Boston Calling finally kicked off with its first day on Friday, May 27th. People were slowly flowing in at 6, eagerly awaiting for Lisa Hannigan & Aaron Dessner, Sufjan Stevens, SIA, and any other surprises the Boston Calling team had in store. For the most part the crowd looked like friends happy to be back together, people who didn't really know what to expect, and younger kids whose day would be made by the performances that night. This being my first Boston Calling, I'm sure you could guess which group I was in. Regardless, I found the whole experience amazing and if the first day was a precursor for what's to come, we're in for an extravagant time. Here are my adventures and artists I saw on day one of Boston Calling!
A Decent Start With Lisa Hannigan & Aaron Dessner
Although I wasn't in love with the performance, it seemed like an okay start to the day. Alternative music is something that remains a little unexplored to me, but I can still see the value behind this particular style. The band started off fairly slow with a melancholy approach to most of the songs, then gradually increased the tempo. It seemed like Lisa and Aaron were picked as openers for this short day due to Sufjan Stevens; the act that went on after them. Sufjan is an indie artist whose well-known for songs about mourning, which as you could imagine probably aren't as upbeat (this didn't end up being the case). Lisa and Aaron were able to fill a void that many other artists would probably struggle to do themselves, which in itself is very commendable.
Sufjan Stevens Takes the Stage
Sufjan Steven's live performance was a pleasant surprise. Only a few of his songs had popped up on my Spotify, and I didn't like them too much. However, live performances of some of these songs seemed to give them a lot more life. Seeing the stage production for his show made his works a little more relatable; such as cool costumes, visuals, and more. One of the first things Sufjan said upon getting on stage was, "I just finished a tour where I sang about death" Rather than taking the melancholy approach that Lisa and Aaron had, he picked up the pace and changed the tone a little. The messages behind his lyrics and music were still there, but he presented it in a very fun and upbeat way. In a way it reminded me of the band Vampire Weekend, except Sufjan's vocals came off with a lot more power and emotion during certain parts of the show. The band in general did a good job of getting the crowd excited. Whether it be smashing a banjo, revealing the wings in their costumes, or having the crowd do the wave, they kept everyone on their toes for the entirety of his performance. I especially enjoyed some of the choreographed dancing and background visuals that looked like they came from a movie made in the 80's. Overall, I came out with a lot more respect for Sufjan as an artist, but I'm still not too keen on diving into his records.
Sia Fans Get Their Wishes Fulfilled
To start things off I want to give the city of Boston a shoutout, because the amount of support I saw throughout the day for SIA was insane. If I knew nothing about her I would've thought that she was performing in her hometown that night. No matter who I asked about what acts they were most excited for this weekend, her name popped up the most. This gave me fairly high expectations and I knew that this was a performance I would definitely have to check out. To say that SIA exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. This was definitely one of the most memorable acts I've seen perform at any music festival, and I wasn't even a fan of hers. Unfortunately, SIA stood in a small corner that wasn't visible from the mezzanine area. However, her voice was heard crystal clear throughout City Hall Plaza, and I could even see fans grooving out in the food courts. The biggest highlight of the show was Maddie Zielger, an extremely talented dancer that is known for being in SIA's most innovative and successful music videos. Above is her and some other gentlemen's live recreation of "Elastic Heart", yes, the one with Shia LaBeouf. Maddie's uncanny yet fluid dancing perfectly represents SIA's singing in a physical way, whereas SIA is the soundtrack that keeps changing Maddie's emotions and struggles. This was seen in songs like "Alive", "Chandelier", and my favorite, "Big Girls Cry". Seeing an artist to artist connection like that is one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed and realized. I really hope both of them keep working together, as the art they've produced together has come to inspire and leave many in awe.
Food Of The Day: Firefly's BBQ
After having traveled to Boston with nothing to eat the whole day, I was famished. I decided to give Firefly's BBQ a shot, a restaurant located out in Marlborough that's very well-known for its catering. The Pork Mac'Lovin sounded interesting, so I decided to go with it. At first sight, I didn't really know how to feel about it. The dish seemed like a bunch of side dishes tossed together into one big mess-- intriguing but also not too tasty looking. Despite the look, I ended up really enjoying the Pork Mac'Lovin. All the ingredients I didn't think looked well together ended up complimenting each other in taste. The combination of the pulled pork and mac and cheese was phenomenal, and ended up leaving me wanting more at the end. The pepper was also a really nice touch to spice things up in the dish. This topped off with a lemonade from another vendor kept me happy, fueled, and going until the festival had reached its end for the day. I would definitely come back and try whatever else they're serving in future events or their actual restaurant.
After this long day I'm excited to get some shuteye and report on tomorrow. With artists like The Vaccines, Borns, and Odesza, I'm expecting great things. Follow me on the twitter link below for updates and pictures on what's going on at the festival over the weekend. I'll see you guys again soon!