The size and enthusiasm of the crowds at day three of Boston Calling Music Festival did not dwindle, with Sunday delivering an impressive and varied final lineup at City Hall Plaza.
First up was Boston-based emcee Michael Christmas, who lived up to his hometown hero status with unfettered energy and a set of similarly amped hypemen. He had 12 PM crowds bouncing with enthusiasm for his fast-paced, highly entertaining presence on the Verizon Stage.
The surprise hit of the early afternoon was Christine and the Queens, a French dance-pop outfit that used their funky discotheque vibes to win over all of the uninitiated in the audience. With the slickest mashups and fastest feet in Boston at that very moment, Héloïse Letissier grooved her way into the hearts of, it seemed, just about everyone in attendance.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra was next, and they played a near-flawless set in their trademark slacker fashion. Singer and guitarist Ruban Neilson seemed almost bored as he let out precise, ripping riffs, forever cooler than anyone else at the fest.
The boundless intensity of Vince Staples, clad in a very understated hoodie, led to one of the best sets of the entire weekend. The rapper on the rise gave a strong and engaging performance, leaping all over the JetBlue Stage and eventually, into the crowd.
Soon to follow were New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms, who never fail to keep pits moving with their brand of earnest, acoustic guitar-led pop punk. Ever the entertainers, the band happily obliged when bassist Tom Warren was challenged to play a solo by a gregarious festival goer.
On Boston Calling’s smaller third stage devoted to local acts, Black Beach gave a furiously fun show and demonstrated their unbridled fuzz punk prowess. They worked their way into a crescendo of distortion and shouted vocals by their last song, keeping listeners locked into their sheer speed and dynamism.
As Boston Calling drew to a close, so did some of the more interesting picks from festival organizers. Janelle Monae was the best act of Sunday night’s buffet of big names, which also included Elle King, HAIM and Disclosure. Her frenetic movement and larger-than-life voice always make her a must-watch.
But even with a small Sunday evening slump behind me, my trip back to New Jersey was paved with excellent musical memories – and my new big crush on Boston Calling.