Boston Calling day 3 pics & review (Tool, Wolf Parade, Converge, Piebald, more)
The 2017 Boston Calling music festival wrapped up on Sunday (5/28), completing its first year in its new larger location, the Harvard Athletic Complex. The final day of the festival was headlined by Tool (review, pictures and setlist of their set HERE), and featured tons of other great stuff.
I showed up at the tail-end of Mitski's set, so I unfortunately didn't get to really see her, but what I did hear sounded great as always. Directly after Mitski's Red Stage set on the adjacent Green Stage were hometown heroes Converge.
"We're probably the loudest band at this festival... and definitely the weirdest and ugliest," J Bannon said to introduce their set, before opening with a crushing performance of "Dark Horse." He wasn't wrong at all. From that point on, the set stayed at a high, as powerful and mesmerizing as ever -- and it truly was the most abrasive set of the weekend by a mile (not that there's any surprise there). Given the festival environment, the crowd wasn't as riotous as a typical Converge show, but the band gave it their all nonetheless. The rhythm section was thunderous as ever, Kurt Ballou's riffs were dazzling, and J Bannon remains a master of the art of hardcore frontman.
For a more riotous Boston Calling crowd, immediately after Converge came Flatbush Zombies on the Red Stage. I haven't seen the Zombies in a while and it didn't really click with me until Sunday how big they've gotten. Their crowd was huge, with kids throwing their hands in the air, jumping up and down, and starting mini mosh pits the whole time. They played some new songs, which got just as big a reaction as the ones people already knew. "Just pretend you know them," Meechy Darko told the crowd. Meech, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliott were as wild on stage as the audience was on the ground, and they fit in countless mind-bending rhymes between all the running and jumping around. They were perfect for a festival setting.
After Flatbush Zombies, it was right back to the Green Stage, which hosted another heroic hometown act: Piebald. They opened the set like they open their most-loved album, We Are The Only Friends We Have, with "King of the Road," and they immediately had a huge chunk of the crowd singing along. Their set relied most heavily on songs from that album, like their other recent reunion shows have. Every single one went over just as well as the last, but of course the biggest crowd reaction of the set came for the shoutalong "American Hearts." They dipped back into their catalog for some older stuff too, including the '90s-era classic "Grace Kelly with Wings." For that one, right as the crowd shouted the "AND YOU'VE GOT THOSE SEXY LEGS!" part, confetti shot up into the air.
The toughest conflict on the lineup for me was Run the Jewels vs Wolf Parade, who played at exactly the same time. I ended up picking Wolf Parade, whose 2016 reunion shows were some of my absolute favorite shows of last year, and whose first album since 2010 I cannot wait for. The band mentioned on stage that they finished the album, and they played two very fine-sounding songs from it. They also of course filled the set with favorites, with tons of Apologies to the Queen Mary songs and other highlights like "Soldier's Grin" and "What Did My Lover Say?" Now that the band's been back in action for over a year, they sounded even crisper and tighter than they already did at their first shows back. They also really rock. They're the opposite of statues on stage, their drummer knows exactly what he's doing, and they know how to turn those guitars up when they need to, like on the lengthy set-closer "Kissing the Beehive." If you care about rock music in 2017, you need to hear Wolf Parade play that song live.
Before Tool, I decided to give Weezer's current live show another shot. Blue Album and Pinkerton are two of my favorite albums ever, but some of the stuff they've done since is so insufferable (like new single "Feels Like Summer") that seeing them live makes for some of the most drastic ups and downs of any band I can think of. After getting one song from the '90s in the first ten songs ("My Name Is Jonas"), which included a disappointing cover of OutKast's "Hey Ya," I gave up.
Day three also had The Hotelier, PUP, Major Lazer, Frightened Rabbit, Buffalo Tom, Hiss Golden Messenger, and more. Pictures of day three are in the gallery above.
photos by Aaron Peipert