Boston Called, Did You Answer?

Boston Calling is the biggest multi-day music festival to rock our city to its core. Over the years Boston Calling has played host to bands such as Young The GiantBastilleFun.Of Monsters and MenDeath Cab for Cutie, and The Shins. This year some pretty bad ass bands rocked City Hall Plaza, most notably LordeThe 1975The Replacements, and Childish Gambino. But that’s not to say the other bands didn’t rock just as hard.

Just in case you missed the call … let’s take a look back at the three bands that kicked off Boston Calling 2014 on Friday night; Future IslandsNeutral Milk Hotel, and The National.

Future Islands, from the beautiful state of North Carolina (however, based in Maryland), formed in 2006 and is currently signed to 4AD. They have released four albums, with the most recent having been released in March of this year. They’ve been on shows such as The Late Night Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel. 

Their latest album, Singles, features a mellow, indie vibe with a hint of an electronic feel. It’s definitely an album to listen to while you’re doing work and need something chill, but not enough to put you to sleep. Having never seen them before their show Friday night, I was definitely impressed.  10/10, give ‘em a listen!

Neutral Milk Hotel put on an amazingly energetic show and took to the stage with a very unique mélange of instruments. They started with an announcement of no video or photography allowed, which was a little disappointing for me, since I was covering their show.  However, as their show went on, the disappointment disappeared.

I would classify their music as indie folk rock. The singer has a very distinctive voice that, in my opinion, is similar to that of The Mountain Goats. Throughout their show, they featured the French horn, an accordion, a euphonium, banjo, trombone, trumpet, and my favorite, the electric bagpipes. The amount of energy this band was able to produce was astounding. I’m 99% sure the band member playing the banjo/keyboard/accordion never once stopped moving and dancing around the stage. The trumpet and trombone players were absolutely amazing. (Not to mention the beauty that was the trumpeter’s beard…) And even though there were a lot of people on stage for one band, they flowed together to create an overall great show. Neutral Milk Hotel was a new experience for me, and it was one I would recommend to all those who like unique, indie music.

The National closed out the first day of Boston Calling with quite a show. Their music in general can be a bit on the mellow side which made me a bit nervous seeing them for the first time, but they certainly did not disappoint. Their energy on and off stage was unbelievable. At one point in the show the singer jumped off stage and made his way into the audience running around the crowd, continuing to sing the song they were playing. The production of their show was captivating, from the choreography of the lighting, to the video playback on all of the screens which showed them performing but with graphic overlays gave the show an edgier vibe. The National easily put on one of the best shows of the festival. I would not hesitate to buy a ticket to another one of their shows.

Friday night boasted some awesome new (to me) artists that I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience. For me, festivals like Boston Calling are one of the best ways to discover new music and maybe even find your new favorite artist. If you get the chance, I would recommend seeing any of the three bands above or even just checking out their channel on Spotify.

Check out the full line-up from this weekend’s festival below.



[This is a repost from BU Central Music Blog, Sept 8, 2014.]