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Photos: The National Headlines Opening Day Of Boston Calling

The National headlined day one of Boston Calling last night, kicking off the three-day festival. For the weekend event, City Hall has been transformed into a massive outdoor venue. Concertgoers Friday had the chance to see Future Islands and Neutral Milk Hotel, as well the National—and then maybe knock back a Sam Adams or two in the process.

Synth-pop band Future Islands established an energetic tone for the evening—with frontman Samuel Herring gutturally growling and thrashing around on the Jet Blue stage just as he did earlier this year on Letterman. He even claimed to have ripped his pants in the process.

While Future Islands jammed through its set—which included hits like “Seasons (Waiting On You)”—throngs of people began to quickly fill in for Neutral Milk Hotel, an eclectic group that developed a bit of a cult following after its more-than-a-decade-long hiatus. The band had a fairly strict no photo policy Friday, which even prevented the festival from broadcasting its show on the jumbotron. Fans didn’t seem to be too fazed.

The National first headlined Boston Calling in May 2013, and the band has been a huge proponent of the Boston event ever since. The Ohio rockers closed the night strong, playing a 90-minute set ending promptly at 11. Highlights included the somber, yet-psychedelic ballad “I Need My Girl,” and later, lead singer Matt Berninger leaping into the audience. The National closed with a stripped-down, acoustic encore.

Featured Images by John Wiley / Heights Editor

September 6, 2014