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annual music festival makes a big comeback – The Suffolk Journal

Boston Calling, one of New England’s biggest music festivals, finally returned this year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The festival started with a bang, with a crowd gathering from day one. Boston Calling had four separate stages for its performances this year, including a stage set aside for local artists, allowing the event to showcase its largest lineup of local talent to date. They also had a very impressive food and drink lineup spanning the entire side of the Harvard Athletic Complex, where the festival was held for the fourth consecutive year.

Nothing says you’re at a music festival like a drink being triple its usual price, but they have to charge something on top of the ticket I guess. Although we learned early on to bring our own reusable bottles as a small bottle of water was $2.50 each, there was certainly some food worth it. The inclusion of local Boston businesses was also a good thing to see, such as Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Love Art Sushi, and Fomu Ice Cream.

There were even a handful of vegan options, which was good considering it can be difficult to find something to eat at events when you have dietary restrictions. We tried the Tasty Burger veggie burger which was very simple as they didn’t include the basic lettuce and tomato, it was just a burger on a dry bun. Nonetheless, the burger was good for being simple and wasn’t terribly expensive either.

My festival favorite was the vegan gyro I had from Greco which had pea protein meatballs, onion, tomato, fries and marinara sauce inside. Although it might seem like a unique combination, it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

From Cheap Trick and The Struts to HAIM and Avril Lavinge, there was music for people of all ages and interests.

As we waited for the festival’s very first act, Paris Jackson, we heard attendees discuss their excitement for the day’s other acts, with one person noting that they had specifically purchased a day one ticket on the other two days. just to see Avril Lavinge, and who could blame her.

Jackson took the stage at 2:00 p.m. Friday in an effortless bohemian outfit complete with sunglasses and patterned mesh pants. The entertainer looked cool as ever as she sang her first song from the set with her hands in her pockets.

Jackson picked up his guitar for his second song, “Lighthouse,” which was just released on May 20. Although Jackson gave the crowd some major rock star energy with his tattooed arms and angsty vocals, his two guitarists kinda stole the show for me. Both men were so in the background that it was hard not to focus on them as the two hairs flipped, laughed together and switched places on stage, you could see their passion for music radiating from them.

Overall, Paris showcased her beautiful voice for the opening act of the festival, and although most of her music was downtempo with a melancholy feel, the set was spot on and the whole crowd was mesmerized by her. in front of the red stage.

After Jackson’s intro act, we discovered the energetic Pom Pom Squad on the Delta Airlines blue stage. Although we’ve never heard of this particular group before, the group drew just as large a crowd as the other groups, lining up to see them.

What I really enjoyed throughout the festival was how happy and excited all the artists seemed to be there, it made the festival even more special. The first glimpse we saw of this dynamic was with Pom Pom Squads lead singer Mia Berrin of Brooklyn, New York, as halfway through her set, she shared how she dreamed of performing here.

When I was 18, my mom sent me to a music festival, and I was so excited after the festival that I decided to come home and start a band. Berrin told the crowd. “And it was one of the festivals my mom and I wanted to go to.”

After the sweet feeling, the band continued their set, which was another amazing performance. Berrin showcased his angelic voice during the eclectic rock and grunge ensemble with songs like “Cake” and “Forever.” Much of the performance gave off a 90s alternative rock vibe, which was definitely a good setup for Avril Lavinge who performed on the same stage later that day.

A faithful alternative to the first two acts, we also saw Grandson perform on the green stage giving the crowd a hard rock/hip-hop sound. Lead singer Jordan Edward Benjamin had a voice reminiscent of Twenty-One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph, with some Gorillaz vibes mixed in. Although not exactly my style, the set was very exciting and interactive with the crowd, with the lead singer telling the audience to “Have fun” and creating a mosh pit for them at 3 p.m.

Benjamin also acknowledged the Foo Fighters, who were the original headliners for the festival supposed to perform on that very stage, telling the crowd they’re sending their love to the band right now, as they retired in reason for the death of their drummer. , Taylor Hawkins, earlier this year.

One of the best acts of the day was The Backseat Lovers, who had a strong fanbase in the crowd despite being one of the lesser known acts, with the crowd singing along for most of their set the whole time. The band played beloved songs “Kilby Girl” and “Maple Syrup” which had the crowd dancing, singing and cheering throughout their set. The band sounded great with great guitar and some of the best vocals all day.

Personally, my favorite part was how sweet and humble lead singer Joshua Harmon was during their performance. After each song, he said “thank you” to the crowd while smiling from ear to ear, which made the viewing experience very enjoyable, and I myself couldn’t help but smile after each song too. The lead singer told the crowd that they had just done their first tour of Europe and it was their last stop before “going home and hugging their mothers”, so they wanted to make the most of it, and he no doubt they did it with their wholesome and passionate ensemble.

One of the last acts we caught of the day was The Struts’ performance on the green stage, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the whole day so far, solidifying their fan base as the crowd roared as they arrived on stage.

The band put on a high-energy day one performance, jumping, clapping and pointing at the crowd. Lead singer Luke Spiller was thrilled to be in the States, exclaiming, “Finally the Struts are back in Boston baby!” and said, “God Bless you America” ​​after performing “Put Your Money on Me”. Paris Jackson even returned to the stage for their set to perform the song the band has with Jackson “Low Key in Love.” The band also performed some of their best songs “Kiss This” and “Body Talks”, with Spiller showcasing his powerful vocals throughout the set.

Although we weren’t able to catch some of the biggest bands of the day like Avril Lavinge and Nine Inch Nails, the festival certainly lived up to my expectations and was well worth the experience and the performances over the next two days were just as incredible. If you like live music and concerts, Boston Calling was the place to be.

Follow Abby on Twitter @astreabbs