Written by Kara Kokinos and Eric Riley.
Photos by Eric Riley.
After Friday’s introduction to Boston Calling 2015, there was an incredible buzz for what Saturday’s artist would bring. What seemed to be an almost entirely new crowd in attendance held many diehard fans clamoring for spots on the barricades, while other attendees swarmed the various vendors, waiting for their favorite acts or looking for an opportunity to discover a new one. It was pretty easy to discern when fans were waiting for certain artists, specifically those waiting for Gerard Way while donning old My Chemical Romance tees, or the Marina and the Diamonds fans dressed in glimmering neon and glitter. But, as clear (and, to be totally honest, kind of humorous) as it was, it was a solid example of what has made Boston Calling so successful over these last few years – its diversity. A staple of the festival has been its clear effort to cater to music fans of all tastes.
One of Boston’s many basement bands, Krill, were first to open Day Two. These punk darlings had an amazing energy and filled City Hall Plaza with their unapologetically aggressive sound as soon as their set began. The band was a well-oiled machine, though its members were noticeably a bit unsure how to handle playing such a big stage, both literally and figuratively. ( something they even tweeted about here). The young trio, while fresh-faced and eager, acted as true professionals, captivating in a way even some of the weekend’s senior acts couldn’t quite match. Packed with heavy reverb and harsh guitars, comparisons were made to Tame Impala’s set from the previous night.
Day Two had no shortage of diversity, and from the earliest moments of the day, the crowd devoured it. DMA’S Oasis-like sound gave the shoegazers something to sway to, while Gerard Way [& the Hormones] showcased the performer’s musical range, transforming from emo-scene royalty to a glam-pop all star. His set was a standout of the day, but more important than his music was his message, on multiple occasions taking time between songs to speak about the need for acceptance between all people, no matter their gender, their sexuality, their race, class, or health. It was a beautiful example of an artist recognizing their platform and taking advantage of it to do something positive.
Much like Tove Lo, newcomer MØ (the third performer of the afternoon) was a hidden gem within the lineup. A bundle of energy bounding across the stage, she performed like a headliner and owned the audience for every moment she could. The former had the disadvantage of following Run the Jewels’ crazed set, so there were some in attendance who say she fell victim to some slight eclipsing. The one-two punch of Marina and the Diamonds followed by St. Vincent was arguably the best pairing of the weekend, showing the two different sides of theatricality.
With Marina, her trademark blend of her operatic voice and sweet-toothed sound was a real treat, capturing everyone’s attention before opening song “Bubblegum Bitch” even kicked off. She was a dog off of its leash, exploring every inch of the stage and running wild. On the opposite side of the coin was St. Vincent – equally theatrical, but far more staged than improvised. Each movement was planned, from things as obvious as their entrance onto the stage and choreographed guitar solos to things as minimal as reaching for a guitar pick. The performers acted as marionettes gradually cutting their strings before finally gaining their freedom as the set came to a close. Vincent (Annie Clark) played the part beautifully, transitioning from a rigid, brittle wind-up doll during introductory “Birth in Reverse” into an energetic rock star by the end, eventually falling into the crowd and collapsing onto the stage floor. It was a performance in every sense of the word, and without question one of the best I’ve seen on any stage.