All the action wasn’t outdoors at Boston Calling. An intimate indoor nightclub setting called the Arena showcased musical performances, comedy acts, dance and more. Below are performance highlights and galleries. Contributing writers are Gianna Gawin (GG); Dahlia Maleh (DM); Julie Montana (JM); and Stephanie Ramirez (SR).


Don’t let her cute, small appearance fool you; DJ Yaeji is full of passion and fire. Her beats and vocals lured festival goers into the Arena to dance and vibe along with her, especially when she played her popular remix of Drake’s “ Passionfruit.” In other songs, Yaeji’s Korean and English vocals were a gentle whisper over her mellow/trancelike beats. She mixes hip-hop and trap in her songs, giving them more edge and hype. Overall, the fun and vibrant performance ended day one with good vibes. (GG)

Melissa Villaseñor

Although Melissa Villaseñor’s charming demeanor and wit were enough to captivate much of the audience, she clearly relies her admittedly spot-on impressions to win over the audience. She does her best work when she keeps her sets personal and real as opposed to the dramatic pantomime she fell back on for much of her set. Her ability to master the challenges of a larger venue, compared to the smaller theater/comedy club environment, and make her presence felt throughout the arena is nothing to ignore. As she continues to grow and gain confidence in her storytelling, Villaseñor’s unique style is sure to make waves in the comedy sphere. (JM)

Michael Che

By his own admission, Michael Che’s comedy set at the Boston Calling Arena was . . . well . . . “bad.” Though he tried to drum up some energy through his DJ and opener, Rosebud Baker, it was clear that Che was off his game from the second he stepped on stage. Most of his time was spent bantering with an audience member as opposed to actually telling any jokes. When he did go into his monologues, he was off rhythm and a bit distracted. Che later IG’d: “I owe you one, Boston! Goddamn, that crowd was amazing! I stunk. but you guys were f****** dope. THANKS.”  (JM)


Through retro visuals and bouncing pop beats, Chromeo kept the crowd dancing throughout the night. Not one person on the dance floor could keep from bobbing side to side to the upbeat, sunny hits. Though many other DJs of the night struggled to own the large arena setting, Chromeo expertly kept the pace rolling (and their audience moving) well into their set. (JM)

Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate’s stand-up set seemed as though she was spilling all her personal tea on a Facetime with her closest friend. Sometimes, it was funny and relatable. Sometimes, you just wanted to zone out. Slate covered the usual bases: cringey dates, weed and the stressful but hilarious experiences of being a woman —  like, for example, being afraid to hurt the feelings of a grade A weirdo in a suit of armor. (DM)

Imogene Heap

Most music festivals don’t have Ted Talkesque performances, but Boston Calling was all about breaking down barriers and so was Imogen Heap, with an interesting presentation on her revolutionary Mi.Mu Glove. She demonstrated how the musical gesture glove works and answered questions from the audience. Imogen Heap’s talent is unquestionable and her vision for music and production will change the world, or so she hopes and many believe. (DM)