Photography + Review: Boston Calling 2023

Posted: by The Editor

Boston Calling 2023 will be remembered as a return to normalcy for a multitude of reasons. It was the first year since the pandemic with a brand new lineup – no carryover lineups from lockdown. In 2022, positive covid tests and a rain induced evacuation forced significant lineup changes as well but for this year’s Boston Calling, it was clear skies and one lineup change that brought in Dropkick Murphys.

Attendees were not the only ones making a return to normal at Boston Calling as Friday’s headlining band was the Foo Fighters performing their second show since the loss of their drummer Taylor Hawkins. Leading up to this monumental headlining performance was a stacked opening day lineup that started with Alisa Amador performing on the Happy Valley Red Stage. Amador performed songs in both Spanish and English. Though she often performs solo, the large festival stage called for full band arrangements that even included a cover of Radiohead’s “High and Dry”. Following Alisa was Brooklyn’s own Razor Braids. Rushing out on the Green stage, they brought a high energy set that clocked in as the loudest performance on Friday. Canadian rockers The Beaches and hometown heroes Dropkick Murphys.

Foo Fighters triumphant set was filled with emotion as the band began to put the pieces back together.. During the set, Dave Grohl’s daughter Violet would join him on stage to perform two songs, “Shame Shame” and “Rope”. The peak of this performance was seeing Oliver Shane Hawkins, the son of the late Taylor, come out to perform drums for the tune “I’ll Stick Around”.

Despite Saturday having periodic sound issues, it was also the highest attended day with tickets completely sold out. Perhaps the festival’s biggest draw, New England native Noah Kahan had over 40,000 people at the Green stage for his 6 pm set. Following Noah Kahan, was pop legend Fletcher. We saw Fletcher regain control of the crowd after being struck with sound issues midway through her set by putting together a vibrant set that thrilled members of her loyal fan base. Fletcher is currently touring for her debut album Girl of My Dreams and we can’t wait to see what comes next.

English indie-pop phenom Declan McKenna played a highly anticipated set on the Blue stage that was exciting enough to have fans camping out from the moment festival gates opened. McKenna’s tongue in cheek personality brought a touch of whimsy to the middle of the day as he leaned into his glam rock inspired stage persona. His set was one of those moments at a festival where the right performance goes down at exactly the right time to rejuvenate the crowd. 

To cap off this massive day, all star Alanis Morissette played one of the most anticipated sets of the day. Alanis was subjected to sound issues as the folks further away from the stage complained of not being able to hear well, but this didn’t stop her from delivering a memorable performance.

Boston Calling’s third and final day featured some of the most anticipated sets of the weekend with pop giants Paramore headlining the Green stage as jamband luminaries King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard simultaneously closed out the festival on the Blue stage. To get the crowds ready for these acts, Boston locals Juice opened things up on the Red stage

Moving into the afternoon of the final day, Bleachers whipped the crowd into a frenzy with some older hits and a high energy performance from frontman Jack Antonoff. He also  mentioned how Bleachers played Boston Calling years ago in the infancy of the band. Large inflatable tomatoes were bounced around like beach balls in a fun finale to their set. 

Maren Morris delivered the festival’s lone dose of country music with an early evening set on the Green stage. During her set she got emotional when talking about her song “The Bones” and how it became a song of hope for many of her fans during the pandemic. The finale of her set was the Grammy winning single “My Church”. It was finally time for pop giants Paramore to play the festival’s final set. Performing several songs from their newest album This Is Why while sneaking in several of the band’s classic hits including “Decode” and “Misery Business”.  Following tradition, they brought a fan on stage to perform the ending of “Misery Business” with them.



Jack H//@jlhshoots