Concert Reviews

Pixies at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 30th 2015

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Who better to close out the Boston Calling Music Festival, than local Boston heroes, Pixies?

I last caught the Pixies at The Capitol Theatre last May, and since then, the group has been touring steadily for the past year. Newly acquired bassist Paz Lenchantin has really grown to be a nice fit for the group live, doing the best that anyone could possibly do to replace the irreplaceable Kim Deal.

The band used their headlining spot to deliver a packed 32-song set full of all the hits as well as some more obscure cuts in between. It was a larger than life reminder of what makes the Pixies one of rock’s all time greats, and to see them still going strong against all the odds, well, that’s what it’s all about.

It was a perfect sendoff to a wonderful weekend of music.
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Tenacious D at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 30th 2015

1_Tenacious D_Boston Calling 2015

I’ll be honest, one of the true drawing points of the 2015 spring edition of Boston Calling was the booking of Tenacious D, the comedic rock duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass. I never actually thought I’d get to see them play live, which made their appearance one of the must sees performances of the summer festival circuit.

The group had festivalgoers simultaneously rocking out and laughing historically along to their rocking anthems and freaky comedic skits. Fans of their albums were entertained by faithful renditions of songs that played out just as much as a theatrical performance, as a head-banging rock concert. It was a glorious goofy set, but a good time that no attendees will be forgetting anytime soon.
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TV On The Radio at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 29th 2015

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After catching TV On The Radio rock the beautiful Kings Theatre just a few days before, I once again caught up with the Brooklyn rockers at Boston Calling last May.

The festival setting allowed the guys to trim the set to something more of a greatest hits set, starting with “Young Liars” and closing with “Staring At The Sun.” When you get to fill in the rest of a set with “DLZ,” “Dancing Choose,”” and “Wolf Like Me,” you’re in business.
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Jason Isbell at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 29th 2015

1_Jason Isbell_Boston Calling 2015

Jason Isbell has had a successful solo career since departing from Drive-By Truckers. Since 2007 the alt-country singer has released five albums, with the latest album, Something More Than Free, coming next month via Southeastern Records.

He delighted the Boston Calling crowd with a set of folk-minded songs with a passionate homecooked way that was a more heartfelt “country” than the sort of stuff you hear on the radio and ends up the butt of a joke.

Isbell has not only seperated himself from his previous work with DBT, but truly emerged as a truly successful frontman.
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Lucius at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 29th 2015

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Brooklyn’s very own Lucius came to the rescue after Chet Faker was forced to cancel his Boston Calling performance after a freak accident left him unable to perform. While I was intrigued to catch Faker perform, I was perfectly content with getting another shot at seeing Lucius perform.

The band, led by Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, performed a stunning set of music that hit that mid-day sweet spot, winning over the entire crowd with ease. They also shared a brand new song which will most likely appear on their new album, the follow-up to their 2013 sophomore record, Wildewoman.

Find a video of the new song below, along with photos from their set.
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The Lone Bellow at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 21st 2015

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Brooklyn group The Lone Bellow took over the Boston Calling stage with a passionate display of rootsy folk-rock tunes that made for a perfect mid-day Sunday performance.

They shared plenty of cuts from Then Came the Morning, their latest album, released earlier in the year via Descendant Records. The group, led by the passionate frontman and lead singer, Zach Williams, gave a memorable performance that reached down to the deepest part of their souls. The group’s strength is their ability to pile on their powerhouse vocals to create something very human and authentic. They’re the sort of group meant to be seen live, to touch you in the most natural way imaginable.
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ILoveMakonnen at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 18th 2015

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You probably know ILoveMakonnen best from his breakthrough hit “Tuesday,” which came out of no where to be one of the surprise hits of 2014. It probably didn’t hurt that the track featured Drake as the featured guest.

ILoveMakonnen, whose real name is Makonnen Sheran, was a replacement for Jungle, who had to drop off due to another conflict. The younger fans who cheered eagerly in the front of the crowd were clearly pleased with his presence, although Makonnen didn’t do much for me at all. All those who watched his set were having a lot of fun, predictably erupting once “Tuesday” was played. It will be interesting to see what Makonnen does from here on out, and if he can replicate the success of “Tuesday.”

Find some photos from his set posted below.
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Halsey at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 18th 2015

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Ashley Frangipane seems to have a blossoming career as the rising pop star Halsey. I came into her performance never hearing any of her music before. Her style of pop is hook friendly, with electronic undertones that give her a somewhat different spin on the genre, almost like a radio friendly Purity Ring or Sylvan Esso.

She’ll release her debut album Badlands on August 28 via Astralwerks Records. She’s also booked to open for Imagine Dragons tour later this year, so it’s safe to say that she’s well on her way to much bigger things.
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The Ballroom Thieves at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 18th 2015

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If there’s one thing that Boston Calling gets overwhelmingly right, is giving an early day set to a local up-and-coming Boston band. This is a refreshing aspect that I hope more festivals do as well, giving the festival a well rounded and grounded feeling that you sometimes lose in the grand scheme of it all.

This year the festival gave spotlight to Boston trio The Ballroom Thieves. Mixing elements of folk rock and americana, The Ballroom Thieves delivered something that you could enjoy even if you’re not normally one for that genre. They played tracks from their recently released debut album A Wolf In the Doorway, winning over those early enough there to catch the group.

They may be a new name right now, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last you hear of The Ballroom Thieves.
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