Smaller Artists Not to Miss at Boston Calling

Boston Calling Smaller Artists Graphic by Bobby Nicholas
Boston Calling Smaller Artists Graphic by Bobby Nicholas

- By Owen Murray -

Boston Calling is always an exciting event for Boston music and this year, the festival has some of its biggest names ever. The Killers, Jack White, and Eminem are headlining, with Queens of the Stone Age, Paramore, Tyler the Creator, St. Vincent, adding to the list of big names in this year's lineup.

As festival posters cover the city during the month of May, it's easy to overlook the names at the bottom in small text. Here's a look at some favorite musicians you don't want to miss from the bottom half of the Boston Calling Posters.

Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius's last album No Shape was one of 2017's most beautiful records. The expansive sound and impeccable production on the album sounds best on a pair of nice headphones so it will be interesting to see how it works in a festival setting.

Mike Hadreas's unique voice and stage presence definitely isn't something you'll want to miss.


In 2015, Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala was among the big names who played Boston Calling. Fans of Tame Impala don't always know that it is essentially the solo project of front man Kevin Parker and when Tame Impala plays live, Parker is accompanied by members of Pond.

If you like the revivalist psychedelic sound of Tame Impala, you're sure to enjoy Pond. Last year's album The Weather bore a lot of similarities to Tame Impala's Lonerism, often with a slightly darker sound.

(Sandy) Alex G

Philadelphia folk rocker (Sandy) Alex G released Rocket in 2017, which just might be his best album to date. On Rocket, he expanded his sonic pallet significantly, with neo-psychedelic tracks like "Witch" and "Sportstar," not to mention the trunk-knocking standout track "Brick."

These more experimental cuts appear alongside more traditional folk songs like "Proud" and "Bobby," as well as tracks that mix the old with the new like "Powerful Man" and the album opener "Poison Root."

Rocket might be (Sandy) Alex G's defining album, but it's also worth diving into his back catalogue for great songs like "Mary" and "Wicked Boy."

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus is an electronic music producer, singer and songwriter. She's been at it for almost 10 years now and has some really solid work under her belt. Much of her work is dark and atmospheric. She's one of the most experimental musicians on the festival bill, so definitely check her out of you're looking for a unique experience.

Thee Oh Sees

Garage rock band Thee Oh Sees have released 13 albums since 2006, but it doesn't take an in-depth knowledge of their music to know that they have a perfect sound for rocking out at a festival.

The California band rocks hard. If you're at Boston Calling for Queens of the Stone Age and you're looking to do some more headbanging earlier in the day, Thee Oh Sees are the band to see.

Taylor Bennet

Last year Taylor Bennet's brother Chancellor Bennet, better known as Chance the Rapper, headlined Boston Calling. This year, the lesser known younger brother will hit the stage on Sunday for a set of his own.

Taylor's 2017 album Restoration of an American Idol was a low-key hip hop and RnB album that had a lot of collaborations. Even though he still seems to be finding his own voice, if you're a fan of Chance, there's no reason not to check out Taylor on Sunday.


Chicago rapper Noname made a splash with her excellent 2016 debut Telefone. The album was smooth, jazzy, and easy on the ears and helped Noname established herself as a top-tier rapper. Her sentimental and socially conscious lyrics made Telefone as poignant as it was pleasant.

Before her debut Noname had a number of notable features including "Lost" from Chance the Rapper's breakthrough mixtape Acid Rap.


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