Day Two Boston Calling Wrap Up: A day of straight Rock, singer songwriters and Jack White, just..Jack White!
Day two was a stacked day again with Jack White closing out the night! As well as Jack White, we have a ton of great singer songwriter acts on the bill be it the openers Lillie Mae to St. Vincent and Manchester Orchestra. This year’s line up is easily the most eclectic line up the festival has had and it’s making it a much better experience.
First up in the day was instrumental progressive rockers TAUK who garnered a crowd of at least three to four hundred which was incredibly impressive for that 12:50 pm slot. The band clearly had fans in attendance as there was many a head bobbing. The band had genuine smiles on their faces but it seemed only natural due to the great reaction they were getting from the band. A great warm up I’m sure for many people that are about to let it all out at The Menzingers which is our next stop as well.
The second band of the day that I caught was The Menzingers who are easily one of the standouts I knew I had to see at the festival. The band seemed like a fish out of water but it wasn’t their fault and they played the set just like they do when they play the clubs. The Red Stage is a pretty weird set up where the area to the immediate left and right is reserved for VIP or Platinum guests but there was definitely a group of fans to the right which made it a little more realistic. Either way, Menzingers played their hearts out on stage and it was winning people over as the set progressed. It reminded me so much of Citizen with how heartfelt the lyrics were and the story their songs truly told. Highlights for me were “The Obituaries”, featuring the line ‘I will fuck this up, I fucking know it’ and every subsequent song just killed me be it, “Thick as Thieves” to “After the Party”. Which doubles as the title track off the new record and my favorite moment of the set. With lines as cliché as ‘the sex and the drugs and the rock & roll’ but this band makes it feel like the opposite.
My first bite of the day was the “Green Muenster” from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. Tell me again why I don’t always go there? It was literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and easily the best thing I’ve eaten so far. They have four different options at the festival and I’m seriously considering trying all of them. With a great soundtrack provided by the The Oh Sees, of course!
Next up was easily the highlight going in for the day with long time favorites Manchester Orchestra on the Green stage. It only shows their success when they were at least two thousand to three thousand for when the band started and by the end of the set, the crowd had easily grown by about four times that. The band rocked their way through just under an hour of a set and had the crowd bobbing their heads through out with some definite fans in attendance. So much so that it was the first time I saw the cameras go down to the fans. Opening up with ‘Pride’, clad in their summery printed shirts and shorts which is something we definitely don’t see too often, kids were moshing with themselves and singing all the words.
Manchester Orchestra will always put on the most honest rock show and even if kids in the crowd didn’t know them coming in, they sure left with a new favorite band. Playing hits like ‘Shake it Out’, ‘I’ve Got Friends’ and ‘Simple Math’, the hour flew by. With minimal crowd interaction till the end, which are the kinds of sets I love the most, front man Andy Hull simply said, “We shed blood, we shared so much. Thank you for spending time with us. Sing along alright”. This right before they finished out their set oh so strong with ‘The Gold’, fresh off their album released last year, “A Black Mile to the Surface”.
Just five minutes after Manchester Orchestra walked off stage, the UK drum and bass duo Royal Blood took the red stage and gave somewhat of a different experience yet still just as great. The band has opened for all the heavyweights including Queens of the Stone Age who would be the next band of the day to take the red stage, as well as opening for the Foo Fighters at Fenway. The crowd was massive and was seemingly hooked on every word and the band was thriving off of that too. With major party vibes, the band put on an insane show with red and silver flashing lights the whole time. With incredible drum solos through out the set and great guitar work, the band seriously impressed. A few seconds after the camera caught the drummer taking swigs from a bottle of Patron in between songs, the singer quickly said, ‘We’re going to do whatever we want. So we’re just going to get drunk and you can watch it,’ with huge roars from the crowd after that statement. Royal Blood wasn’t a band I had seen yet so I was a first timer and a little overwhelmed by the energy but a big track I really liked was ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’. It was a lot considering they played directly after Manchester Orchestra but it was still great vibes!
Next up was the lady queen of the day, St. Vincent, who is a Boston Calling veteran, appearing several times at the now in it’s ninth installment of the festival. Of course, as always, she brought a shocker of a show, be it that everyone but her and one of her band wasn’t in masks that completely covered their faces while they sung or the visual effects happening behind her. I was a little weirded out to be honest but still stuck it out for a few, including “Rattlesnake” ,which had the crowd going wild.
Post a little St. Vincent, took a much needed AC break and went into the arena for the first time of the festival! For the set, I also got my first beer from the craft beer tent that’s located at the entrance to the festival, the Windy Hill NE IPA, which was delicious. As I walked in, the security guard gave me a total pro tip of which I hadn’t been aware of until the day. Even if you don’t intend on going to the arena for any of the acts (which I can’t blame you for, with how stacked each day of the festival has been), get one of those early wristbands since you can use actual bathrooms and not be stuck using the port a potties all day. Glad I realized this at the end of Day two but most definitely will be taking advantage of that at the last day!
Bridget Everett was the final act of the day for the day and was the perfect dose of humor to break up a long day. I walked in to see Everett with her dress hiked up and underwear out for everyone to see. As I walked in, she was finishing up a classic, “Titties” , and carrying a lady in attendance onto the stage on her back. Between songs, she would crack jokes as well as some great one liners like ‘I’m not flexible but I’m a real good sport and I think that counts for something’. And then transitioned quickly into ‘What I Gotta Do’, where right after she walked into the crowd and tried to find I think the most uncomfortable looking people in the audience as well as putting a man’s head in her top. Who she then invited up to the stage and said she was going to literally sit on his upper regions let’s just say that and with that quote she introduced the last song by saying ‘This one’s for the dreamers’ before she jumped into a cover of Miley Cyrus’s ‘The Climb’. While Everett isn’t clearly for everybody, she was excellent and had the whole room cracking up.
After leaving Everett’s set, I ran over to see the iconic Queens Of the Stone Age who were just straight rock and roll. Giving a major flashback to when The Pixies closed out Boston Calling a few years ago, it was the perfect pre-cursor to the night’s headliner Jack White. With highlights for me being ‘Smooth Sailing’ and ‘River in the Road’, the band absolutely destroyed it. The latter was prefaced by vocalist Josh Homme saying, ‘This goes to Jack White, St. Vincent, Royal Blood, Tyler, The Creator. It’s been an honor to play with these acts. And it’s a honor to be next to this fucking wheel. Which I will go on and barf off the side of. With one lucky fan and five unlucky fans’.
I dipped to the blue stage since I’m trying to cover as many acts as I can on this huge lineup where Tyler, The Creator was finishing up his set. I was feeling it and he’s a long time, really hard working act who had a huge crowd and played both his old and new, saying ‘Whether you like this album or that album, you all come together for this one brain’. And I was feeling the track, “Off Wolf”, which he introduced by saying ‘I thought this was the best song I had ever written at the time’. Know what really turns me off the set? When you just go ‘Yo Boston, Fuck women’. No thanks. He put on a great set (and your girl still will be at Eminem today with bells on) but this was a shitty move after having such a positive vibe the whole set. When all the girls in attendance screamed in approval at that great quote, I knew it was my time to peace out and get a good spot for Jack White.
As I walked up to the last set of the day, Queens of the Stone Age were finishing up their last song and the second the band went off stage, a timer came on to the screens with a five minute countdown and Jack White looking into the camera occasionally which made the crowd roar every time. I read somewhere that Jack White just Jack White’s you and that’s exactly what happened. White put on a great rock show and had the crowd guessing and maybe a little confused every few songs. He came out as a full on rock show, with the first track being one of his latest singles, ‘Over and Over and Over’, for a few songs then would go country for a track or two but it was heavenly through out. It was an hour or so into the set before Jack White spoke to the crowd but once he broke that seal, he said something quick in between each song. But that first moment where he spoke to the crowd was when he sang a hit from his time with The Raconteurs with “Steady as She Goes” and encouraged the crowd to sing some gang vocals asking the crowd to sing ‘Are you steady now?’ after he sang ‘Steady as she goes’ every time and it made for a beautiful moment. Like Stone Age did, he shouted out the headliners, The Oh Sees and even the day opener Lillie Mae before he played the last few songs and as he was five minutes past his set time he even went ‘Boston, they’re making me leave but I really don’t want to’ before he finished up in the nick of time at the show curfew.
Jack White was the perfect end to a long day of rock & roll and great songwriting. Now today, it’s a bit of a different vibe, very freezing, but it’s a great day of ethereal singing from Julien Baker to psychedelic favorites of mine Pond, great local presence and of course ending up the day with teen sensation Khalid acting as direct support to some guy named Eminem who will be closing out the festival the best way possible with his first show in Boston in over thirteen years. Be there, but also be smart, the high is a chilly 56 today!