Boston’s finally got a real, live, music festival.
I spent two days on City Hall plaza watching, listening and enjoying over a dozen bands while surrounded by thousands of sometimes cold, sometimes wet, yet always smiling fellow music fans.
LIVE rock music in large quantities is always good, because maybe you stumble upon a band you’ve never heard of (like I did with Marina & The Diamonds on Saturday), or finally see the appeal of a band you had previously ignored for no real reason (FUN.).
Here’s a playlist of my favorite songs by all the artists that played over the weekend:
I mainly wanted to go because I like the idea of big rock festivals (Lollapalooza, Burning Man, Woodstock, Bonnaroo – I never got to see these, because they weren’t here, and WZLX wasn’t going to fly me out “just so I can go get high with a bunch of hippies”), but none of them were close enough to go to on my own.
I was also jealous that Boston, a great live music town with a ton of rock history – didn’t have it’s own festival. Well, now it does.
This city never has had a big rock music festival before – and the idea that one could be put together on the brick and concrete of City Hall Plaza on Memorial Day weekend, when many flee to the Cape – seemed like a bit of a stretch.
But man, did the kids come out – not just the kids, but adults too, I’d put the average attendant at the ripe ol’ age of 25 – because, like I previously stated – GOOD LIVE ACCESSIBLE ROCK MUSIC in ANY quantity has been hard to come by in this city for a long long time, and there was plenty of that at this festival, which left everyone happy – even Mayor Menino!
The weather sucked on Saturday, but the bands were amazing – Matt & Kim were outstanding and really got the crowd into it, and FUN (who I really had no interest in seeing as I assumed they were “just a pop band” but stuck around when my wife made me and was blown away by just how surprisingly good they were) rocked the audience as well.
Lead singer Nate Ruess (and I know how weird this sounds) reminded me a little of Freddie Mercury with his stage presence and overpowering vocals. The Shins also sounded great on Saturday.
Sunday’s weather was better, and the crowd a little bigger – but the bands were just as good, with The Walkmen and The National both being highlights. I didn’t go into the press tent that much, or the photo pit, because 1) I had no idea what i was doing and 2) I just wanted to get a feel for it and actually check out the general reaction to the event, to get an idea as to whether it was “working” or not, which it totally was. They really pulled off an awesome, fun event.
Here’s the Walkmen:
But the biggest star of the weekend was the festival itself, as it ran really smoothly despite the challenge posed by the bad weather – and everyone seemed to have a good time. In the beer garden (where you could get $7 beers, which is ridiculously cheap for a festival fee) everybody was talking about how seamless the operation seemed to be – which goes to show how well it was run.
The only other topic (besides how good the last band was) was when would they do it again – which was answered right before The National closed out the event with their set, when it was announced Boston Calling’s 2nd Edition would take place in September, to the delight of the crowd, especially when they revealed the headliners for that event would be Vampire Weekend and local guys Passion Pit.
Here’s a playlist full of the 2nd Edition’s lineup best songs (I honestly can’t wait for this!):
Here’s some more tweets, videos and pics from the 1st edition, too!
Really, check out Matt & Kim:
They even did a shout-out tribute to a local band of some repute:
Here’s Portugal The Man:
Overall, we had a blast, and the festival really did the city proud, and vice-versa. The bands and execution (especially for a first crack at it) were amazing. You should really check it out when they do this again in September.
Here’s some more pictures and videos we took on Saturday and Sunday:
Even the cops were diggin’ it (this was during Matt & Kim’s set, I think)
This was near the end of night 1:
The Shins were really good:
I don’t know why, but I shot this too:
Mayor Menino, one more time!
Here’s the announcement of the 2nd Edition (with the lineup!)
Go to Bostoncalling.com for more info.