Boston Calling September poster

The Boston Calling Festival started last year, and this year’s edition, which comes to the city next month, boasts one of the most vanilla festival lineups we’re likely to see this year (which is some kind of achievement). But the festival is apparently successful enough that its organizers have added a second weekend later in the summer; it’ll come back to Boston’s City Hall Plaza 9/5-7. And this time around, the lineup is significantly more interesting. This bill won’t cause anyone to keel over with surprise or anything, but there’s a lot to like from top to bottom. The headliners are the National, Lorde, and the reunited Replacements. And there are lots of good bands further down the bill: Nas with the Roots, Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, Girl Talk, Volcano Choir, the War On Drugs, the Hold Steady, Future Islands, Sky Ferreira, White Denim, and S. Carey among them. Even in terms of the standard festival fare, the bill has some nice things happening; I’d take Childish Gambino and the 1975, say, over Edward Sharpe and Bastille any day. Check out the details on both festival weekends here.

Comments (11)
  1. The Mats are finally on the East coast! If I don’t get tickets for this, I will cry so deeply.

  2. this will be the largest gathering of cool dads in the northeast.

  3. I know Boston loves their mid-Aughts middle-of-the-line indie rock headliners, but to bring back the National just a year after they headlined a previous installment is pushing it. The rest of the lineup is better than previous ones, though. I’ll be interested to see how the three days break down.

    • probably cause its co-curated by Aaron Dessner

    • IDK I thought Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Local Natives and Kendrick Lamar last fall was a pretty great line-up. But then again, this is all on completely-festival deprived Bostonian scale, so I’ll take what I can get.

      • The fall lineup tends to be stronger than the spring one. Death Cab, The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, Brand New, Jack Johnson was, according to many comments I read all over the place about the lineup being released, “too white” and last decade for their tastes.

        • Well this is the second time around for each line-up, so it might be premature to extrapolate from that, but so far I agree. If they could add Modest Mouse to the fall line-up then I’d be really excited.

          After this spring line-up announcement, I saw a friend post on Facebook about how it was a huge let-down. I was about to like her status then saw her comment, “There’s no way in hell I’m paying admission just to see the two good acts, Jack Johnson and Death Cab.” Uhhh …

          • Yeah, having lived in Boston for several years, the general population’s indie music tastes is very — how would I say… Standard? Traditional? Classic? Preppy?

            I think this is definitely a healthy step up for them, though, because not many other festivals out there have been able to secure both Replacements and NMH dates. I might go to a single day out of curiosity, but I need to see the day by day breakdown because, take Governor’s Ball for example — great lineup on paper, but once it got split into days, it isn’t as strong from top to bottom.

  4. The fall lineups have definitely seemed stronger to me than the spring ones. Nas x Roots will be awesome, if not super-current. Neutral Milk Hotel is impressive.

    That said I think you’re definitely right about the general musical tastes of the Boston crowd, underscore. I live in the Boston area and this spring’s lineup prompted the most all-caps FB statuses I had seen in a long time.

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