Boston Calling Day 1 Recap: An Indie-Folk Friday

By Kriska Desir & Grace Kim 

You haven’t heard The Avett Brothers until you’ve heard them live. The live performance of the veritable rock stars added a physical dynamism to their upbeat, folk songs with fluid transitions into their more earnest love songs. From brother Scott Avett’s solo on the “AVETT” decaled banjo with a dance only properly dubbed the banjo-hop, to captivating solos from all the band’s members, The Avett Brother’s were hands-down the best act of the night. The most exciting part of their set was a tie between the excitement brought to the stage by the band’s cellist and touring violinist, and one of the final guitar flourishes of the night in which brothers, Seth and Scott Avett, lowered themselves into the media pit to play and greet fans.

Demigod Joe Kwon made the cello look more badass than it ever has before contributing to the amazing act that entertained without sacrificing musicianship. They infused the crowd with pure and infectious energy, causing more of a ruckus than their two predecessors combined: Gregory Alan Isakov and Of Monsters and Men, respectively.

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Gregory Alan Isakov kicked off the three-day event with a lovely performance against the sunset with his characteristic slow, thoughtful melodies and verses. The Colorado-based group, with lead singer Isakov, started the indie folk-centered night with a sentimental romantic overtone that had the crowd’s heart and mind far off in picturesque isolation. It was admittedly not the most enthusiastic start to the weekend festival. Isakov’s music is not particularly energetic or rousing, but the growing crowd was nonetheless captivated.

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The crowd truly arrived in the atrium between Isakov and Of Monsters and Men’s set. Through the space was tight, obstructing the view of the stage, dancing to the band’s hit songs “King and Lionheart” and “Mountain Sounds” alongside the entirety of Boston’s man-bun population was an unforgettable feature of the night with the band’s energy reverberating across Government Center. Their most popular song, “Little Talks,” was embellished with a surprise trumpet solo that had the crowd in a glorious acclamation.

The set was incredible — Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir was mesmerizing, Ragnar Pórhallson kept the crowd’s energy up, and the Icelandic accents were charming to say the least. The band sang an unreleased song “Run for You” as a memorable treat for the adoring crowd, and ended their set with the drummer handing-off his sticks to the masses. An exceptionally talented live performance that notably showcased each member’s musicianship.

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