It seemed like we were never going to leave the Delta Blue stage. Not because we like flying, but because there was a surreal amount of anticipated acts performing there. Saturday was packed with a heavy hip-hop lineup that we just had to check out. We'll be going through the three acts we saw on that stage, what finally made us go to a different one, and how the festival has improved since yesterday.
Russ delivers a great start to Saturday
Concertgoers were starting to speculate that Russ may have bailed out of the festival. After about an hour of waiting past his scheduled time, he bolted onto the stage and performed "What They Want" Followed up with him talking about how he was bummed that he only had 20 minutes left to perform. Unsurprisingly, the crowd booed. Maybe next time he won't blame his driver and show up ahead of time like every other artist on the lineup. Disregarding that, he actually had a good performance and set the tone of the stage. His mellowed out vibe had fans bobbing to the beat, and at times singing along to his more famous tracks. Russ ended up going overtime on his set, and it seemed like he was genuinely enjoying performing for the crowd. He ended off with "What They Want"-- yes, again, and bitterly left the stage for the next act. Although we wish Russ came on earlier and had a longer set, it was nice to get a small taste of his music without having much of a time commitment to his set. Hopefully he'll be back again, since there there was talk of fans wanting him to have had a headlining Boston show.
cousin stizz made himself right at home
A similar scene to what happened with Michael Christmas last year unfolded as Cousin Stizz was getting ready to take the stage. Hundreds of people gathered at Boston Calling's blue stage to show love to a local hip-hop artist. Stizz's DJ came out to hype the crowd for a few minutes with a couple bangers, until Stizz himself came out to the cheers of an ecstatic audience. It seemed as though Stizz hadn't played in Boston for a while, as he kept referencing this show as a reunion. Reunion or not, he and his DJ rocked the crowd. The bass instantly got heavier, and the energy and showmanship on the stage skyrocketed. Moshing, jumping, you name it, it was always going on somewhere close to you. One of our favorite moments was when Cousin Stizz brought out his brother, Big Leano, and performed an unreleased track with him. The Boston pride was real, and before Stizz got off he gave the approval that the audience is family to him now. We look forward to seeing how this up and coming artist progresses, and hopefully he'll be on another rendition of the festival.
Danny Brown- The Devil's Rave
We knew that Danny's show would be a madhouse, especially with the audience from the previous two hip-hop acts. And I'll tell you this, I've never seen anyone rock a crowd at Boston Calling harder than Danny Brown did. The only song he performed that was even remotely chill was "Grown Up", every other song made the crowd pop-off more than what was before it. Surprisingly a majority of his set was from his album Old, and only a few of the songs he played out came from his newest album Atrocity Exhibition. Specific tracks that come to mind are "Break it"(which is down below), "Smokin & Drinkin", and my personal favorite, "Attak" It was really cool to see how Danny has grown as an artist, especially since his audience turnout seemed underestimated. Thousands of people gathered to see what was without a doubt the most hype performance this festival has had in a while. He also had a show with Dave Chappelle that same night at The Fillmore, which is most likely the reasoning behind his early set time. Hopefully he decides to stick around an extra day and performs "Hey Kids" with Run The Jewels on Sunday. That is the only combination I could imagine that would top the performance he put on by himself. Regardless, Danny has solidified himself as one of best hip-hop acts of this generation, and he continues to ride new waves while also revisiting his roots. Cheers for coming out, Danny.
The XX brought us To A Majestic End
Picking between The Xx and The 1975 didn't matter too much to me. Both are reputable bands that had been talked up by friends, and I had no idea what to expect from either of them. What attracted me to The Xx was the production set-up, and knowing that Jamie Xx is a part of the band. If there's any artist(s) that stood out as the most surprisingly pleasant, it would be these guys. The music sounded completely different live, which I'm guessing comes from any improv the band may have done on stage. Jamie especially, who acts as the bands DJ, had his own battle station of buttons and knobs set-up-- where he had prime control of percussion. The other two members, Romy playing the guitar and Oliver on bass, also had singing covered and did a good job of layering over each other's voices. They were incredibly humble and well-spoken, thanking the crowd after every song or series of songs they finished. The most impressive part of the performance was the stage. The band had giant reflective screens behind them, that were rotating and flashing pastel colored lights. Although not too complicated, it brought out a really neat visual aspect to their music. I loved hearing a recognizable chord progression, and seeing how the stage moved to visually represent it. The reason behind this band's fame became clear to me, and I'm happy to have finally given them a listen.
Food Of The Day: Zinnekens Waffles
That's right, we had to pick Zinnekens Waffles for another year to be our highlighted vendor. This time we tried "The Sin", a freshly made waffle that's glazed over with Nutella and is topped off with Bananas. The Nutella craze has always been a little bit of a turn off, but Zinnekens pulls it off. They put just enough Nutella to make a small difference, rather than overpowering the whole waffle with an overrated hazelnut spread. This selection was smaller than "The Gourmand" we got last year, but it's also a little less expensive. This was the perfect type of food to grab when running in between sets and getting a quick and energizing bite to eat. Although I still prefer "The Gourmand", this option was still delicious and is worth looking into if you like the combination it comes in.
The second day went by way smoother and in some ways more exciting than the first. The weather was much nicer, the acts were energetic, and most people figured their way around the festival grounds. There were still come hellish lines, but as a festival it seemed to be more organized. One thing we need to give kudos for is the team's consistency and efforts on social media. They try hard to make sure the attendees are up to date on any changes, and will answer most questions people have. We hope they continue this trend into the final day, and look forward to seeing how this grand finale will pan out.