Entertainment, Lifestyle

Eclectic music festival Boston Calling draws tens of thousands

The crowd sings along to Khalid during the third day of Boston Calling. (Spenser R. Hasak)

ALLSTON — Boston Calling, the eclectic festival that attracted tens of thousands to Harvard University’s athletic complex over the weekend, offered something for music lovers of all stripes.

Eminem, maybe-boyfriend of Nicki Minaj, closed the three-day festival Sunday night with a 29-song set that included megahits “White America,” “My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady.”

The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Alvvays and Julien Baker, a singer-guitarist from Memphis, drew crowds on Sunday.

The Killers were headliners on Friday night, and started out boldly by opening with “Mr. Brightside” and, two songs later, “Somebody Told Me,” their biggest hits. Brandon Flowers is a Vegas-slick frontman, seizing the spotlight for every second of the 90-minute set.

The underrated Paramore, led by wonderwoman Hayley Williams, had the best set on Friday. The band was tight, the songs were strong and their 75 minutes on stage was first-rate and filled with surprises. Some obsessed Hayley fans arrived when gates opened at noon, grabbed a spot in front of the Delta Blue Stage and sat there until the band went on at 8:05 p.m.

Portugal, the Man’s trippy too-short set, with its Pink Floyd-like light-show, was a Friday highlight. “Creep in a T-shirt,” a catchy, guitar-fueled original, and covers of songs by T-Rex, Metallica and Pink Floyd were splendid.

Boston Calling faves The National drew a huge crowd, despite performing at the same time as Paramore. Their songs “I Need My Girl” and “Bloodbuzz Ohio” are masterpieces.

Saturday’s headliner was Jack White, who mixed solo tunes, selections from side projects Dead Weather and the Raconteurs, with such White Stripes winners as “Ball and Biscuit” and “Seven Nation Army.”

St. Vincent, local heros Belly, Royal Blood, and Tyler the Creator — four acts that couldn’t be more different — were also among Saturday’s big names.

More Stories In Lifestyle