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The Boston Globe

Music

music review

Boston Calling rocks again

Residents have long bemoaned the architectural wasteland that is City Hall Plaza, but as we learned this past May at the first Boston Calling music festival, all it needed was a few dozen bands and thousands of fans to spruce up the joint. That success prompted the organizers to go even bigger this time around with 20 acts that ran the gamut of hip-hop, R&B, electronic dance music, indie rock, and punk.

Rotating set times on two stages at either end of the plaza, with often instant overlap, made for an efficient turnover time between acts, something more festivals should consider. A relatively laid-back authority presence and optional festival reentry also made for refreshing changes of pace for fans who were rewarded with a panoply of the year’s notable standouts, from the gorgeous R&B crooning and effortless cool of Solange, the spine-tingling harpsichord mysteries of Bat For Lashes, the outsider-indie folk of Okkervil River, and a welcome selection of homegrown talent from the electro disco of Bearstronaut to the gritty blues punk of Viva Viva.

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