The Lumineers may have been Saturday’s headliners, but Day 2 of Boston Calling belonged to Noah Kahan. The New Englander now living in Watertown noted that it was his biggest audience ever, and he seemed genuinely thrilled, beaming from the Green Stage. “Everybody shut up or I’m gonna start crying,” he said after a crowd singalong of “Everywhere, Everything.” Affable and charming (“They call me the Jewish Ed Sheeran”), Kahan was in command as the crowd hung on to — and sang, and yelled — his every word. His intimate and propulsive folk-country songs were perfect for the late-day sunshine, leading to a set that more than matched the audience buzz (and countless “Stick Season” apparel items) throughout the day.
On the local front, Boston’s Neemz and chrysalis performed compelling afternoon sets. The former made the most of her day-opening slot by bounding and hopping around the Red Stage while rapping and singing her swaggery confessionals, and the latter tore through their folk-rock songs as if playing on a stage twice its size. (In Neemz’s case, playing on the smaller Orange Stage, instead of the relatively cavernous Red Stage, would have tightened her sound.)
Alanis Morissette, whose 1995 classic “Jagged Little Pill” gave her set its main focus (though post-”Jagged” closer “Uninvited” provided a haunting end), was resplendent. Her set began with a video montage of the singer’s personal and professional life, from images of her meteoric rise to video of Tina Fey calling her out on “Weekend Update” to her Claymation likeness on MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch,” and ending with her holding her toddler while singing on “The Tonight Show.” This intro smartly acknowledged both Morissette’s ‘90s heyday and remarkable staying power, and the singer — beaming in a sparkly jacket and bright red sneakers — sang FM mainstays “Hand in My Pocket” and “You Oughta Know” as if for the first time.
The ‘90s, in fact, seemed to be everywhere on Saturday; crowd T-shirts featured Belly, Veruca Salt, and the Stones’ “Voodoo Lounge” tour. Onstage, a handful of sets mirrored that vibe. Not long after Joy Oladokun’s searing, buoyant acoustic songs gave the day its clear highlight (with Oladokun name-checking Tracy Chapman and Weezer along the way), Actor Observer’s post-hardcore emo howled from the Orange Stage.
Overlapping with Morissette, but across the Boston Calling campus, were the Flaming Lips. As usual, frontman Wayne Coyne brought his master of ceremonies-meets-children’s-birthday-party-host schtick, one that deservedly won over the audience, who cheered for every inflatable rainbow and confetti burst. The playful, moving set — which ran through the band’s classic album “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” — paired perfectly with oncoming nightfall and the Ferris wheel not far from the stage. “Do You Realize??,” perhaps the band’s most emotionally resonant song, was introduced by Coyne imploring, “I want to make sure you’re with the people that you love . . . Collect them up, take this moment and let them know that you love them, and that you’re glad they’re with you watching the Flaming Lips tonight.” As if to confirm the ‘90s motif, the band ended their set with “Race for the Prize,” from 1997′s masterpiece “The Soft Bulletin,” and their immortal “Buzz Bin” track “She Don’t Use Jelly.”
The Lumineers closed out Boston Calling’s second day with two hours of their crowd-ready brand of Americana, making the mainstage lawn feel more like a campfire under the stars. Two hours of the Lumineers goes a long way, and their set of three-chord catharsis started to feel redundant by the night’s end. One high point was a cameo from, of course, Noah Kahan, who popped up for a cover of Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires.” The crowd accordingly lost its mind, confirming that Kahan and his legion of fans did indeed own the day, and night.
At Harvard Athletic Complex, Saturday (continues Sunday)