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Top 10 performances at the Boston Calling

Andrew’s top 5:


HAIM performing at the 2016 Boston Calling (photo credits to Andrew Bourque)

there’s something undeniably joyful from watching three sisters perform together with the sheer level of talent that the Haim sisters possess. Danielle, Este and Alana Haim looked gorgeous lit up on the Xfinity Red Stage as they showcased favorites old and new, throwing in a crowd pleasing cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U”. Rounding out their set with an epic three way percussion jam, the sisters left City Hall ready for Disclosure, but crowd was hungry for more.

2. Christine and the Queens
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t unsure about Sunday’s second act. A French pop band? At Boston Calling? Huh? But any doubts or concerns flew out the metaphorical window when Héloïse Letissier took the stage and commanded her band of musicians and dancers, cranking out an effortlessly entertaining set that referenced Rihanna, Beyoncé and even Chaka Khan.

3. Sia
I don’t think anyone expected the New Zealand based superstar’s set to be anything less than visually dazzling, however the secrecy around just what she would exactly be doing on stage left people in a frenzy leading up to the singer’s modestly timed headlining set (she performed ten minutes less than predecessor Sufjan Stevens). It wasn’t until that black sheet was ripped away revealing her center stage that we all knew the next hour would be one we’d never forget.

4. Janelle Monaé
I’ve heard a lot about Monaé’s exquisitely produced live show in years leading up to my chance to finally see her live. From getting wheeled out Hannibal-Lecter style to her rousing tribute to Prince (she closed out her set with “Let’s Go Crazy) and her inhuman amounts of energy Monaé held a tight grip on each and every concertgoer, and she isn’t letting go anytime soon.

5. Lizzo
If you haven’t heard of this Michigan born rapper then take a listen because this Big Grrrl knows how to break it down, build it back up again and then tear it back down just because she can. Bringing equal parts Black Girl Magic and Glass Ceiling shattering Feminism she knew how to get the most out of the crowd, even it was only 1:30 in the afternoon.


Will’s top 5:

1. SIA


SIA performing at the 2016 Boston Calling (photo credits to Will Heffernan)

SIA…. that’s it. SIA with one of the most powerful voices in todays music industry and one of the best writing skills of any musician. SIA came out and performed every big hit which is almost every song she has written. SIA is undeniably one of the few powerhouse singers around today.

2. Elle King

Even though “Ex’s and Oh’s” is a top 40 hit, Elle King has other music besides her hit song. Elle King came out and just strummed her guitar and banjo away with her powerful rough voice that sort of reminded me of Janis Joplin. Of course when Elle King performed her hit “Ex’s and Oh’s” everyone sang along and it was probably one of the most popular songs performed at the festival.


When HAIM came out I remembered them instantly from the Taylor Swift 1989 world tour and I remembered them owning the stage and they did the exact same at the Boston Calling. Everyone song was like a alternative version of Avril Lavigne where there was so much attitude in every song. There hit song “The Wire” was got the crowd excited and it was a perfect way to close out the Red Stage (Xfinity stage) for the 2016 Boston Calling.

4. Janelle Monaé

Janelle Monaé was popular a couple years ago and she is still very popular with her being a Cover Girl. When she came out all hannibal lecture style I was a little concerned as to what type of performance it will be, but it ended up being a huge 80’s party. Monaé even covered the Jackson 5 hit song “I Want You Back” which got the crowd dancing even more.

5. Disclosure

Even though Disclosure has some of the top songs out today, their performance was ok. At first it was really fun and everyone was excited but towards the middle of the performance it ended up becoming too much of the same music. However I was really excited and hopeful that they would bring out Sam Smith for “Latch” since Smith was spotted in Boston the two days before the performance. But when “Latch” came, there was no Sam Smith but that still didn’t mean the performance was bad. “Latch” was the last song and it was amazing to dance to that song.

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