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Decemberists On Stage, Rain Rolling In: Boston Calling Day One, Saturday, May 24th, 2014

December Showers...

December Showers…

Boston Calling is the event of the year and I’d been waiting for ages for the weekend to come. The weather held out, though there was forecast for rain, and the day was bright and sunny. Jam packed and sold out, there were festival fashions that ranged from belonging at Coachella, Warped Tour, or still in bed.

I got there early, just in time for the first band, Magic Man. No matter where you were in City Hall Plaza, you could hear the music. It was great, a massive constant and has a leg up over Warped because there’s no mix of music, it’s one band playing at all times. There weren’t any bands I was interested in until around 4, so I got to explore the grounds. There was a Chipotle, flatbread place, tons of different food options for vegans and carnivores alike.

The Neighbourhood, CA natives, hopped on stage at 3:50; the festival was impeccably on-time, which was seriously impressive. There were no lags and stage crew was great. They took the stage and there were both teenage girls and college boys clad in their iconic logo, the upside-down house. I was impressed with the sound, the vocalist’s ability to still keep his register buttery smooth while still having to project louder than normal. They’re a pretty big name and have hits on the radio, so I was surprised they played so early on in the day, but regardless, the turnout for their set was phenomenal.

Jenny Lewis was on next, best known for Rilo Kiley, and she’s worked with Conor Oberst in the past, and a lot of people packed in to catch her set. She was adorable and charismatic, still fiery and energetic at 38. Her personality shone through her sparkly cat-eye sunglasses and a powerful yet girly and feminine voice flowed out of bright red lipstick. I loved her girl power vibe, and really enjoyed how she didn’t try to act younger than she was; she’s a grown woman and appeared as such. I was all around impressed with her demeanor and her talent.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls were on next, and it would be my second time experiencing Frank live. This time, it was surrounded by drunk Bostonians who also knew the words and I felt more out of place here than last time. The demographic of his fan base in Boston was not what I expected. Regardless, he played a fantastic set, opening with the usual “Photosynthesis”, a favorite of his to start with because of the line, “I’ll play and you’ll sing, a perfect way for the evening to begin”. I was surprised with his song choices, with him pulling a fan up on stage to play harmonica in “Dan’s Song”, a rarity for him to perform. He also did “Wherefore Art Thou Gene Simmons?” a silly yet heartfelt tune under the surface. It was nice to see him fully healed from his back injury, and he could finally dance around and jump and be himself. Closing with “Four Simple Words”, the usual, the energy was fabulous. Everyone was dancing, and, intoxicated or not, were having fun. At festivals, it’s a good way for bands to expand their fan base or just provide a lot of entertainment, and Frank milked it for all it was worth, having people dancing and singing and then asking who it was so they could look him up later. It was great.

The Decemberists came on when it was starting to absolutely downpour, and some people left and others toughed it out. I was amongst those who bailed; it was cold and rainy and a long day. From what I heard in my attempt to get out and not be soaking wet, The Decemberists definitely still have their niche and a huge fan base. Colin Meloy, frontman, has the voice of an angel that carried over the rain and the conversations, providing a calming and nostalgic sound of comfort.

Boston Calling day one was incredible, and day two is going to be even better.

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