Boston Calling has gotten off to a good start at the Harvard Athletic Complex. Although not in the ideal weather, the team worked with what they had, and successfully brought together a larger scale festival to the Boston area. Acts ranging from comedy to music took the stages, and have yet to fail to bring a smile to our face. With the change in scenery and amount of artists, Boston Calling sticks to its vibe but feels like a different experience. Here's what we saw from the first day of the festival.
Taking Cover In The Comedy Tent
With the rain drizzling outside, the weather gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the comedy tent. Inside was a cozy atmosphere, reminding me a little of an old school jazz bar. The comedy started with the day's unexpected hostess, Kelly MacFarland, who did an intro for the comedy stage and went into her own bit. Not knowing too much knowledge about her topics didn't help in understanding her act, but there were still many points where she was funny. Although she was good, I'm sure many many people were all wondering the same thing... what happened to Hannibal Buress? He was supposed to be hosting the comedy stage on Friday and Sunday, then performing on Saturday. We hope that this was just a fluke and that we'll still be able to catch his main performance on Saturday. After Kelly, one of our favorite local comedians took the stage, Lamont Price. Football jokes, video game jokes, you name it, Lamont captivated everyone in the audience with ease. It seemed like everyone was buzzing about him after his performances, especially with his crowd favorite joke, Tom Brady vs Tony Romo. Before we went to check out some of the music acts, we stuck around for Eugene Mirman, the voice of Gene from Bob's Burgers! His act felt like it had the most interaction with the audience, especially when showing us sound clips of his "digital drugs" and sharing the I-DOSER scandal. He ended his set in the best way possible, by bringing out some guests and performing music off The Bob's Burger Album; which was said to be recorded here in Boston. These acts all brought their best material, and have changed the tone for the importance of comedy at this festival.
Mac DeMarco Was Friday's Lovable Goofball
There's an almost equal chance of knowing Mac DeMarco as a personality figure or a musician. Despite my slight difference in music taste, one thing is for sure, Mac is a class act. Throughout the whole performance Mac synergized and fed off the crowd's energy, making sure the he locked in his spot for the best live performer of the day. He even went as far as to bring a fan on stage, showing his appreciation for them because they decided to skip prom for the show. You could tell the fan's year was made when he got to dance with all of the band members, then hug it out before leaving back for the crowd. The vibe was very feel good, and the band's charm made it easy to enjoy and have fun to their performance. They brought it back to a couple oldies throughout the set, but most of the material seemed like it was from his new album, This Old Dog. One of the more memorable songs was "One More Love Song", during which Mac couldn't find his lighter, and was then attempting to catch one from the dozens that audience members threw at the stage. What truly took the cake was when Mac broke a string on his guitar, and as he fixed it the rest of the band improved with a cover of "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton. If Mac DeMarco and his band's compassion, showmanship, and talent don't represent the vibe of this festival, then I don't know what does.
Chance The Rapper Vanquished The Rain
An hour before Chance was set to come on, some chilling showers came through the athletic complex. To say everyone was soaked would be an understatement, but regardless, the crowd was ready for Chance. Tens of thousands of people gathered around the green stage for the show, which is more than likely a new record for an artist at this festival. Chance hitting the stage caused the biggest pop-off of the day, with fans all across the field singing along and jumping. The stage production blew any other year out of the water, with the use of fireworks, steam machines, and much more to help enhance the live experience. In this regard, Boston Calling really stepped their game up. His performance included songs from all across his discography, including "All Night"-- which you can find below, "Cocoa Butter Kisses", and "Same Drugs." All of which commanding the audience to sing along louder and dance harder. Chance kept it fun, exciting, and was humble throughout his entire performance. Out of all of the views of the stage, we found that being in the back was the most enjoyable. Perhaps this could be a trend for the headlining artists of the festival, but getting a wider view of the stage and a more crisp sound enhanced the experience. The stage production looked incredible from afar, and it wasn't as tightly packed and tense as it would be closer to the front. This is without a doubt something to keep in mind for any future performances that gather a larger audience. However, the only act we anticipating combating this much attendance would be Tool, which still might not even get as many concertgoers as Chance did. One thing is for sure though, Chance has definitely left his mark on Boston Calling's timeline.
Food Of The Day: Arancini Bros
Arancini Bros are a Brooklyn, New York restaurant that specialize in making arancinis; stuffed rice balls coated with bread crumbs. Although at first it doesn't sound appetizing, the amount of options for arancinis are bound to make anyone's mouth water. If you're feeling something spicy, you could go with a buffalo ball, if you're in the mood to try something different, the bucatini fritti is the way to go. What was even more impressive was the nutella arancini, which was an incredible desert after some of the more filling options. Arancini Bros also have four out of their six options labeled as vegetarian, which helps in appealing to different types of diets. We loved trying every one of their options, and will definitely be stopping by again over the course of the weekend.
We were mostly happy with the day, however we felt like there were some organizational issues across the festival grounds. One of the major ones being lines for food, which at some point lead to waits longer than 45 minutes to place an order. The food vendors have always been a major part of the festival, and we hope this issue could be resolved next year if not this upcoming weekend. The line to get into the festival was also quite lengthy, and some festival goers missed out on their favorite acts because of how long it took to get through the gates. Despite these minor issues, we're happy to see growth in the festival and its community, and look forward to what's in store the next two days.