Boston Calling Spring 2014 Preview

By: - Friday, May 23, 2014 - 11:11am

8842150136_87e4c85362_b(Ponchos: Always in style at rainy festivals. Photo credit: Dave Levy/Creative Commons)

Happy Boston Calling day! The biannual — that’s twice a year, every two years would be biennial, see you learned something today —  festival returns to City Hall Plaza with three days of music, food and beer. Festival passes are sold out, but you can still purchase one-day tickets for tonight or VIP tickets for Saturday or Sunday. Or, you know, StubHub or Craigslist. Or just deal with your FOMO and get tickets for the September edition featuring Lorde and The Replacements.

Whether you’re heading to City Hall or just want to sound hip and “in the know” with your friends this weekend, here’s what to expect from this year’s festival:

So who’s playing? 

So many people. It would almost be easier to list who’s NOT playing. Actually it would be easiest to just post a picture of the flyer with all the bands and set times, so let’s go with that:

10152500_522698924519754_9107971614044016950_n(Photo credit: Boston Calling/Facebook)

See, a little something for everyone. There are two stages to minimize set-up time, and set times don’t overlap so it’s possible to see every minute of every song for the entire festival, providing that you have a really, really large bladder.

The first thing you need to know about Friday’s lineup is that Cass McCombs is a dude so calibrate your expectations accordingly. He’ll be followed by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, also a dude but his most famous song, “Home” is sung by a lady. Jack Johnson would rather be surfing and bro-chilling on the beach but he’s a super chill guy so he agreed to come headline.

Not to play favorites but Saturday’s show looks like the best of the bunch, with co-headliners Death Cab for Cutie and the Decemberists. I can’t believe it’s really been ten years since Seth Cohen introduced Death Cab to the world, and the Decemberists boast their own TV cred as one of very few non-period bands to grace the “Mad Men” soundtrack. The Head and the Heart’s “Rivers and Roads” is my pick for song that makes college kids cry because they’re leaving their friends: “A year from now, we’ll all be gone / All our friends will move away…”

Modest Mouse headlines Sunday’s show, and bad news if the only song of their you know is “Float On”: I hear they’re not crazy about playing it live. But that’s OK! Because they have other good songs like “Dashboard” and “Ocean Breathes Salty” that maybe you didn’t know were Modest Mouse but now that you’ve listened it’s so obvious. You might be really, really tired of hearing “Pompeii” and the idea of seeing Bastille live makes you wonder “How am I gonna be an optimist about this? How am I gonna be an optimist ABOUT this?” But I saw them on SNL and they actually put on a good show. And make sure to show up early for local Tigerman WOAH! even if the misspelling in their name kind of bothers you. I bet your grandpa didn’t like that the Beatles spelled their name wrong, either.

What else is there to do besides watch the bands and kind of sway back and forth in lieu of dancing? 

You can drink! Drink until you lose all inhibitions and dance like no one is watching even if everyone is watching and taking pictures and Vines and IG vids and pretty soon you’re showing up on the first page of Google Image results for “drunk bad dancing music festival.”

Or maybe just have one or two? Festival sponsors Samuel Adams Beer and Wicked Wines will be on hand with, why yes, beer and wine, and unlike past festivals you don’t have to hang out in a designated beer garden — after a change in the festival’s liquor license, you can bring your drinks over to the stages. Try not to spill your drink during the inevitable Jack Johnson mosh pit! Just kidding, his fans are super chill.

There’s also food, because a man cannot survive on booze and jams alone. This year’s vendors include Tasty Burger, Chipotle, and… TGI Fridays? Yup, TGI Fridays is in the middle of a brand makeover to capture the social media crowd, and two food trucks will hand out free samples.

I’m one of those annoying people who wears a massive backpack everywhere, even on the T when it’s crowded. Can I bring it? 

Dude, no. Backpacks and bags larger than 12″ by 12″ are prohibited. Where are you supposed to put your stuff, now that your jeans are too tight to make the pockets functional and apparently the “fashionistas” have deemed cargo shorts uncool? You can bring a small, clear plastic bag to carry stuff like sunscreen, keys, ID to buy alcohol, etc. You can also bring in food and one factory-sealed bottle of water.

I have some other questions that haven’t been answered here, but have probably been asked by other people. Frequently asked, even. 

You are going to love this: Boston Calling has a Frequently Asked Questions page right on their Internet site!

All set? Great! Have fun out there, people. Follow The Boston Calendar on Twitter and Instagram for live updates and photos.