The fifth installment of Boston Calling will take place September 25th-27th, 2015 in City Hall Plaza located in the heart of downtown Boston. This fall’s lineup is a major who’s who in the festival scene with such headliners as The Avett Brothers, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Hozier, Of Monsters and Men, and CHVRCHES. Don’t get me started on this amazing undercard! Just look at that lineup!
Yes, that is right… a total of 23 acts for the three-day event in downtown Boston. What is spectacular about this festival that you do not find in others; there are only two stages and no overlapping of set times. So ideally you can make every single act in the lineup as long as you are at the festival during the right time. Take note smaller festivals across the globe on how it should be done!
So let us take a little moment to get better acquainted with this fairly recent music festival as it started in May 2013 with headliners Fun, The National, The Shins, Of Monsters and Men and Young the Giant. Boston Calling is a biannual event being held every May and September; these lineups (bostoncalling.com/pastlinups.html) have gotten better with each edition. Makes me wish I had attended this event since the beginning or at least both editions in 2014. But to be fair, both editions of 2015 are pretty solid and at least I will get the fall edition under my concert hopping belt.
Out of this edition’s 23 acts/artists, I wish to highlight 12 that deserve some love whether at Boston Calling or you’re just the casual reader who is a lover of music. Note that this list will be in order according to their respected billing on the Boston Calling lineup. Some of these artists/bands you may be aware of if so you deserve a high-five! You are well on your way to help spread the word about some great music to the masses.
- alt-J: This indie electronica/folk/rock UK band needs little introduction based on their swarming popularity here in the states with both albums, An Awesome Wave and This is all Yours.
- Alabama Shakes: As the aforementioned band, this rock/blues rock/soul band based out of Athens, Alabama has taken the festival scene back with a vengeance with the release of their latest album, Sound & Color.
- Of Monsters and Men: This indie folk/indie pop band was formed in Keflavik, Iceland (2010) and have made a strong case as being one of the premiere bands on this Boston Calling Check out their latest release, Beneath the Skin.
- CHRVCHES: Seen this Glasgow electropop band a few times and enjoyed their set immensely despite basically the same set list due to their limited discography. Well rejoice because on September 25, 2015, they release Every Open Eye featuring the track, “Leave a Trace”.
- Chromeo: This Montreal-based nu disco/electro funk/synth pop/dance rock duo will definitely be at the top of many reviewers “Best of” list during this edition of Boston Calling. Had the pleasure of watching their mind-blowing set at Bonnaroo (2014) on the Which Stage. Not a single person could resist the power of their tunes and carelessly danced the night away.
- Father John Misty: If you have not had the chance of listening to Maryland native Joshua Tillman a.k.a. Father John Misty, please do so now. If not for his intricate and well-written lyrics laced through his distinctive folk-rock/indie rock sound… then listen to him based on his caustic wit and attitude alone. Trust me.
- Sturgill Simpson: Any time this country singer-songwriter from Kentucky is on a festival schedule or makes it close to my area- he is on a permanent Must See List and will not be removed unless prior written approval is submitted. This says a lot if you know me.
- Twin Shadow: Brooklyn native George Lewis Jr., or better known as Twin Shadow (indie pop/new wave/synth pop), has been active since 2000 with 3 albums and many collaborations and remixes under his name. Not an artist to miss or sleep on.
- Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks: Stephen, lead singer for Pavement, created this indie rock band after his former band took a ‘break’ in 1999. Since their formation, they have released 6 solid albums.
- FIDLAR: I first mentioned this skate punk/surf rock/garage rock indie band in my recap of the Shaky Knees Music & Arts Festival (Atlanta, Georgia) Day 2… so of course they would make my must-see list at the next festival that they were playing. Do not miss this chance if you are attending Boston Calling.
- Doomtree: This Minneapolis-based indie hip-hop collective has been performing since 2001. Already with a strong 12 albums to their name, this is an honor to have such pioneering indie legends, Doomtree appear at this fall’s Boston Calling.
- Gregory Alan Isakov: Gregory is a veteran indie folk artist who migrated to the states via Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 2003, he has released 5 albums… get to know him. You will be glad you did.
Wristbands for this fall’s Boston Calling are moderately priced at $175.00 for the General 3 day pass, V.I.P. are priced at $375.00, and some limited single day wristbands are being sold at a later date. The V.I.P. package does include an exclusive dedicated entrance, V.I.P. lounge access, Hoers d’oeuvres, private bar, private restrooms, and an elevated viewing platform for the Blue Stage. Join their mailing list to stay informed about single day tickets for the fall 2015 edition and early bird presell wristbands which are priced cheaper than regular general admission wristbands for the upcoming 2016 shows.
City Hall Plaza is easily accessible via public transportation, Uber (use promo code tarynw59 on your first ride to get $20 off) or walking/bicycle so it is strongly urged you plan your trip down the smallest detail if you are not familiar with downtown Boston. Parking is normally a challenge, especially with a festival occurring, so be smart and use some other form of transportation. At the end of this article are some ‘helpful links’ to each line on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) which can take you to the event, but it must be noted that Government Center station is closed until Spring 2016 so avoid making the mistake of not doing some research beforehand. The festival is in walking distance from the State Street station on the Orange and Blue lines or the Haymarket stop on the Orange and Green lines.
While staying in Boston, I would suggest using Airbnb over staying at a hotel/motel located in the area… but that is like my opinion man. I have included two links (located in the ‘helpful links’ section) to check out local accommodations. But from my personal experience to achieve some semblance of feeling at home, Airbnb offers many amenities that hotel/motels cannot offer their guests. Nothing like being able to cook breakfast in the morning rather than being in a hotel room while enjoying a free skimpy, continental breakfast with the hopes the public waffle maker isn’t broken at this time. Sometimes it is the little things like that that can help bolster an out-of-town festival trip and put you in a great, positive mood to start off each festival day. I hope that if you see me in Boston for the fall edition to Boston Calling… come say hello and have your high five game on alert.
Helpful links for traveling to and from this year’s Boston Calling:
Airbnb < Use this link to sign up and get $25 off!
Uber < Use promo code tarynw59 and get $20 off your first ride free!