WRBB x Boston Calling 10
Day 3 · Full lineup here
Hello from the midst of Boston Calling! We’re excited to bring you daily recaps from Boston’s best (and only) music festival. Music director Chris Triunfo, general manager Andrew Goldberg and technical director Catu Berretta are on the ground in Allston for the weekend. Here are their thoughts on day 3.
Chris: Not Tame Impala, not Big Red Machine. Not even Princess Nokia. The highlight of this entire weekend was seeing Ravyn Lenae give her all on the green stage early on Sunday. The set was far too short and the time slot far too early, but Lenae’s stage presence was something out of this world. Wearing a light pink dotted dress, Lenae used a straw to sip on some freshly bottled water as she breezed through her catalog of music. Lenae’s voice, along with her set design and infectious smile felt like the final step in the arduous ritual New England needed to finally welcome the summer. On top of that, the sun was blaring all day, a pesky reminder to everyone that those $9 Miller Lites might just be a worthy investment.
After Lenae, though, things sort of fizzled out again, a reminder of what Friday had to offer. Guster took fans back to a time when Boston could consistently pump out decent alternative acts. Back in the arena, Melissa Villaseñor gave a mostly stale comedy set that gave way to a far better one from SNL’s weekend update host Michael Che. At the same time SOB X RBE, a west coast hip hop project from Vallejo, worked the crowd on the green stage. At this point, fans were drunker than yesterday and readier than ever to see headliner Travis Scott. The energy was latching across the complex, successfully making its way to the red stage where MARINA – previously Marina and the Diamonds – gave Boston a set that was reminiscent of Betty Who’s. Both artists are clear examples of what pop music in 2019 should really sound like.
Then came the end of the weekend. Following MARINA, Sheck Wes came on for a quick set that essentially revolved around the Harlem rapper’s hit single “Mo Bamba.” Logic’s set attracted one of the largest crowds the festival has seen, and Travis Scott’s performance served as proof that the 28-year-old rapper is a seasoned professional. From the rodeo, to Astroworld and now Boston Calling, Travis was the perfect way to end Boston Calling 10. Today, like Friday, was full of some really wonderful gems. I already can’t wait for next year!
Best of the day: Ravyn Lenae
Worst of the day: Logic
Andrew: Sunday featured a blistering haze of a close to the weekend’s events — it was also the first day where the acts played catch-up with the heat of Boston in the summer. Though artists performing had an easier time showing up to dense crowds (thanks to the success of yesterday’s output), the attendees were visibly fatigued from lack of provided shade and accessible water locations on the grounds. For a music festival that touts 10 rounds under its belt, this seemed like a detail not to be taken lightly.
Nevertheless, early day stunners seemed to be the theme for the final day. Fan-favorites and perennial tour-mongers Snail Mail pulled of an energetic and lively set, much to the surprise of dedicated fans who have witnessed what the heavy traveling Lindsey Jordan has done to back 2018’s debut LP, Lush. Chicago’s Ravyn Lenae pulled of one of the more vocally impressive feats for the festival’s run, proving a mid-afternoon slot to be an undersell to her talent. Guster held down an intrigued crowd, but did not seem to deliver a convincing or natural performance to match their well-respected discography. Later day heavy-hitters Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Logic fell flat on their big names, feeling the sting of a drawn-out career and weak releases, respectively.
The mood today synthesized the brilliant highs of Saturday with the mellow lows of Friday, punctuating Boston Calling 2019 with a question mark for the mixed mag of an execution. The crowd was relatively pleased, sure, but wouldn’t they want more? The addition of a multi-purpose arena stage and quality food vendors, the elements are all there for a unique experience. In times where festivals need to stick out to sell out, Calling might simply be trying to survive.
Best of the day: Ravyn Lenae
Worst of the day: The security — a little too disorganized for its own good.
Catu: The last day of Boston Calling is brutally hot. I start the day off with Snail Mail, who makes quips about having blood on her guitar and laments about having a slot at the same time as Ravyn Lenae. The crowd is relatively small, many attendees choosing to remain at a distance in the cool shade of the trees. We leave midway and trek to the red stage. Ravyn Lenae is a vision on the stage but the crowd is tired and the sound does not do her justice. Overall, we are an undeserving crowd.
For non-musical acts, Melissa Villaseñor, another SNL comedian, makes predictable jokes about being a cat lady but still manages to pull off a decently entertaining set. In the arena where she’s performing, I spot two girls in Twenty One Pilot outfits, looking confused. I wonder if they misread the schedule. Snakehips had another set today and despite having been a big fan in high school, they insist on playing old Soulja Boy songs which is excruciating to sit through. They’re full of energy and bass but the heat defeats me and I retreat to the media tent. On the way back I finally give in to a life-long curiosity and try deep fried Oreos for the first time. I immediately get a craving for a regular Oreo and a glass of milk. It’s a conclusive find: deep fried Oreos are not good.
When I was in middle school, few records were more meaningful to me than Electra Heart. Marina has made it clear she’s shed that identity, dropping “the Diamonds” and retreating from the world to work on an intensely personal record. But to my immense surprise and excitement, she plays several songs from Electra Heart and Family Jewels and the crowd goes wild. They adore her and we sing along to every song. There are some questionable parts: her choreographers are dressed in baby pink high waisted bikinis. When she sings Karma from her newest album Love + Fruit, the dancers writhe on the floor, aiming for seduction but falling short. Still, this is the show that boosts the festival’s energy and my middle school self is beyond full of joy. Sheck Wes takes the stage next to us and the energy continues to build up, leading to Travis Scott. My friend Niah tells me that her friend Peter, a friend she made hours before at the Guster set, told her that Kylie Jenner was here. I’m not the biggest fan of Scott so I watch safely from afar and wonder if behind the stage, Kylie Jenner is watching her boyfriend perform. Seeing the local suburban teenagers pump their hands to “Sicko Mode” is pretty entertaining and Scott easily connects with the crowd, leading to a riveting performance. I leave early, happy to beat the crowd of drunk, overexcited teens swarming to the parent pick-up area.
Best of the day: MARINA
Worst of the day: Ravyn Lenae
Thank you all for choosing WRBB to keep up with Boston
Calling 10. Stay tuned, we’ll be heading to Chicago for
Pitchfork Music Festival in July!
All photos by Chris Triunfo