Boston Calling Music Festival (2018)

Having seen my fair share of festivals and as someone who did his twenties the right way, another year at Boston Calling meant the same as it does every year. Music and miller light with an occasional IPA thrown in.

At 31 I proceed with caution when it comes to hearing new music so I’ll talk about my favorite acts, then get into something that stole the show. The Food.

Let’s do the weekend in reverse.

Boston Calling Archway

Mike D is nostalgia for me. 90’s MTV while being babysat. A skinny white guy that was in “a band” (because they were white) but rapped. The Beastie Boy tore up the stage on Sunday. I don’t know if I get all the technicalities of DJing, but he had it down with a hodgepodge of throwbacks from Ruff Ryders to Jigga and of course Sabotage, the best song that could ever get you going a suburban game of manhunt in the 5th grade.

Has Evey Ship Gone Sailing? Has Every Heart Gone Blue? Have all the songs been written? Oh, I just need one to get through to you. -The Killers

When the rain and cold front came further in I was ready to call it a night. Eminem had never honestly done it for me. While I waited eagerly with a very cold, wet and sober girlfriend (and the only girl from western mass who doesn’t like Slim Shady) on hand, he came through. My big fear was the new album, and that was not the case. He rocked all his old stuff with the same anger we all had in high school. The legend knows his audience and knows we all loved him back when he was still cleaning out his closet.

Sunset

Saturday was far more low tone but many acts I had not dedicated much time to on Spotify turned out. Queens of the Stones Age came off as a bit of a bar band, but Jack White roared with an eclectic sound and clear guitar riff. Again I expected something different having not been a fan. The earliest group of scenesters that killed was for sure Brockhampton with energy and total command of the crowd until an abrupt and tearful end to their set (more details pending I guess).

And finally night one my grand finale for the weekend was The National. They are a band that has those songs you know that you know, but you can’t tell, and although they are not a roaring ball of fire, they make a significant emotional impact on stage and in the crowd. The Killers also put on a great show, but The National took me other places.

Finally the big scene stealer this weekend was none other than the awesome food vendors that took over Harvard Athletic Complex. As a concert-goer in my twenties I’ve avoided the food because of porta-potty phobia, but sanitation was looking better this year. Nothing hit the spot like the vegan hot dogs from IKEA. “Do” cookie dough was a bit scary to imagine eating a mound of cookie dough while partying but it only enhanced the festival experience. Jaju Pierogi finally comes in as the best stomach filling sweet polish comfort food. Having avoided moms polish survival cooking all my life, I now have a new found appreciation for those things…oh wow yum!

Fishing with Boston Fun Cruises (VIDEO)

As part of a regular bro-out session known as the Red Wedding, a good friend of mine chartered a fishing boat in the Boston Harbor. We booked with Boston Fun Cruises, who were excellent. Check out the video below.

We went out on the Belle from the Barking Crab in the Boston Seaport District. Captain Charlie managed to find some good spots around the Boston Harbor, and we snagged some flounder. I should say that collectively we knew absolutely nothing about fishing. That didn’t really matter though; first mate Squid and the rest of the crew were very helpful setting lines, changing my rig to a lefty setup, and filleting the fish for us.

#beOurGuest #belle #fishing #saftb

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The Belle crew also made a stop for us to pick up about 40 lb of ice. This was a BYOB cruise, and they provided plenty of cooler space for sea sodas.

Another thing that worked in our favor was the roof on the Belle. None of us thought to bring a raincoat. We went through a complete downpour on the way in, but we all stayed dry.

The song in the video is called Rich Friends, but none of us really have any. That’s why we chartered a boat instead of hopping on a friend’s. When all was said and done, it ended up costing $80 / person for 15 of us. The whole trip lasted about 5 hours on a Saturday afternoon and was totally worth it.

Fishing on the Belle
Fishing on the Belle

Top Beaches from the New England Beach Tour for July 4th

July 4th is all about cookouts and beaches. Check out a recap of my New England Beach tour, which included 17 beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They’re all ranked in the slideshow below to help you pick a spot to park it for the holiday.

 

Newport 10 Miler Road Race (VIDEO)

When running road races beyond 5ks and 10ks, there are usually one or two stretches of the course that are just a bit dull. You find yourself jogging along a highway for some incalculable length of time or circling a very large, very barren parking lot under a scorching sun. Once you’ve run a few long races, you start to expect that some part of it will suck, morally and aesthetically. Not every every mile of a long race will come with uplifting spectators or breathtaking views.

The Newport 10 Miler is an exception to this rule.

The 10 mile road race starts and ends in the walls of the historic Fort Adams Fortress. You take in the sights of Narragansett Bay, the water shimmering like tinsel, the boats neatly docked along the running course, and a tall ship anchored close by. It’s a nice homecoming when you return to your starting place ten miles later. At one point in the final leg of the race, you even get to run under the arches of the massive fortress.

Fort Adams at the Starting Line
Fort Adams at the Starting Line

But that’s just the start and finish lines. The majority of the road race, the miles between beginning and end where runners need morale boosts the most, are replete with stunning scenery. Your first mile starts with a view of Fort Adams State Park, and then you spend the next five miles running along Newport’s historic Ocean Drive. You take in the salt water breeze and the lovely oceanfront property, and you barely care that you’ve been running under the June sun. Volunteers have graciously set up water and Gatorade stations every two miles, offering ample opportunity for re-hydrating.

After Ocean Drive, you’re on Bellevue Ave, where you see Miramar, Marble House and Rosecliff. By the time you’re done marveling at the mansions, you realize you are well over halfway done with this ten mile trek. You have just three more miles to go. A 5k. A cinch.

The crowd of spectators thickens as you sail down just a few more Newport streets. Suddenly you are back on Harrison Ave, the street that will lead you back to where you began. And then sure enough, mile nine escorts you right back to Fort Adams, where you run one more mile along the bay, cruise under the arches and cross the finish line, where your free Harpoon beer awaits.

See more events like this on our events page.

Boston Calling 2017

This year Boston Calling music festival stepped up their game.

Boston Calling Festival Grounds
Boston Calling at the Harvard Athletic Complex

Boston Calling is no longer packing thousands of people into the cramped, sweaty, barren Boston City Hall Plaza. Instead, this year’s festival took place on the grassy, more spacious Harvard Athletic Complex.

While it might have been a little muddy from the Friday night rain, having some dry turf to sit on definitely helped.  The entire event went smoothly. This is a big accomplishment from the planners and staff considering the change of location and drastic increase in size.

There were three stages for music concerts and a dedicated comedy arena. Some of the highlights and headliners included Mumford & Sons, Weezer, Cage the Elephant, Chance the Rapper, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and Run the Jewels.

‘Cage the Elephant was rockin too… but RTJ mannnn.’ Al Bonino, Boston Calling regular

And after reading about the BBQ Bomb, I decided to do what any unreasonable festival-goer would do: wait in line a good hour and a half for it, sneak into the VIP section, and wash it all down with some Mumford and Sons. The results were amazing.

Check out the video from day 2 of the festival, narrated by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: