Boston Calling 2022: Ten Standout Performances: Cheap Trick, Metallica, Julie Rhodes, Ripe & More (FESTIVAL RECAP)

Ultimately three years in the making, the Boston Calling Music Festival once again took center stage at the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston, Massachusetts this past Friday, May 27th through Sunday the 29th with another eclectic mix of local and national acts. The bill featured close to 50 artists, a plethora of food vendors as far as the eye could see and yes, a ferris wheel to boot! 

For day one, the legendary industrial act Nine Inch Nails was at the top of the marquee as the headliner but there was plenty to see and hear before their aggressive and impressive set. The bill also included Rufus Du Sol, Haim, Avril Lavigne, Cheap Trick, Oliver Tree, the Struts, Grandson, the Backseat Lovers, Paris Texas, Mob Rich, Pom Pom Squad, Born Without Bones, Avenue, Miranda Rae, the Chelsea Curve and Paris Jackson, who had the mighty task of kicking off the event as the festival’s first performer. 

As impressive as the first day was for the Boston Calling Music Festival, mother nature and the dreaded COVID-19 virus wreaked havoc on the second day’s festivities. Midday, a ferocious storm barreled up the east coast and interrupted the scheduled performances. Several acts were unable to take the stage and due to curfew, their performances simply could not be delayed. COVID-19 struck King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s camp as well, canceling their attendance altogether. Despite the weather delay, where the thousands of festival-goers were urged to leave the campus and find shelter, the show did go on. Saturday’s acts included Nine Inch Nails, Run the Jewels, Black Pumas, Earthgang, Orville Peck, Kennyhoopla, Sudan Archives, Celisse, Hinds, Frances Forever, Charlotte Sands, Julie Rhodes, Van Buren Records, Ali McGuirk, Coral Moons and Dutch Tulips. 

Sunday’s lineup and the weather did not disappoint. The sun was out in full force with just a stray cloud here and there. Somehow the grounds were pretty much dried up before the gates even opened to allow the bevy of attendees to shuffle in. Metallica’s loyal fan base showed up representing in huge numbers. One could not look in any one direction and not see a Metallic T-shirt in their view. The lineup featured Metallica, Weezer, Japanese Breakfast, Glass Animals, Modest Mouse, Goose, Ripe, Cults, Peach Tree Rascals, Horsegirl, DJO, Cam Meekins, Oompa, Cliff Notez, Crooked Coast, Aaron, and the Lord and Paper Tigers.

So, what caught Glide’s attention?  In no particular order, the festival’s top ten standout performances included:

Nine Inch Nails

The Industrial giants came to the rescue not just once, but twice by filling the voids left by the Foo Fighters’ and Strokes’ cancellations. Trent Reznor and Company delivered both nights with different setlists and lighting production. They dug in with deep cuts, covers, and hits from the band’s catalog, including, “Reptile”, “Sin”, “I’m Afraid of Americans”, (Bowie) “Fashion” (Bowie), “Suck” (Pigface), “Hurt” and “Head Like a Hole. For NIN fans who had tickets to both nights, we hope they’ve recovered by now.

Cheap Trick

The classic rock veterans were as fun and polished as ever. Rick Nielsen brought his array of uncanny guitars and Robin Zander’s appearance and voice seem not to age. They and the other half of the band sounded fantastic as they cruised through their set of hits and fan favorites that included, “Dream Police”, “The Flame”, “I Want You to Want Me” and of course, “Surrender” which found Paris Jackson making a surprise appearance.


Grandson, the outspoken artist that openly questions sociopolitical and environmental issues, lit the crowd up with his combustible art that mixes electronic, hip-hop, and rock and roll put together with the intent to “let people get weird”. He and his band drove the crowd into a frenzy with his set that featured “Blood // Water”, “We Did It!!!” and “Despicable”. Grandson is one to watch.


If you haven’t heard of Haim, now’s the time to familiarize yourself with this incredibly talented group of sisters from Los Angeles, who have no fear in showcasing their abilities to play multiple instruments, sing and incorporate choreographed dance routines into their energetic set. With their allotted time, the leather-clad trio tore through an eleven-song set that included, “Now I’m in It”, “Gasoline” and “Summer Girl”, demonstrating clearly, that this was not their first rodeo.

Julie Rhodes

Boston’s own Julie Rhodes, who is an absolute vocal powerhouse, had the daunting task of opening the second day’s festivities. After she playfully bounced out onto the stage, she and her crack band immediately commanded the audience’s ear. Julie’s voice is amazing as is her personality. She and her band won over, yet another crowd while performing “Grinnin’ in Your Face”, “In Your Garden” and a handful of other soulful rockers. 


Please welcome, Celisse, the future Queen of the blues. One might notice striking similarities between Celisse and the legendary Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey, visually and musically and Glide Magazine loved it! This singer, songwriter and spoken word artist had jaws dropping left and right as she sang with the voice of an angel all while handling her white Gibson SG a la B.B. King. Words alone truly can’t describe the talent that oozes from Celisse. She and her band were tight and hypnotic. Have a go with “Freedom” alone and you’ll understand.

Orville Peck

Staying true to his signature look that begs, “Who is that masked man?”, Orville Peck displayed talent beyond his years dressed in an embroidered Tennessee tuxedo, cowboy hat and fringed-mask. Donning a couple of different guitars, Peck’s delivery was spotless while performing “Daytona Sand”, “Lafayette” and “Drive Me Crazy”. His set was not to be missed. Peck is a South African country musician, though now based in Canada and has all the makings for a global star for both stage and maybe screen.

Black Pumas

The Black Pumas were a hit for all the right reasons. This soul band from Austin can walk the walk and talk the talk. The chemistry of singer Eric Burton and guitarist Adrian Quesada is undeniable. Burton’s silky voice and ability to connect with the crowd, from near and afar, put smiles across the sea of fans who stood before the stage. Quesada’s humble disposition, while driving the musical side of the performance on his guitar, provides a terrific foil for the frontman. The band slayed, offering gems such as “I’m Ready”, “Know You Better” and “Colors”. 


Boston-based funk band, formed at the Berklee College of music, brought the grooves to the festival. This seven-piece showcased their classically trained chops (infused that with obvious natural talent) and put on a clinic of how to win over a crowd with the magic of music. Vocalist Robbie Wulfshon made it look easy with his smooth delivery while the band gleefully smiled and danced around with their respective instruments in their hands. “Settling” was just as electric as the band’s performance.


What can one say about Metallica? They’ve been kicking ass and taking names for over forty years and despite any internal or personal problems, they still deliver their well-oiled, fiery brand of thrash to the masses each and every time. Clearly more mature than they were back in the early eighties, James Hetfield sill sang with all of his heart, Kirk Hammet still shredded, Lars Ulrich still sneered and cracked the skins behind his kit all while bassist Robert Trujillo menacingly meandered around the stage. The band played a full set that included, “Master of Puppets”, “Seek and Destroy”, “Battery”, “Sad but True” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. They came, they saw and they conquered. There’s a reason why they’re still at the top of the musical food chain.

Photos by Marc Lacatell

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2 Responses

  1. Except for Metallica, pretty spot on. Thrash music, isn’t music, it’s trash with an h.

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