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.
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.
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.
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!