Now that the newness of Boston Calling Music Festival in Allston, Massachusetts had worn off, I chose to focus on the music for the final day of the festival.
The sky may have been gray when the gates opened but the crowds already forming were anything but. Festival-goers were most looking forward to the performances later on. However, like any good party, you are going to need to pre-game in some way. There were certainly performances leading up to the last two big acts that everyone was excited for.
A quick side note on the weather: I am glad that the University of Connecticut winters have prepared me for any and all kinds of sad, cold and terrible weather. Some of that was experienced on this third day.
Weakened Friends wants you to be excited for Eminem
This Indie rock band had strong vocals and sick guitar playing to match. Their vocals were raspy, which worked with the lyrics that were being sung.
One of the audience members had turned over to her friend and said, “I like her, she’s funny,” about one of the three band members.
Towards the end of the set, the band joked that the audience should come to O’Brien’s Pub, located in Allston, Massachusetts, for a smaller venue and significantly cheaper price.
One of the band members confessed that they were feeling awkward, so they yelled, “Ya’ll ready for Eminem?”
The roar of the audience reiterated my feelings exactly.
Taylor Bennett brought rain to Boston Calling, maybe literally
Before hip-hop artist Taylor Bennett walked on stage, the crowd bumped to a few classic throwbacks with a twist by the DJ.
One of those songs was “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan. Another song paid off for the DJ. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song earned the DJ a hundred dollars from his friend, who had bet that the crowd would not know all of the lyrics. They nailed it.
“I wanted to get to know you guys a little more,” Bennett said, before launching into one of his older songs. He also wanted to show the audience his latest project.
Every line that came out of Bennett’s mouth was so poetic and truthful it felt like snapping was more appropriate than simply cheering and applauding.
“My music got smarter...I see some things that you would see is so terrible,” Bennett rapped from his recent album “Restoration of an American Idol.”
Bennett told the crowd that he was not expecting to have as large of an audience as he did.
“I’m here for ya’ll, [ya’ll] here for me,” Bennett said. He encouraged his fans not to worry about who they came to the festival with, seemingly urging listeners to enjoy the music.
Bennett said the he wanted to go into an even deeper song before singing “New York Nights” also from his most recent album.
“I came-out openly gay and bisexual in the rap community,” Bennett told the audience, which happened last year in 2017.
The rain began to come down as Bennett told his “day one fans” to put their hands up during one of his last songs “Dancing in the Rain.”
Dirty Projectors did not let sound problems hold back their sound
The audio did do this American indie rock band dirty, making them run late for their set.
“Let’s play, it’s just a little rain,” one frustrated audience member yelled out.
The band delivered when they made it on stage. “Dance for You” was a song that stood out as light-hearted and fun. One of the songs had some funky harmonica accompaniment that also made the overall sound of this band unique. The strong female vocals rounded out the tone of the music. I would definitely listen to their albums in the fall, tea in hand, with a book.
The band played one of their older songs towards the end, “Cannibal Resource.”
Julien Baker negotiates her worth
American singer Julien Baker launched right into her song “Turn Out the Lights.” Her striking voice pulled audience members in. The solo singer somehow filled the stage while making the large venue feel intimate as she create uninterrupted music.
Baker’s voice crescendoed to reach the climax of each and every song.
“Wow, I can’t believe I’m here,” Baker said into the microphone in the middle of her set.
“You’re worth it,” an audience member shouted to Baker, to which she replied, “Negotiable.”
Baker drove her set home with her song “Rejoice” by giving every word deep inflection. Baker, please let me crash on your couch.
Khalid will never top his UConn performance (kidding)
I was sandwiched between Khalid fans and those waiting in front of the Green Stage for Eminem. Khalid’s music definitely served as the calming medicine Eminem fans needed as they waited for the closing performance of Boston Calling.
The American singer-songwriter launched right into his song “8TEEN” with a flash of lights and his backup dancers in tow. Throughout the song, Dance Dance Revolution symbols flashed to the beat of the music on the large projectors. Fans sang along with Khalid to each and every one of his songs.
Khalid sang some of my personal favorites, including “Love Lies” and “Coaster” off his recent debut album.
“So this next song is super f***ing special to me,” Khalid told his fans. “Chase after your f****ing dreams because no one is stopping you but yourself.”
The beat of “Young Dumb & Broke” reached me even through the fans waiting for Eminem. Listening to Khalid’s set made me relive UCONNIC all over again. I could almost feel Khalid’s megawatt smile from Red Stage to Green Stage.
Can you think of good Eminem and Nicki Minaj ship names?
On the Instagram story for the Daily Campus, I had joked that Eminem might be coming down in a helicopter.
He did the next best thing.
In an intro video before stepping on stage, Eminem seems to be a kind of King Kong, snatching a helicopter out of the air before throwing it down onto the city streets that he towers above.
Mr. Porter, the hype-man, certainly kept up the crowd’s energy throughout the nearly two hour set. Fans crushed up against each other, head-bobbed and flipped the bird, all bathed in red light as Eminem delivered song after song.
The crowd chanted “Jamie” every time the rapper left the stage for a moment.
I will be honest and say that I do not listen to much Eminem. But when Skylar Grey came on stage and sang with Eminem for “Love the Way You Lie” I sang every word of the song.
Eminem’s strong rapping and vocals have withstood the test of time. What is questionable is his alleged relationship with rapper Nicki Minaj, which he seemed to have denied.
The crowd roared in approval when Eminem asked his fans if they wanted the two to date.
Nicki, are you going to give Eminem the time of day 👀?
Final thoughts from a first time music festival attendee
Even though Eminem and Nicki being in a relationship is uncertain, my experience at Boston Calling was anything but. Experiencing a music festival was overwhelming in the best way. I had fun taking photos of the artists. But listening to them live as opposed to on a Spotify playlist was so much better.
With the glow of the Boston Calling arch in front of me as I left Boston Calling 2018 and Eminem rapping in the background, I was already anticipating coming back next year.
More photos from Day Three!
Kimberly Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.