After two and a half days of too much free seltzer, creepy and hilarious Samuel Adams cut-outs and Elle King levels of drunken fun, Boston Calling finally closed out having seen tremendous acts such as Odesza, Disclosure, HAIM, Vince Staples, Sia, the Vaccines and Miike Snow enter the stage with blow-out audiences. The underlying threads of the festival, however, were the local talent such as Michael Christmas, Palehound and Nemes.
With her pink-tipped hair and nervous humor, Ellen Kempner, lead of Palehound, exuberated the band’s enthusiastic fans. Though the three-piece band’s performance was fitting to Boston youth culture, Palehound almost matched somewhat of a Portland softcore folk rock style. Under a ceiling of soft lights and three disco balls, Kempner seemed to have almost the female-version of Mac Demarco’s vocal affectation. Her impressive guitar work gave off a beachy vibe that refreshed the audience on a sweltering Boston day and set a sweet tone for the rest of the festival.
On an itty-bitty stage sponsored by Verizon Wireless, the effortless harmonies of Nemes were seen by an audience of swaying bodies and heat exhausted festival-goers. These good-lookin’ boys provided folky rhythm with hard rock undertones.Challenging the heat, the boys even managed to play their instruments in perfect harmony almost as if it were a studio performance. Not missing a single beat, lead vocalist Dave Anthony delivered an incredible fiddle experience while Chris Anthony on drums meant serious business in refreshing contrast to many independent bands.
Michael Christmas, an artist recommended to us by another member of Boston’s press, had an impressive repertoire of collaborators including Mac Miller and Logic. Not surprisingly, this drew in perhaps the largest crowd of all of the local performers. With not a single minute missed, Michael Christmas and his stage entourage showed some love to their fellow local Bostonians. With songs such as “Bubbling” matched with a strong stage presence, he proved to be quite an engaging artist. To end his set, he yelled into the mic, “Scream as loud as you can — for yourself!” The crowd erupted.
Photo credit: Mike Diskin