the same time.” They were the band she had been most excited to see.

Coincidently, Anja initially heard the band on 1170 WUMB radio, and she grew up in Minneapolis, near the band’s namesake, Lake Street and its bars.

Price had the best quote of any performer at the festival, “People think we are this debaucherous rock band, but the truth is we are actually pretty nerdy. But after you have made a lot of good decisions, you are allowed to make some wrong ones, especially if you are in Boston. So we plan on making some wrong decisions, and we encourage you to do the same.”

Walking out on stage wearing ski masks was twenty one pilots, as the sun was beginning to lower behind the Jet Blue stage. Gimmick notwithstanding, the band was one of the most entertaining performances of Boston Calling.

Their music might have erred as too poppy, often relying too much on fist-pumping trance sounds, was made interesting by the live-setting beats, rigorously smashed out of the drumset by Joshua Dun.
Additionally, the rapping flow and spoken word of singer/rapper Tyler Joseph were surprisingly masterful to the point of being out of place alongside the more mainstream choices.
Smoke jets exploded upwards during key song moments. There was coordinated theatrics, like Dun playing on a drumset whose platform was held up by crowd members, a backflip, and Joseph ran off the stage and onto the railing in the VIP section to finish the song.

When asked whether or not he knew this was going to happen beforehand, Dave Bruce, a man near the stunt said, “No, I was just chilling here!”

Friend Jason Rollins chimed in, “Second favorite band – second favorite band. The first is Guns and Roses.”

Droves of fans appeared for the appearance of The 1975, achieving the loudest decibels of sound for singer and heartthrob Matthew Healy. Healy’s heartfelt vocals were central to the band’s anthems. A girl from the crowd was asked on stage and documented the scene with her smartphone.

While Hailey Swope from Ringe High School considered this “really cool,” another concertgoer thought it was cheesy, and a metaphor for technology increasingly acting as a barrier in the way of real experience.  

At dusk, Indie rockers Spoon had a solid performance, and played favorites like “The Way We Get Better.” They looked somewhat lackluster in comparison to the higher-intensity acts of the festival.

“They played “Inside Out,” a song off the new album. It has a different feel that is a little more modern than their other work,” said Maddison McEvoy, a student in the Nursing Master’s Program at Boston College.

By nighttime, hard-rocking veterans The Replacements were the loudest of the lineup. Greg Walsh is a big fan of The Replacements and he thought, contrary to their notoriety for an unpolished delivery, that they were in great form, jokingly attributing Dave Minehan, Boston native and new addition to the band, as “keeping them in line.”

The final act of September’s Boston Calling was Nas x The Roots. The execution of this was first a Nas set, followed by The Roots, with a couple songs overlapping in the middle. This was disappointing for those who wanted to see more of a collaboration.

The crowd for Nas rivaled the biggest of any at the festival. He notably played songs from “Illmatic,” which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Nas got hundreds of hands moving in the air from side-to-side.

The Roots took over and kept the quality hip-hop going, as Questlove’s drumming as the beat backbone for the socially conscious lyrics of “Black Thought.” The standout was “Break You Off.” Before the set was finished, the crowd depleted faster and faster, the consequence of it being 10 p.m. on a work night, as well as the general exhaustion from an exciting and noisy weekend at Boston Calling.