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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
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February 26, 2024

Catching up with summer concerts in New England

Over the summer, while many students may have taken some time off to relax, get some much needed Vitamin D or cram in some extra hours at work before going back to school, many more flocked to see their favorite artists perform at local venues all across New England. While some sold out massive stadiums, others filled out venues like Boston’s newly opened MGM Music Hall, and some performed to thousands in open-air festivals. Here’s all the coverage from the summer that may not have shown up on social media feeds for weeks after the show.

Taylor Swift’s “The Era Tour” [coverage by Georgia Berry]

Seventy thousand fans traveled to “Foxy Foxborough” Friday, May 19 to see Taylor Swift for the opening night of a three-night stay at Gillette Stadium for “The Eras Tour.” After surviving the great war with Ticketmaster—and with Route 1—Swifties made their way inside the sold-out stadium and were taken through the various eras of Swift’s albums.

The show opened with performances by artists Gayle and Phoebe Bridgers. Fans enjoyed their sets while they found their way to their seats or waited in merch lines for the highly coveted blue crewneck. When the “Midnights”-esque countdown clock appeared on the screen behind the stage, everyone rushed back, ecstatic for the main event to start.

Swift performed a few songs from each of her “eras”—namely, “Lover,” “Fearless,” “evermore,” “reputation,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “folklore,” “1989” and “Midnights,” with outfit changes to correspond with each era. In addition, at each show in the tour, Swift sings two songs not included in her usual setlist. For the first surprise song, Swift sang “Should’ve Said No” from her debut album. The crowd seemed very happy with her choice as they thrashed their heads to the song. The second surprise song, “Better Man,” was written by Swift but originally recorded by the country group Little Big Town. Swift released her own version of the song on the rereleased “Red” album.

As those lucky enough to get tickets to see “the loudest woman Foxborough has ever seen” know, “The Eras Tour” is truly one for the ages. With intricate costumes, set design and the incredible performance from Swift and her entire crew, the show is incomparable to any other concert. It is hard to imagine any other artist who could draw so many fans and keep them singing along to every word for a three-hour set—even in the pouring rain, as seen on the following night’s show.

Swift wrapped up her three-night stay at Gillette Stadium Sunday, May 21. The crowds at Foxborough will surely remember all the moments and feelings from such a fantastic show.

Boston Calling [coverage by Olivia Reid and Katrina Sanville]

For many New England music fans, Boston Calling Music Festival can be a chance to see many of their favorite artists—underground and mainstream alike—take the outdoor stages in one jam-packed weekend. This year, the return of the well-loved festival took place the weekend of May 26 to 28 at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston, Mass.

The first day of Boston Calling May 26 opened up with Zolita. Zolita, an upcoming artist in the pop genre, came out with high energy in a red, oversized jersey that she took off during her set to reveal a black sparkly bikini top. She was full of energy and talked to the crowd. She played some of her hits and was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Other artists on the first day of the festival included Chelsea Cutler, who performed while wearing a Patriots jersey—Cutler herself is from Connecticut—and played some of her popular songs such as “you were good to me,” “this is how you fall in love” and more. In addition, the night included Niall Horan, who had classics from his current work as a solo artist and from his days in One Direction.

Night one ended with Foo Fighters. Prior to the performance, fans waited out all day to get a good spot for their performance. Their performance was a great way to close out the night and end on a high note, with the band performing from 8:40 p.m. to about 10:40 p.m. They ended with “Everlong” and left the crowd stunned.

Day two of Boston Calling was a day full of new and hot artists from the younger generations. The festival had a great variety of artists ranging from brand new to veterans. There was sure to be an artist for all to be excited for. The second day also included a variety of New England natives, including NeeMz, a Boston-based Palestinian artist; Q-Tip Bandits, a Boston-based band that UMass Boston students may remember from their performance at Fall 2022’s Welcome Week; and Noah Kahan, a Vermont native.

Kahan gained popularity on TikTok for his songs infused with New England references and vibes such as “Stick Season,” “Northern Attitude” and “Homesick,” all of which were played during his set. Before opening his set, which began with the song “All My Love,” Kahan greeted the crowd by joking around and saying he had been called nicknames such as “Jewish Ed Sheeran” and “Folk Malone,” but for his performance, he said he would be “Jewish Capaldi.”

Day two performances also included artists like Declan McKenna and Alanis Morissette, who closed out the night. With hit songs like “Hand in My Pocket,” “You Oughta Know,” “Ironic” and “You Learn,” fans and casual listeners alike of Morissette could find themselves bopping along to the performance.

After a weekend filled with high-energy performances, the final day of Boston Calling left things on a high note with a jam-packed day full of performances that people were sure not to forget. Performances on the third and final day included artists like WunderHorse, The Linda Lindas, Genesis Owusu and Maren Morris, before the evening finally culminated to the final act: Paramore.

All throughout the day, the Para-war for good seats had begun, with some people claiming their spots early on for Paramore’s evening performance. Many got very territorial over their spots closer to 8:30 p.m. as people made their way over to be sure to catch their set. The band had a lot of fun pyrotech that made for the optimal viewing display for the fans. They were sure to include some of their latest songs from their newest release “This Is Why” and even classics such as “Ain’t it Fun.” The moves and onstage performance by lead vocalist Hayley Williams was phenomenal.

This year’s Boston Calling featured a little something for everyone, and the festival in general is something that all residents should try to attend once during their time in Boston. The festival allows attendees to make new friends with those of similar interests as well as connect and meet up with older and current friends. It is a must see during Memorial Day in Boston.

Melanie Martinez [coverage by Melanie Duarte]

July 1, Melanie Martinez enthralled Boston with their fairy wonderland at the recently opened MGM Music Hall at Fenway. They are most well-known for their performance on Season Three of “The Voice,” as well her debut album “Crybaby.” Their haunting alternative-pop music revolves around several fantasy themes that reflect a dark and vulnerable persona. Martinez’s newest release “PORTALS” transforms their character “Crybaby” into an alternative form, representing a brand new era for Melanie Martinez.

Martinez’s magical universe had absolutely engulfed the streets of Boston before the concert began. Seconds after stepping off the commuter rail at 6:30 p.m., an enormous line of fans could be spotted waiting to enter the venue. To match Martinez’s aesthetic, some fans dressed in floral skirts and baby doll dresses with undertones of pink and purple, while others went above and beyond and created their own masks and ears to match Martinez’s remarkable prosthetic mask.

Martinez hit the stage relatively early, around 8:15 p.m. She walked out with long blonde hair and a green, flowy cottage dress. Martinez’s set consisted of songs strictly from the deluxe version of her latest release, “PORTALS.” No older songs on their discography were performed, and “PORTALS” was performed in release order. Martinez walked offstage after their song “WOMB,” and the venue erupted in cheering and chanting begging her to come back. With every second Martinez remained offstage, the anticipation of fans grew. After a couple of minutes, she returned onstage to perform the remaining three songs of her set. The encore of the show was an unforgettable experience with pink butterfly confetti exploding into the crowd and thousands of hands reaching up to them. A security guard dropped onto the ground to help fans bring home their very own pink memento.

The “PORTALS” tour won’t be the end of their run here in Boston, as she ended her show by saying “I can’t wait to see you next year.” Whether fans were in the last row of the venue or down at the barricade, the energy in the venue was electric and filled with love for Martinez’s performance.

Sad Summer Fest [coverage by Nick Collins]

If there’s anything the performing bands at Sad Summer Fest 2023 know, it’s that sometimes smiles fade in the summer. The festival featured accomplished acts: Stand Atlantic, Mom Jeans, Hot Mulligan, The Maine, PVRIS and was headlined by Taking Back Sunday.

Sad Summer Fest is a recurring tour, and for the 2023 edition, bands took a detour from the usual Worcester Palladium to perform in Boston. The day-long affair took place at Leader Bank Pavilion in the Seaport district of Boston Sunday, July 16, and thankfully, the heavy rain didn’t stop the onslaught of fans from pouring into the venue.

Taking Back Sunday, the closer of the night, ended the night on a high by incorporating both classic tracks from earlier albums with newer tracks released in the past decade. Numbers like “Set Phasers to Stun” and “One Eighty by Summer” from their 2004 album “Where You Want to Be” were played, joined by “Tidal Wave,” “Stood a Chance”  and “Flicker, Fade,” newer releases over the past decade. Their newest single “The One” came out a week before the tour began and was played in the middle of their act. In the closing stages of their show, Taking Back Sunday thanked the crowd for coming out in the pouring rain to watch them and the supporting acts play, and gave fans a treat by playing their fan favorites, including “You’re So Last Summer” and “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team).”

As it seems, neither the seating arrangements of the venue or the downpours rained on the parade of fans and artists and kept them from having an amazing time. The stage presence and frenzy of fans brought good times to many, and above all else, have people anticipating next year’s event.

Whether members of the UMass Boston community were fans of pop or alternative, pop-rock or folk, or any combination of music, Boston’s concert series was sure to have something for them. To read these articles in full, as well as others concerts over the summer, head over to the Arts and Lifestyle section of The Mass Media’s website, umassmedia.com .