Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #1, The Decemberists

With Boston Calling approaching, we’ve decided to make a list of seven bands you do not want to miss. Whether they’re a headliner or an opener, whether they’re hip-hop, dance, rock & roll, or something somewhere in the middle, there are a handful of sets that you’re definitely going to want to pencil into your schedule.

On our list so far: #7. Magic Man/The Box Tiger#6. Bastille#5. Jack Johnson#4. Tegan & Sara#3. Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, #2. Brand New

Today we talk about our #1 pick – The Decemberists!

The Boston Calling folks kept things interesting this year for their lineup announcement. First, the reveal came after a city-wide scavenger hunt for vinyl albums with the bands listed on them. After this, there was the mention that there was still one more band to come. When the BC staff swiftly denied any rumors that Outkast would be performing (sorry, Miss Jackson …), the flood of guesses and rumors began. And when the last slot on the lineup was uncovered, it took many by surprise to see The Decemberists on the list.

Not only is Boston Calling the band’s only festival slot in 2014, it will also be their first performance together since August 2011. Later that week (on the 30th), the band will be performing at a benefit in Portland, Oregon, playing their debut Castaways and Cutouts in its entirety.

Reunions are always meaningful experiences to witness. This time last year, almost exactly to the day, Fall Out Boy played the Boston date of their reunion tour. And if the massive line wrapped around the House of Blues hinted at anything, it’s this – a three-year gap is a long time for a band to be absent, and their first return to the stage is bound to be special. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s going to be a sight to see and an experience to remember.

For fans of: Bright Eyes, Dustin Kensrue, R.E.M., The Frames, The New Pornographers
For a taste, check out: “Sons & Daughters,” “This Is Why We Fight,” “Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect”
When you can see them: Saturday, 8:10 PM

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #2, Brand New

With Boston Calling exactly a week away, we’ve decided to make a list of seven bands you do not want to miss. Whether they’re a headliner or an opener, whether they’re hip-hop, dance, rock & roll, or something somewhere in the middle, there are a handful of sets that you’re definitely going to want to pencil into your schedule.

On our list so far: #7. Magic Man/The Box Tiger#6. Bastille#5. Jack Johnson#4. Tegan & Sara, #3. Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

Today we talk about our #2 pick – Brand New!

One of the most beloved, discussed, and enigmatic acts around, Brand New have been leading the pack for nearly a decade and a half. As a group that has earned a following that borders on crazed (just ask anyone who tried getting tickets to their shows back in December or those who are already awaiting a Deja Entendu vinyl preorder), their set this weekend has potential to be massive. Could there be mention of that ever-elusive fifth album that has always been “in the works?” Will it be another full-album setlist (and if so, what if it’s Daisy from start to finish? Will the ungrateful fans flood the message boards again?)

There are a lot of questions that won’t get answered until the band takes the stage, but we can be certain of this – the fact that Brand New are playing Boston Calling is a pretty big deal. There have been fans, myself included, who have waited a while for this band to start consistently doing things again, and this weekend marks the start of a pretty substantial touring schedule that runs through the end of summer. This last winter, scalpers were selling tickets for upwards of $250 (I know, I know – that’s disgusting) for the band’s club shows. That being said, having Brand New sharing a stage with a handful of other amazing artists this weekend is just icing on the cake.

For fans of: Alkaline Trio, Saves the Day, Say Anything
For a taste, check out: “Jesus,” “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot,” “Seventy Times 7”
When you can see them: Sunday, 8:15 PM

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #3, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

With Boston Calling exactly a week away, we’ve decided to make a list of seven bands you do not want to miss. Whether they’re a headliner or an opener, whether they’re hip-hop, dance, rock & roll, or something somewhere in the middle, there are a handful of sets that you’re definitely going to want to pencil into your schedule.

On our list so far: #7. Magic Man/The Box Tiger#6. Bastille#5. Jack Johnson, #4. Tegan & Sara

Today we talk about our #3 pick – Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls!
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Few do what they do as well as Frank Turner (and not having him as the #1 artist says something pretty special about the next two groups. But, we’ll get there when we get there). Backed by his band The Sleeping Souls, the group boasts an impressive balance between solo acoustic material and full-band punk anthems, making the live show an experience to be had.When he released 2013’s Tape Deck Heart (which was second to only Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest for my Album of the Year), he continued with his tradition of being one of the most honest artists around.

With English charm and endurance to match, Turner, who is always on an endless cycle of writing, recording, and touring, always brings a full performance. His current schedule has him booked internationally through the middle of September, including a last-minute addition on Sunday the 25th in Cambridge for the fans who couldn’t make it to Boston Calling, as well as taking his folk-punk brilliance out on to open water, tagging along with Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello on the Salty Dog Cruise.

So, if you’re interested in seeing one of the best live acts around, or if you tend to get a little seasick, be sure to be planted in the crowd and don’t miss a note. Also, bring your dancing shoes, because it’s such an energetic set and you won’t be standing still (mostly because Turner makes his audience do jumping jacks during the chorus to “Recovery,” because he’s that cool.)

For fans of: Flogging Molly, the Front Bottoms, Ramshackle Glory
For a taste, check out: “I Am Disappeared,” “Substitute,” “Broken Piano,” “Four Simple Words”
When you can see them: Saturday, 6:00 PM

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #4, Tegan & Sara

With Boston Calling exactly a week away, we’ve decided to make a list of seven bands you do not want to miss. Whether they’re a headliner or an opener, whether they’re hip-hop, dance, rock & roll, or something somewhere in the middle, there are a handful of sets that you’re definitely going to want to pencil into your schedule.

On our list so far: #7. Magic Man/The Box Tiger#6. Bastille, #5. Jack Johnson

Today we talk about our #4 pick – Tegan & Sara!

When they released their seventh studio album, Heartthrob, at the end of January, Canadian duo Tegan & Sara started 2013 off with what was inarguably one of the best records of the year, as well as a giant, broadening stride in their career.

This fall, the twins will spend their time on the road in support of Katy Perry. But before hitting the road on the Prismatic Tour, they’ll be making their rounds on the festival circuit, with performances at the Hangout Music Festival, Summerfest, Firefly, and CBC, with a handful of headlining dates scattered throughout.

Regardless of which side of the Quin sisters we see at Boston Calling – whether it’s the electronically-infused synth-pop that Heartthrob brought or the gloomy acoustic anthems the two are known for (though I expect the setlist to be a fair balance between them), there’s sure to be a full crowd singing every word.

For fans of: Lydia, Eisley, Lorde, Metric, Rilo Kiley
For a taste, check out: “Nineteen,” “The Ocean,” “I’m Not Your Hero,” “The Con”
When you can see them: Sunday, 6:05 PM

Seven Bands To See At Boston Calling: #5, Jack Johnson

With Boston Calling exactly a week away, we’ve decided to make a list of seven bands you do not want to miss. Whether they’re a headliner or an opener, whether they’re hip-hop, dance, rock & roll, or something somewhere in the middle, there are a handful of sets that you’re definitely going to want to pencil into your schedule.

On our list so far: #7. Magic Man/The Box Tiger, #6. Bastille

Today we talk about our #5 pick – Jack Johnson!

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Though I’ve never considered myself to be a huge fan of his, Jack Johnson is an artist that always seems to draw a bit of my attention. As someone who seems to be genuinely in love with the music he produces, his work ethic and his pride are commendable. Now, as the first artist to ever headline the newly-added Friday night show at Boston Calling, his massive following is sure to be out in full force. 

For fans of: Amos Lee, G.Love, the Format, Of Monsters and Men
For a taste, check out: “Better Together,” “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” “Flake”
When you can see them: Friday, 9:30 PM