Saturday’s edition of The Boston Calling
With the heat came too the eager listeners of Boston, ready for 11 consecutive hours of one of Boston Calling Music Festival’s most eclectic lineups.
Kicking things off with equal doses of charm and raw talent, Boston’s homegrown Palehound opened Saturday afternoon welcoming the heat and ushering in an afternoon of endless seltzer breaks and random Tasty Burger. Then, as if the heat was never a factor, Lizzo came out and absolutely crushed her early afternoon slot. No matter the climbing temperature, attendees writhed and sang along best they could to the rising superstar in the making. The Michigan born self-proclaimed bad bitch took the Jet Blue stage by storm with her all woman crew, DJ and backup dancers. The crowd was eating it up and Lizzo kept serving it piping hot.
After experimental electro-rock performance groups Battles took the red stage to moderate success, The Vaccines came out to please their cult fan base with their most popular tracks, keeping the energy going even through the hottest portion of the afternoon. The English rockers didn’t skip a beat making sure the people of Boston didn’t have time to realize just how tired they all were.
With the next performer, I had mixed expectations. I discovered BØRNS last year after catching his infectious hit single “Electric Love”. He followed that up with an impressive album release, Dopamine, packed with jams to get you out of your daily rut. However he has a tendency to not strive to hit high notes during his live shows, a quality that many have come to appreciate in his singing. This did happen throughout his set, however his seductive stage presence and catchy lyrics won over the faltering vocals and he left the audience hungry for more. That more was served by way of Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett.
The 28 year old shredded on the guitar while the sun licked it’s final victims. She revved up the crowd again and again with favorite songs like the thumping “Pedestrian at Best”, sorrowful “Depreston” and her masterpiece “Avant Gardener” leaving out “History Eraser” (a personal favorite of mine). She set the bar high for the rest of the night and we’d come to learn that City and Colour would be just out of reach.
The hipster-fodder crooner took the stage to mellow and underwhelming results. His voice soared over the crowd hitting every note it had to – however – mixed with the power of the sun and the fact that we were entering hour six of the evening brought down the mood of the festival to a dangerous low. Concertgoers lounged across City Hall Plaza letting the sweet sounds waft over them, lulling everyone into a state of Coppertone induced hysteria.
Picking things back up to kick into high gear for the night, Miike Snow came out to entrance the crowd with their delicious beats and dance worthy sounds. The band lead the crowd through a charming and impressive hour long set. Plunging the audience into fits of white noise, blinding stage lights and epic sounds they proved a worthy performance before the next act got everyone on their feet.
Odesza swept the crowd up in their high octane electric mixes. Pairing with a backdrop of different intergalactic mashups of jellyfish, eyeballs and apocalyptic imagery the DJ duo completely took over Boston Calling. With the sun out of site, energy reached a new high, just in time for the headliner to completely kill the mood.
There’s nothing really wrong with Robyn. Many would even call her an icon. And deservedly so, she brought Europop to the world stage. However, after the intensity of an act like Odesza you must keep the energy up or else you risk killing the mood and ruining the night. Which is exactly what happened. Robyn kicked off her set with a strong intro, slowly building energy and revealing the dancer within, however it was somewhere within the first 30 minutes of her set that she lost the crowd. It was by 10 o clock that she had lost me. Her problem was that once her intro was over she performed with too much consistency. The performance seemed like one prolonged note that wouldn’t fluctuate or go anywhere except right where it was. As I left the festival grounds early I saw just how empty the Plaza had become. An initial wave of attendees had left after Odesza and many more had trickled out throughout Robyn’s first few “songs”.
But I picked my head up, put my headphones on and headed home ready for another long day of varying genres and HAIM HAIM HAIM HAIM. And Janelle Monae.