Read: Boston Calling Recap – Day Three

With some days passed since the festival end, a few of Front Row’s writers share their thoughts on this year’s festival. This is day three:

Sundays are for the punks.

By day three of Boston Calling, the muddy fields of the Harvard Athletic Complex were ready to face their greatest test: hordes of mosh-pit rockers and body surfers (in all shapes and sizes of Tool t-shirt) descending  for Sunday’s lineup. The festival’s punkiest offering to date represents an exciting new chapter for a Boston’s largest festival in a city that contains multitudes of off-beat musics that rarely see the light of day.

FOR THE AFTER-PARTY PUNKS
Toronto-based punk rockers PUP kicked off Sunday’s lineup with what felt like a giant celebration commemorating the one-year release of their sophomore album, The Dream Is Over, and the return of lead singer Stefan Babcock’s healthy voice after a series of canceled tour dates. Following a Saturday night after-party at the Great Scott in Allston, PUP transformed a sleepy early-afternoon Sunday crowd into a raucous mosh pit, with water bottles, cellphones, shoes, hats, and bodies tossed up and thrown around. PUP played hits like this year’s “DVP” and “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will,” an ode to their fellow band members, with lines like “I hate your guts and it makes me ill, seeing your face every morning,” and “Everything you do makes me wanna vomit,” ultimately screaming, “Why can’t we just get along?” The Canadian punk quartet will have to find a way to do just that for at least a few more months, with an upcoming summer tour spanning the Northeast US, and locations in the UK and Canada.

FOR THE PUNK POETS
Mitski’s set was a journey from the harmonious guitar strums and wafting vocals of “Francis Forever” to the guttural screaming and looming bass of “Drunk Walk Home” — each song more captivating and lyrically complex than the next. “I’m holding my breath with a baseball bat/Though I don’t know what I’m waiting for/I am not gonna be what my daddy wants me to be” she sang in “Townie.”

Born in Japan and raised in Malaysia, China, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of Congo and then New York City, the singer-songwriter plays on bittersweet themes of femininity, heartbreak and belonging. Each light and beautiful melody is shrouded in darkness. In the midst of her set at Boston Calling, she looked up at the cloudy sky and mused, “I like this weather. It’s very much my aesthetic.”

For those who missed the set (or missed the entire festival), Mitski is one to watch, and definitely one to catch live. A woman standing beside me in the crowd put it best, responding to the expression on her friend’s face, his mouth agape. “Yeah man, I’m telling you, she seems seems kind of quiet, but she gets crazy live.”

FOR THE HOMETOWN HARDCORE PUNKS
Converge brought a certain flavor that nobody else could bring:  something Boston Calling fans didn’t even know they were missing until the local metalcore heroes came and pummeled it right in their faces. “We’re probably the loudest band at this festival,” frontman Jacob Bannon said, announcing the band to the crowd, “and definitely the weirdest and ugliest.” Subbing in for emo rockers Modern Baseball, Converge set up camp in their former backyard and did what they do best: delivering heavy, thought-provoking lyrics in the form of unintelligible screaming. “Fate has no compass/ Fear has no driver/ What a cruel world clarity brings,” Bannon sang in “Trespasses.” In “Jane Doe,” a similarly erudite refrain: “These floods of you are unforgiving/ Pushing past me, spilling through the banks/ And I fall.” Before launching into “Eagles Become Vultures,” Bannon delivered a piece of wisdom, “don’t look to anybody else in this world for your self-worth,” he said. “Everything you make in this world is what you have in this world — everything else is backwash.”

FOR THE AFRO-PUNKS WHO MISSED AFROPUNK
Nobody was having more fun at Boston Calling than Flatbush ZOMBiES, the Brooklyn-based hip-hip group that couldn’t have been better-suited for a festival crowd. In addition to hits like “Bounce” and “Trade-Off,” rappers Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott performed material off their first studio album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, asking fans to sing along and “just pretend you know” the newer songs. Darko jumped around the audience smoking blunts with fans and starting mosh pits in the crowd. Finally, the group brought a fan onstage to rap “Palm Trees” to round out the set.

FOR THE HOMETOWN PUNKS WITH FEELINGS
Converge’s long-lost musical brother Piebald stopped by Boston Calling Sunday as part of their reunion tour, following the release of their 2016 album, Best of What’s Left. A Piebald superfan joined the band on stage for the first few songs, blissfully (and cacophonously) banging away at a cowbell along with “King of the Road” off of 2002’s We Are The Only Friends We Have. The local emo-punk heroes carried that album throughout most of the set, including “American Hearts” and “Look, I Just Don’t Like You,” while throwing in some 90’s classics including “Still We Let It Choke Us.” Throughout the set, lead singer Travel Shettel thanked the crowd for listening and helping to elevate the band to where they are now. “We take a great deal of pride in being from this area,” Shettel said, “and we’re honored to be welcomed home.”

FOR THE POP-PUNKS
Weezer delivered the expected dose of 90’s nostalgia, with hits like “Undone – The Sweater Song” and “Beverly Hills” mixed in with moody covers of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” and Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” In traditional Rivers Cuomo fashion, Weezer’s frontman revealed the heartbreaking aspects of those upbeat hits of summers past, while introducing the crowd to the band’s latest single, “Feels Like Summer,” which sounds saccharine and simple, but tells the tale of a lover who passed away. Even as they played crowd favorites like “Buddy Holly” and “Pork and Beans,” and even as confetti flew and bright lights flashed across the stage, Cuomo kept it melancholy, because some things never change.

FOR THE PROG-POLITICAL
Post-metal legends Tool closed out Sunday with a set that spanned decades, leaning heavily on 1996’s Ænima, with tracks like “Third Eye” and “Forty-Six & 2.”

Midway through the set, lead singer Maynard James Keenan, decked out in all-black riot gear and sunglasses, paused to give a political (if somewhat confusing) speech to “Snowflakes” and law enforcement alike. “As artists, we interpret and report, that’s our job. We are merchants of emotion,” Keenan said. “We have the privilege to do that because of active and former law enforcement and military defending our right to do so. Those of you who are law enforcement and military, your job is to defend our right to act like whining, entitled snowflake assholes… myself being one. Snowflakes, your job is to respect them fucking doing that for you.”

“Divided we fall,” Keenan continued to an increasingly bewildered crowd. “Don’t believe the hype, dumb-dumbs. We’re all in this together.”

If Tool’s ongoing comeback tour is any indication, the swirling rumors of a possible fifth album, the first in eleven years, might hold some weight. But for Tool fans whose favorite band released four albums in 13 years, the last album in 2006, patience is key.