In choosing bands to represent the local music scene at the first Boston Calling Music Festival, organizers couldn't have made a more contrasting selection. The Bad Rabbits played Saturday, and the band's funky, high-energy set was a natural fit for a fest. Caspian had the local spotlight Sunday, and the band itself admits that Boston Calling took a risk in presenting an ambient, post-rock outfit.
Caspian is very good at what it does, but typically does it indoors and in the dark. But Caspian's moody, theatrical sound went over, due in part to the sheer physicality and sincerity of the performance.
If Boston Calling was going outside its comfort zone of indie pop, Caspian too was drifting from safe shores.
"Sunlight," was the uniform answer the band members gave when asked what was the biggest difference between a normal gig and the Boston Calling show.
Second came stage size. The Beverly sextet is used to working in tight spaces, which is fine as the members keep an eye on each other for visual cues that help them move through the intricacies of its instrumental catalog.
But they were not about to pass up a chance to perform in front of thousands of people, many of whom, the band knew, would be unfamiliar with Caspian's music.
"Some of our music can be pretty dense. We put together the set to open with something a little more accessible" Jamieson says of beginning with the older song "Some Are White Light" (which was also a nod to longtime fans who showed up to support Caspian's festival appearance).
Jamieson and fellow guitarists Calvin Joss and Jonny Ashburn, bassist Chris Friedrich, drummer Joe Vickers, and guitar player and keyboard player Erin Burke-Moran craftily built on the opening and grew more intricate as the set moved along, culminating with a multi-faceted finale laced with sound loops and a five-way drum circle.
Jamieson says he prefers to play with bands different from his, as too much post-rock can get overwhelming. Burke-Moran also chimes in that the diversity of the festival mirrors Boston itself.
"It's such a musical city, it needed a festival like this," Burke-Moran says.
And it was a good chance to catch Caspian as it probably won't be playing around Boston until late fall or early winter as it works on new material.
The author is solely responsible for the content.