Boston Calling Music Festival, May 23-25

Friday’s start of Boston Calling was a little far off from a “summer” music festival as the grayish-blue cloudy skies and chilly air swept through City Hall Plaza. “Banana Pancakes” singer and one of the most chill Dads out there, Jack Johnson ,noted humorously, “So Boston this is what you guys call summer? I had to put shoes on,” something that’s likely uncommon for the Hawaiian native. The weather however seemed to have no affect on the singer/guitarist as his voice sounded remarkably similar to what’s heard on his records and with his band including dazzling pianist Zach Gill, Johnson was able to bring the summer vibes to Boston. Upon one fan’s brief speech earlier in the night of discovering good music during Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ performance, Johnson responded during his own set, crediting Fugazi as the gateway introduction to his love for music.

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Prior to Johnson taking the stage, the crowd heard performances from Cass McCombs and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The Edward Sharpe gang brought sing along tunes that kindled high spirits and enraptured the city in one feel good atmosphere. Still to this day, nearly five years since their first album released, one song remains as absolutely relevant as it ever did, and that’s the widely popular “Home.” The group played the song acoustically and there’s just something about the realness of front man Alex Ebert’s voice and lyricism that paraded a calming nature over the crowd. Their performance also featured storytelling from Alex Ebert as well as members of the crowd. At one point Ebert went over the railing and into the crowd to take a phone from a girl who was filming. The singer filmed back up on stage before returning the video to the delighted fan. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros carried out an involved show with their fans that broke down the barrier between audience and performer.

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Though Saturday’s rainy overcast weather hung over Boston, spirits were high amidst the crowd with acts like Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists and The Head and The Heart all putting on great shows.

The last day of the festival featured some indie bands who been around for a while like Built To Spill, Brand New and Modest Mouse. Brand New front man Jesse Lacey credits both Modest Mouse and Built to Spill with much of their own band’s start up inspiration, saying that they likely wouldn’t be here without them. Brand New gave a straight up rock and roll show, smashing over amps and breaking off lights and using them to play their guitar for thunderous sounds. The night’s headliner, Modest Mouse, lit up Boston with everyone’s favorite dance party disco groove “Dashboard” and the well-known hit “Float On,” both of which had the audience in high applause. Tegan and Sara, another early 2000’s indie band, played Sunday to an excited crowd with heavy synths and stadium-like drums, fitting for their newest album.

This May’s Boston Calling festival brought connections between bands and their inspirations, gave the audience an important role in performances, and fought weather with spirits aided by music- pretty impressive for only the third-ever event.

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