Boston Calling Music Festival returned with joyful crowds and a few pitfalls

This past weekend, Boston Calling made its very long-awaited return to Harvard University Athletics Intricate soon after two many years of cancellations, and for a second — as Friday’s overcast skies gave way to a sunny afternoon just as the main gates opened — it appeared that the festival’s luck might be shifting for the much better.

It had been a tough 3 many years: contacting off the fest in 2020 and 2021, acquiring 3 alternative headliners for 2022, setting up a key function amid swelling COVID variants. But as Paris Jackson and Pom Pom Squad warmed up Friday’s early crowds, the temper was optimistic. By the time British glam-rock act The Struts swaggered across the key phase, it turned downright celebratory.

Mia Berrin of the Pom Pom Squad performs on the first day of the Boston Calling Music Festival. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Mia Berrin of the Pom Pom Squad performs on the to start with day of the Boston Contacting Songs Festival. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Absolutely sure, this year’s pageant was distinctive — many thanks to heavier headliners 9 Inch Nails and Metallica, a more eclectic undercard than at any time, and nixed arena activities — but it presented nice surprises, too. The addition of a fourth stage permitted the competition to showcase extra Boston-space functions, and an afternoon established from Roxbury rapper Avenue introduced out just as substantially strength as anything going on elsewhere on competition grounds. But the night’s most important twist came midway through Avril Lavigne’s nostalgic pop quantities, when the group acquired what would be the very first of a number of unfortunate notifications: The Strokes, who had been established to headline Saturday night time, would no lengthier be ready to carry out due to a COVID scenario inside of the band. As an alternative, 9 Inch Nails would headline both of those Friday and Saturday evenings. Even with some supporter disappointment, the general temper bounced back speedily — and once Nine Inch Nails’ heavily strobe-lit, fog-laced set commenced up, their pulsing efficiency of favorites from “The Downward Spiral” and other early singles still left place for minimal assumed of everything else.

Festival-goers at Boston Calling are evacuated due to severe weather Saturday afternoon. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Festival-goers at Boston Calling are evacuated thanks to critical weather Saturday afternoon. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

But if the Strokes’ unlucky information cast a metaphorical dim cloud more than the lineup, individuals clouds in fact materialized on Saturday afternoon as thunderheads rolled in more than excellent sets from Madrid garage-pop act Hinds and mounting rock ‘n’ roller Celisse. Just as regional indie-popper Frances Endlessly was about to acquire the stage, a competition-wide announcement urged attendees to move forward to the exits to find shelter in Harvard Square, or, more ambiguously, “shelter on sight,” leading some to search for refuge beneath steel concession tents. Others headed into the tummy of Harvard Stadium, which experienced been opened to attendees but was not clearly introduced, potentially due to constrained space. Sending tens of hundreds of individuals out to cross a few chaotic intersections amid dangerous weather seems to give small genuine profit for festivalgoers’ safety, and Saturday’s upheaval recommended that evacuation plans may well need to have some function in buy to prepare for future occasions.

When the downpour broke and the grounds reopened about 6 p.m., crowds cheered at the news — only to read the festival’s assertion further and realize that prolific jammers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard experienced also dropped off the night’s lineup due to a constructive COVID exam. Kennyhoopla served revive the temper with a raucous pop-punk set, full with a everyday backflip and crowd-surfing effectiveness that delighted enthusiastic younger supporters. Later on, substantial-strength performances from Atlanta hip-hop duo EarthGang and competition mainstays Run the Jewels speedily constructed momentum, and by the time Nine Inch Nails took the stage for a 2nd time, it seemed that considerably of the group–even those people who’d been hunting ahead to The Strokes — experienced determined to stick all around. People who did ended up rewarded with a set that focused on deeper cuts, alongside with a address of David Bowie’s “Fashion.” Bandleader Trent Reznor after all over again stepped into the part of affable host, apologizing to individuals who’d been searching forward to the night’s primary lineup, reminiscing about his early times recording at Syncro Audio on Newbury Street, and joking his way by means of the awkwardness of the event: “I guarantee you, we are not actively playing tomorrow… as far as I know.”

Left: KennyHoopla dives into the crowd during his set at the Boston Calling Music Festival. Right: El-P and Killer Mike of Run the Jewels performing at the Boston Calling Music Festival. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Still left: KennyHoopla dives into the crowd through his established at the Boston Calling Audio Pageant. Ideal: El-P and Killer Mike of Operate the Jewels undertaking at the Boston Calling Music Competition. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast performs at the Boston Calling Music Festival. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast performs at the Boston Contacting Songs Pageant. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The festival’s ultimate working day arrived devoid of further surprises—aside from the dimension of the crowd, probably. Although Friday and Saturday each individual boasted a nutritious turnout, men and women poured by means of the gates all day Sunday, offering a lively reception for early afternoon sets from locals Oompa and Cliff Notez. Fresh new off very last weekend’s Saturday Evening Reside overall performance, Japanese Breakfast set up herself as just one of the day’s largest highlights when serving up glimmering, ‘80s-tinged indie-pop. Later in the day, someplace involving Modest Mouse’s dutiful greatest-hits hour and Weezer’s singalong-heavy set, the fields in entrance of the principal stage region grew shoulder-to-shoulder packed. Metallica took the phase to what might’ve been just one of the greatest Boston Contacting crowds of all time, chugging through a established of ‘80s and ‘90s hits before closing out the pageant with “Enter Sandman.” It was a fitting note to conclusion on: undoubtedly the festival’s heaviest yr still, but even so, a crowd-pleaser in the close.

Metallica performs the closing set at the 2022 Boston Calling Music Festival. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Metallica performs the closing established at the 2022 Boston Calling New music Pageant. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Kenneth Proto

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