Attending a festival like Boston Calling gives you the freedom to pick and choose who to see. On the one hand there are those artists you’ll be stampeding to the front for, but on the other there are always acts who are better suited for bathroom breaks and water runs.

No matter how great the openers, it’s inevitable that some festival-goers will show up late only to catch Lorde or Nas x The Roots. But don’t say we didn’t warn you: some of the best up-and-coming local artists are kicking off both weekend dates. Those who arrive fashionably late will be seriously missing out.

Here are five bands with Boston connections that you should include in your festival plans this weekend:

1. St. Nothing

Saturday, September 6 – 1:05 PM – Red Stage

Headlining their first show at Great Scott this summer, St. Nothing’s gloomy yet intensely catchy electro-pop has gained them recognition around the city. Lead singer Marco Lawrence blends his ethereal crooning with mesmerizing, cyclical samples and cascading strings. They may just be getting started, but St. Nothing is sure to kick off Saturday on a dark yet chill note.


2. Clifflight

Saturday, September 6 – 1:40 PM – Blue Stage

Following St. Nothing will be Berklee grads Clifflight, who are likely to offer up a synth-heavy set — think infectious indie-electro hooks and funky bass lines reminiscent of Daft Punk. Founded in 2010, the group is still fairly new to the Boston EDM scene and will probably be promoting their new EP set for release this fall. If you’re looking to check out a refreshing local take on mainstream electronic music, Clifflight is sure to get the crowd moving early in the afternoon.

3. Gentlemen Hall

Sunday, September 7 – 1:05 PM – Red Stage

Featured as our Local Spotlight last fall and on our mixtape this past March, Gentlemen Hall has been touring cross country non-stop over the past few years. After being named “Boston’s Best Act” by the Phoenix in 2012, the group achieved mainstream success with their single “Sail Into the Sun,” which appeared in commercials and TV shows and saw major radio play last summer. Their unique mix of relaxed alternative grooves, upbeat sing-a-longs, and flute-laced synth melodies make Gentlemen Hall an excellent opener for the final day of festivities.


4. San Fermin

Sunday, September 7 – 1:40 PM – Blue Stage

Self described as “Baroque pop,” San Fermin is the neo-classical brainchild of Yale-graduated composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone. Although he’s based out of Brooklyn, the Boston roots are there: Ludwig-Leone met his male vocalist Allen Tate at a Berklee summer camp years ago. Although Ludwig-Leone writes all the music, he sits silently behind an impressive eight-piece band complete with belted female vocals, Tate’s velvety baritone delivery, and a host of talented brass players. Get there early on Sunday to soak in a completely new perspective on popular music from a group that sounds like no other on the festival bill.

Check out our review of a San Fermin show here.


5. Lake Street Dive

Sunday, September 7 – 3:55 PM – Red Stage

Maybe you’ve caught their late night appearances on Conan or The Colbert ReportLake Street Dive has rapidly gained national recognition in the last year or so. As former New England Conservatory students, the four-piece band performs their own twist on the classic sounds of soul, smooth jazz, and blues. Although vocalist Rachael Price dominates the stage with her booming voice and jazzy chops, each member of this band is bursting with talent. All are able to harmonize and blend with one another flawlessly. Add in some of the best upright bass playing in popular music, and this performance is definitely a must-see for the weekend.

Our review of Lake Street Dive this past spring can be found here.


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