People at the Xfinity center the other day were freaking out at the influx of women in the men’s restroom. But the line was so damn long, and men should just be happy that women feel comfortable peeing near them. It also proves that a law regulating where you should pee is a giant bag of dicks. That is all!!
After long last, I finally got myself a lovely new pair of Chucks. My chucks of past years have gotten me through so much in life, like my black ones in High School, worn beyond possibility of wearing, through parking lot hijinx, gutter punk shows, and crazy Vermont hoopla, or my purple ones that lasted me four and a half years of college and then some, worn beyond all wearing, but still worn even when the canvas and the rubber were no longer connected, drawn on, and lying in state in a corner of my room, unable to let them go, it’s like letting go of part of myself, like letting go of my college experience. I did though. I really do lack an attachment to material things the way a lot of people do. My material attachments are often things that enrich life, music, film, books, other kinds of artsy fartsy shit. But one item I am vain about is my Chucks. My Chucks just become imbued with their own power, their own special energy. It is how I remember rock shows, dance parties, and bar hops. It’s how I remember random meandering walks through streets new and old. It’s how I keep track of events in a sense. My new black chucks with the purple laces, they bring me places, and they retain residue of events. I already broke them in this past weekend at the Keith Urban show, which was really good I might add. I spent my young life being skeptical of country music on the whole, when I should have just spent my time on any artists worthy of respect regardless of type. The person I was in those days was personified through the wearing of my chucks, the person I am now experiences the memories of the person I once was by extension through my new pair of chucks. So essentially, it’s a way I walk confidently into the future by also keeping a close eye on my past. I guess..
Kurt Cobain mentioned this Neil Young lyric in his suicide note, which really shook up the music world in a number of ways. I mean his death in general impacted not just a generation of music fans and fellow musicians, it shook up the entire industry, it shook up entire schools of musical thought. But all the same, it cemented the truth of Neil Young’s lyrics. What does music mean to you, or to anyone? What does making music do for us? It’s just like what writing does for people like us, here at the bottom of the bottle. Neil Young’s lyric will always ring true for so many of us. Nobody wants to fade away. I mean, I don’t really think anyone wants to literally burn out, right? But nobody wants to fade, people want to remembered for something for anything. People want to make a lasting impact or deliver a lasting contribution to this world that we were thrown into, and not by choice. Nobody chooses the life they initially start with, but we do have at least some choice in the life we end up with.
I recently learned of the passing of a friend of mine. I wouldn’t say we were close, but I’d say he did always leave an impression on me. He always lived the way he chose to, and some of those choices, at a very human level, were certainly not great choices, just like all of us don’t always make great choices. That’s normal. We choose to smoke, when we know exactly what cigarettes do to us. We choose to do any manner of things, knowing full well that they are habit forming or that they will kill us. We choose to spend money on things we know are only fleeting. But that’s the other point of the song lyric. If we truly live our lives, truly embrace our lives, and the choices we make therein, we all have the capacity to burn very brightly.
But more on my fallen comrade. He went out of his way to not be liked, and was the ultimate embodiment of everything my friends and I believed in during the parking lot days. Being uncool was always cool. Doing things just because others wouldn’t. You would find him on the street any random day, playing some really shitty song on his guitar, because it was his right to be as good or as bad at music as he saw fit. Addled by drugs at the best of times, my friend still danced to his own drummer, you get me? He was a compassionate soul, even though he was always rough around the edges. He couldn’t get out of his own head most of the time, but he always got into ours. He made us think about choices, he made us think about freedom, and life itself.
He never asked the deeper questions, because he never had to. Being near him, unsung hero of all that is considered Rock and Roll, of all that we decided to embrace as sidewalk punks and gutter trash, made us think, made us always question authority, and for that we are forever grateful to him for never letting us forget. It is truly tragic, that some of his choices brought him to this end, but we owe it to him to burn ever brighter in spite of this. And we also always have a choice on whether or not we look the other way, maybe we should pay more attention to the lost causes, to the people who can’t get out of their own way, and really even just stop and say hi, once in a while, it’ll make all the difference in your life and everybody else’s.
Bottoms Up to You My Friend…
At long last, I can tell y’all about the final day of Boston Calling, which was a phenomenal ending to an amazing weekend, not to mention that instead of sweating to death we were actually a bit chilly. Which worked in everyone’s favor, if you ask me.
The Vaccines were pretty cool in their classic punk vibe, and their awesome energy, and and pure appreciation of the crowd. Again this was a case of us showing up a bit late, so we didn’t get to pay the utmost attention to it, but what we saw rocked pretty hard.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra was pretty interesting, but certainly nothing too memorable in comparison with what was to come, except maybe Vince Staples, which really didn’t move me much at all. And then there was Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, certainly the oldest and most soulful act in presence, but they had incredible energy, and amazing stage presence. To see a soul legend surrounded by so many contemporary, more modern sounding artists was great.
My most anticipated performance of the day was The Front Bottoms, who bring a gutter punk sound from Jersey, which is also filled with heart and killer hooks, and a real fun stage presence makes them pretty damn awesome in real life. Funny, crass, and good at driving a crowd, they did nothing but impress. Elle King brought her smoky, hillbilly blend of folk, rock and sheer awesomeness to the red stage, and really kept up the witty banter throughout her set, most memorably saying how hard it was to keep her pants on during Charles Bradley. She also destroyed my shoes, because of how hard I was dancing to the tail end of her set.
Janelle Monae can surely do it all: command a stage, move a crowd, and boost a positive message of social justice, all while getting us to dance our asses off. That being said, since Disclosure was ending the night, we had to take a breather during Haim, but we still saw their entire set, and they truly blew my mind. The point where all three of them were playing the drums togethr was beyond awesome, not to mention their stage setup was terrific. I don’t think anyone there could play their instruments half as well as they did, and that’s saying a lot considering how amazing everyone was.
Disclosure do more than just the typical dj set, with a guy standing in front of a laptop and just pushing a button every once in a while. They both had their own set up much the way that Chromeo did last year, with synthesizers, drums and keyboards. Most of the singing was pre-programmed, but some of it was live. But almost all the sounds other than this were live. Not to mention how awesome their light show, and the media going across the screen non-stop was. To end in a full on dance party was terrific, even if I could barely move the entire time. It’s surely another Boston Calling for the record books, not to mention all the free kind bars that I snagged, always a plus in addition to an amazing weekend, and the most fun you will have in Boston.
It may be somewhere else next year, but it will have all of the heart and all of the fun, and that’s a plus.Boston Calling in Allston, you know I’ll be there!!
So Saturday, still high off of the fumes of the amazingness that was Sia’s performance, we set out for City Hall Plaza for a jam packed day of even more musical fun. We arrived just as Christine and The Queens were finishing their set, but what little we did see was astounding. She truly knows how to command the stage, and the coreographed dancing was flawless. The fact that everybody was wearing the same outfit also added to the spectacle. And everyone cheered at her pronouncement that “Everyone should be allowed to be whoever they feel like being or who they believe they are.” A positive message, an energetic set, and an overabundance for love of all the attendees at Boston Calling really made this a good way to start the day.
A brief detour was made to the new comedy tent, where we saw the amazing Lamont Price, who shared thoughts on how much it sucked to be a kid without a Nintendo. It was insightful, nostalgic, and hilarious. We also got to see the very funny Kelly Mcfarland. The best thing about these two comedians was just how natural they were with their delivery, and were genuinely funny without resorting to gimmicks.
Borns blew me away with their Electric Love, and the lead singers incredible ability to wear woman’s clothing better than a lot of women. Bravo to you sir. It was retro, it was fresh, and it was crazy fun. The energy of the crowd was terrific, and the band was tight. Their command of the stage and their ability to work the crowd added them to the list of bands to expect great things from, and added to a great list of Boston Calling memorable performances. City and Colour was stellar, and really brought so much emotion and feeling to his set, that even waiting in front of the Blue stage during his set, it never felt for a second that we were really missing anything.
And then came the time for Miike Snow, and his brilliant blend of Indie Rock, R and B, EDM, and many other things. He was very funny, and very lively for someone just getting over bronchitis. I guess his ever present tea cup really paid off, because his vocals never faltered for a second, and neither did his terrific stage presence. I found myself hanging on every word, dancing up a storm to every tune, and yelling my head off singing along to the lovely song Animal, which I remember fondly from every basement college party I ever attended.
It being so hot, I didn’t really pay nearly as much attention as I had wanted to on Odesza and Robyn, not to mention that we were super excited for a few of the Sunday artists, but what little we stuck around for of Robyn was pretty good as well, including her one-legged pants.