Boston Calling Day 2: Mumford and Sons, The 1975, Tegan and Sara

The festival's logo. (Photo via themadisonsquaregardencompany.com)

The festival's logo. (Photo via themadisonsquaregardencompany.com)

Festival goers lay sprawled out on Harvard’s astroturf soccer field on day two as the sun finally shone on the grounds. Mumford and Sons played for a captivating two hours. Fans shrieked for The 1975. Russ showed up late but still delivered a show to eager fans.

Mumford and Sons leads a sing-along

Despite the enormity of the crowd and stage, Mumford and Sons’ set could be compared to a campfire jam. There were times every voice in the audience could be heard singing along. Some fans danced in circles. Other times, it was quiet, the audience hanging on frontman Marcus Mumford’s every word.

The band didn’t have a grand introduction. They came onstage to cheers and began playing “Snake Eyes.” Fans were quiet, just listening.

During the band’s songs that launched them into the mainstream, “Little Lion Man” and “The Cave,” the audience could be heard singing over Mumford. It was a joyous occasion. Fans stomped and clapped, linked arms and skipped in circles or threw their hands above their head, jumping and singing at the top of their lungs.

During “Ditmas,” Mumford walked along the crowd barrier and high-fived fans. If you couldn’t see him, it was easy to tell where he was; just follow the sound of the excited screams of fans.

“Dustbowl Dance” is one of the darker songs in the band’s catalog. It’s not a sing-along. Nor is it a stomp-and-clap song. Yet, it was one of the most electrifying songs of the night. It began quietly with pianist Ben Lovett playing a few chords in a Western-sort-of style and Mumford singing low about “this dusty barren land.” The tempo picked up and Mumford eventually joined in on the drums and began singing with more anger. Eventually, it reached an unhinged scream. Lovett kicked back his piano stool while Mumford pounded the drums. The music became chaotic and noisy while columns of flames shoot out behind the band. After knocking over a few cymbals, Mumford made his way to the front of the stage and sang in a low voice once again while Lovett played the same chords he started with.

Now one would think that’s the end of the show, but the band had much bigger plans for a finale. After a brief break offstage, Mumford and Sons played a few more songs including “I Will Wait” and “The Wolf,” closing with a cover of the Beatles “A Little Help From My Friends.” Mumford welcomed fellow Boston Calling performers Nathaniel Rateliff and Brandi Carlile onstage and the three took turns singing lines of the classic song. Carlile in particular won applause from the crowd as she sang Lennon and McCartney’s lyrics, putting a soulful spin on the song. After the jam, the modern folk heroes left the stage and fans skipped off the festival grounds still singing “A Little Help From My Friends.”

The 1975 stuns fans with music and light show

While indie band The 1975 performed on a stage away from most of the hustle and bustle of the festival, fans came in droves to watch. The second the band took the stage, fans shrieked. Those in the front row cried at the sight of frontman Matt Healy as the band kicked into the David Bowie-esque “Love Me.”

Through most of their set, the band members were merely silhouettes onstage. The 1975’s lightshow takes visual precedence. The stage was lit in cool purples, blues and pinks. During “Loving Someone,” the lights shone each color of the rainbow.

Healy’s status as a rockstar is undeniable. Girls scream and cry at the sight of him. While smoking on a cigarette, he sang and played guitar, curly hair hanging in his face. “I don’t wanna be your friend/I wanna kiss your neck,” he sang in a moody near-scream over a slow drum beat during “Fallingforyou.”

Tegan and Sara give a feel-good performance

Sister indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara have a loyal following. Fans gathered early to get a good spot to watch the two jump around and sing over upbeat synth and poppy percussion. Tegan and Sara sang with perfect energy, nailing every harmony live.

Cotton candy-colored inflatables reading “T&S” decorated the stage while pink, blue and yellow backgrounds flashed on a video screen behind the sisters.

The two performed bouncy hits including “Closer,” “Boyfriend” and “Goodbye, Goodbye” while fans in front danced and sang.

Joking about the festival’s location at Harvard’s Athletic Complex, Tegan told the crowd of Sara’s former aspirations. “Sara wanted to go to Harvard and be a lawyer, but she didn’t apply herself so she ended up in a band with me,” she said.

Russ: Late, but not short

Russ’ set was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Time stretched by and the rapper/singer was nowhere to be found as 70’s soul music played through Harvard’s soccer field. Finally, around 2:50 p.m, five minutes after his set was scheduled to end, Russ took the stage.

Fans were just as, if not more, excited to see the rapper, despite the delay. Russ performed his charting songs “What They Want” and “Losing Control” as well as old-school inspired “Pull the Trigger” and vulnerable “Psycho Pt. 2.” Fans finished lines for Russ, waved their hands in sync to his R&B-leaning songs and bounced when he rapped over a heavy beat.

Representatives for Boston Calling said Russ arrived late but didn’t have any further details about his delay. “They’re trying to get me offstage but I’m not leaving,” Russ said several times. The rapper/singer also shouted out a security guard at the back of the crowd who was singing along. “She’s been turnt every song,” Russ said.

Oh Wonder dazzles fans

Oh Wonder’s indie-pop fit the weather on day 2. The duo consisting of Josephine Vander Gucht (vocals and piano) and Anthony West (vocals, guitar and synth) performed bright piano-driven songs including the single from their upcoming album of the same name, “Ultralife.” A bright LED “OW” flashed behind the band.

Vander Gucht and West sing not as a duo, but as a unit. They are always on the same page, hitting the right harmonies and never missing a beat. Vander Gucht’s bubbly personality brought welcome warmth to their performance.  Excitement in her voice, she thanked the crowd for coming to see Oh Wonder.

During “Dazzle,” Vander Gucht’s arms waved around her as she sang, her eyes wide. While Oh Wonder performed “Lose It,” the song’s catchiness made it impossible not to move along. Vander Gucht herself danced along onstage behind her piano.

Danny Brown: The heaviest rapper

Considering he’s a rapper, Danny Brown shows a serious amount of love for heavy metal. Brown entered onstage to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” wearing a leather jacket and Korn t-shirt.

Fans moshed during “Lie4” and finished Brown’s lyrics when he held the mic out to them. Brown rapped about sex and drugs in his trademark nasally voice. “Grown Up,” “Smokin and Drinkin” and “Ain’t it Funny” were among the songs Brown performed.


Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.