Boston Calling; Top Acts Answer

Courtesy of Boston Calling

Seniors, here's one more reason why Commencement will be awesome: the first ever Boston Calling music festival will take place over Memorial Day Weekend (May 25 and 26). Mainstream juggernauts fun., fresh off a double win at the Grammys, headline a roster of talented indie acts. With The Shins and The National also at the top of the bill and local Boston food trucks scheduled to line the venue at City Hall Plaza, Boston Calling is set to be a memorable event.

The festival's lineup was curated in part with the help of The National's Aaron Dessner, whose band will headline on Sunday night. The National has slowly but surely become one of the best American rock bands of the last decade: buoyed by pretty piano melodies, dark and vivid lyrics, and Matt Berninger's sorrowful baritone, in recent years they've released several critically successful albums. They're also set to release a new album in May, so expect some new songs and a whole lot of fervent enthusiasm from the band's devotees, who have been waiting for three years for new material.

The rest of the lineup is indicative of both Dessner's musical tastes and his social circle: it comprises almost entirely young, staid indie rockers that will no doubt appeal to Boston's college-heavy population. There's not too much to say about Of Monsters and Men, Young the Giant, and Portugal. the Man, except that they're generally good at songwriting, have richly textured sounds, and write obtuse lyrics. While some performing groups like Matt & Kim clearly have the energy and stage presence to excite a crowd, it's hard not to think that the atmospheric swirls of Caspian or Youth Lagoon might be better suited to the dorm room than an outdoor spring weekend.

The most intriguing pick is Bad Rabbits, an R&B/metalcore band and the sole representative of Boston's local music scene. This furious, genre-hopping group has gained local fans ever since forming in 2007, and its full length debut, "American Love," is slated to drop in the next couple of months; the group described the album's sound as "futuristic funk, post-R&B rock" to The Crimson. Given the cerebral prettiness of much of the festival's lineup—including Andrew Bird, Dirty Projectors, and the Walkmen—it might not be a bad idea to head over to Bad Rabbits' set for some good old-fashioned moshing.

Also playing: Cults, Ra Ra Riot, MS MR, Marina and the Diamonds, St. Lucia


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