BOSTON CALLING – DAY 3 RECAP

Day 3 – The final day of the festival.

Grounds smelled like feet and hay. The crowds were the biggest they had been all weekend but everyone seemed tired and a tad bit sad as they knew things were coming to a close.

I started out with Mitski.

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The crowd was buzzing for Mitski – she piqued a lot of interest coming into the festival. In 2015 Rolling Stone named her one of their ‘10 Artists You Need to Know’. Her music reflects the duality of being both Japanese and American but feeling as if she doesn’t belong to either side.

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PC: TAYLOR HILL

The indie rocker put on a stoic performance as the sole singer within her band. Needless to say I’ve become a fan and am curious to see where she goes with her next project.

I stood in wait for an hour and made my way to the front for Flatbush Zombies. The wait was completely worth it.

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The Zombies played their album 3001: A Laced Odyssey from the beginning and I was surprised by how many of the kids knew the entire album. As they got deeper into their set kids were moshing, crowd surfing, smoking, and screaming. I got lucky and ended up somewhere near the front rail. This performance was definitely the most energetic I’d been to all weekend – both on stage and in the audience.

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Meechy jumped into the crowd to rap a verse in front of fans and pose for pictures.

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They brought out a fan to rap with them and I was impressed by how he held it down. The Zombies were also impressed as they laughed in disbelief but still danced around stage with him.

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At the end of it all he asked to say something on the mic – he told everyone to follow him on soundcloud.

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I caught a bit of Run the Jewels from a distance.

Killer Mike and El-P, two hip hop heavy weights, have been making their rounds in hip-hop with their roll out of RTJ 1,2, and 3. Their stage was easily to spot from a distance with their signature ‘fist and gun’ hand gesture props adorning the red stage.

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They had the crowd’s attention but the energy levels had diminished since Flatbush Zombies performed and clouds started to roll in.

The bromance is undeniable, though.

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PC: TAYLOR HILL

Cage the Elephant rocked the stage and brought energy levels up again.

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Lead singer Matt Shultz leapt past his own security and into the crowd to sing with fans.

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PC: TAYLOR HILL

Up last for me were headliners Weezer and Major Lazer.

Weezer effortlessly played hits for the hour and fifteen minute long set. The crowd sang along with each and every song.

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They especially played to the crowd when they played Hey Ya and had a slide show of powerful, inspiring women (including Tina Fey and Michelle Obama) while they played Thank God for Girls.

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The last act I was able to catch part of was Major Lazer.

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PC: TY JOHNSON

The trio, composed of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Jillionaire, got everybody dancing on Sunday night. They even pulled their signature hamster balls out as they rolled over the crowd.

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ALL IN ALL…

Boston Calling 2017 was a great experience. Artists had fun. Attendees had fun. Vendors had fun. The event went well despite the weather and most importantly those in charge took feedback via social media very seriously. They heard complaints about food lines and made sure vendors on day 2 and 3 had shorter lines.

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I’m thankful to have been a part of the experience. Special thanks to 44 Communications. Until next time.

-Neel

BOSTON CALLING – DAY 2 RECAP

Day 2 saw larger crowds than the day before – probably because all the moms and kids were here for the weekend. Weather held up even better than the day before and the grounds were mostly solid!

Russ put on a short performance because his bus apparently broke down. He started after the end of his set after fans chant for him and then against him. In the end fans were still happy to see the self made man lay down his hits.

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PC: TAYLOR HILL

Up next on the Blue Stage was Cousin Stizz

Unfortunately also late in starting his set he gave a great performance and definitely made some new fans. Crowds ran deep for the Boston rapper. He seemed really happy and proud of himself to play to a hometown crowd at a festival.

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Things got even more crowded for Danny Brown who gave a slightly toned back performance compared to his usual antics. I heard some people in the crowd speculate as to when he might do coke on stage…

He didn’t do coke on stage.

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Then I caught a little bit of pop gods Tegan & Sara

Their set was pretty much an hour of straight hits while they bopped around on stage.

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2nd to last act of the night I caught was The xx

Watching the duo jam out was mesmerizing. Everyone was dancing and nodding their heads along to their infectious beats. Jamie xx is an AMAZING producer. He even has a track with Young Thug that’s pretty catchy. When they played Intro everyone felt some time of nostalgia as the track was used in pretty much everything from a Rihanna song to car commercials to hype videos for Tomorrowland.

 

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Closing Saturday night were headliners Mumford & Sons

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You could feel it in the crowd that they had been waiting for Mumford all day. It was something joyous to be around everyone as they danced and sang to each and every song.

They kept messing with the crowd as they paused before each chorus and slowed down the tempo. Fun for them maybe but horrible for us as we had to listen to a drunk crowd scream the lyrics not together at all. But hey, Mumford & Sons were so thankful to the crowd and showed Boston some real love as they dedicated Believe to us.

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PC: TAYLOR HILL

Walked back with a headache from dehydration which was my own fault but the longer day 2 proved to be a really good time. Day 3 next.

-Neel

BOSTON CALLING – DAY 1 RECAP

Festivals should always start on Fridays. The grounds were not overly populated but you still felt like you were in a crowd while watching acts – you know? Anyway up first on day 1 was Francis.

Francis drew a surprisingly large crowd. I was glad to see so many young faces waiting for him. He came out after Seb Chew, his dj and manager, played some bangers back to back (magnolia and glow included). He started his set in typical Francis style by dancing as hard as possible and the crowd LOVED it.

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PC: NEEL BHADRA

Mostly performing vocals and the occasional keyboard solo Francis was able to keep spirits high midst the unfortunate weather. A personal highlight was when he wagged a finger no to the camera recording him and instead motioned them to record his fingers as he ripped one handed solos.

He ended the set by playing May I Have This Dance and sang both his and chances verses. The crowd was generally disappointed and started to chant for Chance. At the end, however Chance ran out and Francis restarted the song as the two danced together.

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Another standout set was Mac Demarco.

Mac and company were a tight knit group as they played through their set very visibly having fun and taking breaks to chug Jameson. I was especially impressed when Mac broke a string in between songs and the band broke into a quasi cover of A Thousand Miles to buy him time. I say quasi cover because the only lyrics sang were ‘Making my way down town.’ They even invited a kid up to dance on stage who apparently skipped his prom to attend. Security grabbed the kid as he walked on stage but Mac ran over and defiantly shouted ‘NO!’ until the guard gave up and let the kid go free.

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We headed over to the other stage for Bon Iver…

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I didn’t expect anything less than greatness from Justin Vernon and friends – I got exactly that. The group of skilled musicians played an electronic album with 2 drummers, a sax section, guitars, basses, keyboards, and OP1s. Other people I spoke to before the show were curious to see how 22, A Million would be performed as it was such a sonically destructive album. The answer was beautifully and as a blend of raw talent and programmed samples.

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PC: TY JOHNSON

 

 

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They played the entirety of the album and then moved onto older tracks. The on and off rain made its way back with impeccable timing during Holocene. At this point everyone was starting to realize the performance and overall experience would be something cathartic and spiritual.

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Justin moved on to a solo 12-string performance of Skinny Love that the crowd belted with him and then the band eventually closed out on Beth/Rest. As comically 80’s and cheesy I thought the production of the song was, seeing it live as a closer made me emotionally. I’m pretty sure there were some tears in the rain that night.

The crowd sloshed through the mud to get in position for Chance.

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PC: TY JOHNSON

 

Chance put on a great energetic show. He was dancing, singing, rapping, and taking/giving cues to and from his band mates Nico, Peter, and Stix. They would strip songs to their most intimate details and then build them up to the point where the very fields of mud we stood on shook. Needless to say he succeeded in his goal to ‘Shake this bitch’.

Chance ran through the (VIP) crowd with security to just behind the lighting tent to perform Same Drugs from a satellite stage. Again the crowd banded together as they sang the song and it was glorious.

All in all day 1 was great. Stay tuned for a day 2 recap soon.

 

-Neel

TKAY MAIDZA – HIP HOP @ BOSTON CALLING

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Tkay Maidza’s music is full of energy and good vibes. She’s a singer/rapper hailing from Adelaide, Australia. Her debut album Tkay made Rolling Stone’s list of ’20 Best Pop Albums of 2016′.

She’s been compared to MIA, and Nicki Minaj but she’s all about finding her own lane. She claims she’s Australian in that Aussies are sarcastic and ‘chilled out’. A self proclaimed workaholic, Tkay graduated when she was 16.

Check out her 2013 breakout track Brontosaurus which sounds like a 2013 club banger:

 

Here is her collaboration Carry On ft. Killer Mike:

 

 

COUSIN STIZZ – HIP HOP @ BOSTON CALLING

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Cousin Stizz is a 25 year old carrying the weight of Boston’s hip hop reputation on his back.

The Dorchester native started rapping years ago with the support of fellow Boston talent Michael Christmas and Tim Larew. After debuting with Suffolk County and some music videos for singles like No Bells, Dirty Bands, and Shoutout the buzz started to grow. The music was already cool – polished beats from the likes of Obeatz and DumDrumz with nonchalant rapping from Stizz but once Drake put up a video with Shoutout in the background buzz grew even faster (video was probably a Vine – RIP).

He followed up with MONDA in 2016 which featured front runner 500 Horses and racked up 1.7M plays on soundcloud. In 2017 Stizz has followed up by going on tour with Kyle and some collaborations like Want Me Bad with Kyle and Headlock with Offset. He’s also been teasing his next project titled One Night Only.

I’m excited to see where this next project will go, where it will take him, and where Boston can end up in the world of hip-hop. Will he stay in Boston and foster the scene? Will he have tons if A-List features? Who know. Catch him on Saturday at Boston Calling.

 

 

[MUSIC][NEW ALBUM][TIMETRAVEL?] T-PAIN & LIL WAYNE – T-WAYNE

Remember this song? You do. It’s ’08/’09 maybe even 2010 and you’re in highschool or just starting college. This song come on and evvvveryone starts dancing. Even that nerdy indian kid.

I still say ‘Wiscansin’ during inappropriate times in my adult life.

 

Hell you probably even remember this one! You can’t forget ‘This-a-wayyyy! That-a-wayyyy!’

 

Well what if I told you we had a whole album of Wayne + Pain called… T-Wayne? Go ahead. Dance like it’s 2009. You deserve it.

DANNY BROWN – HIP HOP @ BOSTON CALLING

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Danny Brown is a self proclaimed homebody. He hails from Detroit and has been rapping from a young age. Known for his unconventional flows, drug use/references and generally comedic demeanor Brown really hit his stride after his album XXX came out in 2011.

Through his music he’s been transparent about his struggles with metal health. In a day and age where the conversation has become more important than ever before it’s essential for celebrities to address these issues – especially in hip-hop. His collaboration with Jonah Hill on the video for Ain’t it Funny off of his 2016 Atrocity Exhibit is really dark but hopefully it opened a lot of eyes.

 

Catch his interview on Hot Ones here (its pretty damn funny):

 

Check out his album Atrocity Exhibit