The Harvard Athletic Complex in Boston, MA, was once again host to Boston Calling Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend 2023. The four stages rocked all weekend with some local Boston/New England bands and the biggest names in rock and pop. Despite a few schedule changes and artists pulling out, the weather held up wonderfully for music fans attending the weekend.

Alisa Amador opened the festival on Friday with a set that struck the tone for the weekend. One chief commendation from fans is festival organizers’ attention to bringing in many Boston area performers to the stage, with these local artists showing up and greatly representing the city and surroundings.

Razor Braids, a Brooklyn-based band, brought some early 2000s-inspired rock with them and did not disappoint. Friday brought out the big guns early with more amazing artists such as Zolita, GA-20, Celisse, The Beaches, and Chelsea Cutler. Yeah Yeah Yeahs unfortunately had to drop out from the festival but they were replaced with Boston natives Dropkick Murphys whose electric set had the whole crowd up and moving. The National and Niall Horan from One Direction brought an end to Friday night before the long-awaited Foo Fighters set.

A few nights into their tour with new drummer Josh Freese, the Foo Fighters delivered an emotional and bittersweet set. Frontman Dave Grohl embodied the heavy hearts of his bandmates and audience members alike as he guided the band through a spirited 20-song set beginning with “Rescued”, featuring classics “My Hero” and “Learn to Fly”, and ending with “Everlong”. All the while behind the dynamic Grohl, new drummer Freese stepped up to the plate and rocked out in true Foo Fighter fashion. The most heartwarming part of the festival happened near the end of their set when they brought out Shane Hawkins, the son of the late, great Taylor Hawkins, to perform one of the band’s early-era classics, “I’ll Stick Around”.

Foo Fighters, Shane Hawkins – “I’ll Stick Around” – 5/26/23

[Video: ThatRobRose]

As the weather heated up heading into day two, so did the energy with lines that wrapped all the way down the street well before gates opened at 1:00 p.m. as fans vied for good spots for what people say was the best day of the festival lineup-wise. With audience members sporting t-shirts of their favorite bands, you could tell who people were most excited to see that day.

Saturday started out buzzing with The Q-Tip Bandits, The Aces, and Declan Mckenna, all of whom put on remarkably energetic performances with their fans singing every word of every song. Fletcher took the stage to a sea of fans who traveled from near and far to watch her put on an animated performance that set the pace for the night to come.

As expected, a majority of the fans were anxiously awaiting sets by top acts Alanis Morisette, The Flaming Lips, and The Lumineers, who all put on memorable shows cementing their place as headliners on a fully-loaded lineup. As the night ended the crowd was still buzzing, leaving the festival with smiles on their faces.

As the gates opened on the third and final day the crowd all rushed in to make sure they could secure a good spot for the headliner that night, Paramore. Boston native band Juice started off the day with a powerful set that filled the air with good energy. Following the local act was a buzzy band from London that a lot of attendees were excited to see, Wunderhorse. Their set didn’t disappoint, earning the band new legions of fans on foreign soil.

The rest of the day was filled with back-to-back highlight sets with The Linda Lindas, Brutus, 070 Shake, Bleachers, and by far one of the most talked about sets of the day, Genesis Owusu. The sun was setting and the contemporary hard rock legends Queens of the Stone Age took the stage and rocked out for an hour with a set that took everyone back to the band’s boundary-pushing heydey that set the heavy metal tone for years to come.

Making their long-awaited Boston Calling debut after having to cancel last year due to COVID, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard put on a high-powered sub-headlining set. The band’s visit to the Harvard Atheltic Complex was well worth the wait and, for their patience, the audience was rewarded with the debut of a new song, “Converge”, set to appear on the band’s upcoming thrash metal double album PetroDragonic Apocalypse; Or, Dawn Of Eternal Night: An Annihilation Of Planet Earth And The Beginning Of Merciless Damnation.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Converge” – 5/28/23

[Video: CorigamiC]

Other than the Foo Fighters, Paramore delivered one of the strongest and most intense headlining sets of the weekend. Fans screamed and cried with excitement as frontwoman Hayley Williams took the stage and proceeded to command it with her undeniable force. From the band’s celebrated classics to more recent addition, Paramore delivered a set that bridged the gap between rock and pop both old and new, making it the perfectly sentimental ending to Boston Calling.

Check out image galleries from Boston Calling 2023 courtesy of photographers Avi Warren and Alive Coverage along with an array of fan-shot videos from Steve’s Concert Corner.

Foo Fighters, Violet Grohl – “Rope” – 5/26/23

Foo Fighters – “Monkey Wrench” – 5/26/23

Foo Fighters – “Best Of You” – 5/26/23

Foo Fighters – “Aurora” – 5/26/23

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Full Album – 5/27/23

Queens Of The Stone Age – Boston Calling – 5/28/23 – Full Set

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