Editor’s Note: Portions of this article have been redacted at the request of Harvard Lampoon.
Late Sunday night, Boston Calling did not end when the last Tool fan crushed their beer can into the mud, nor when the last packed Red Line train left Harvard Square or the last Uber driver banked on surge pricing along Western Avenue.
The holiday weekend festival concluded as cocktail swizzle sticks and the remnants of fine china scattered on the second floor of The Harvard Lampoon in the wee hours of Memorial Day, Diplo fueling the exclusive madness with a soundtrack-worthy DJ set.
The Boston Calling afterparty — the true Boston Calling afterparty, that is — was hosted by the Harvard club at 44 Bow Street in Cambridge, forcing Lampoon members and Boston Calling performers to cluster together in cramped confines of what those familiar with the space call “The Castle.” Sunday night (May 28) was the third and final post-festival gathering, and earlier editions were said to have featured DJ sets from Jamie xx and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. On this night it was Diplo’s turn, a few short hours after his set with Major Lazer across the river at the Harvard Athletic Complex.
After three days of the muck and the mud and egregiously long Tasty Burger lines, people who likely had to deal with none of those things flashed blue wristbands to get into the Harvard Lampoon. No photos, no videos, and no access without a blue bracelet on your wrist.
I knocked on the ornately painted door at 10:57 p.m.
“Ring the bell,” a voice on the other side said, despite the fact that there was clearly someone there and they clearly heard me. I had flashbacks to every gangster and spy movie I’d ever seen. I pressed the doorbell on and the security guard flung the door open.
“Are you a member?” he asked me.
“No, but I have a wristband for tonight,” I said, raising my wrist and displaying mine.
“I can’t let you in until 11.”
“So in three minutes?”
“I don’t make the rules.”
The mood was entirely different as I was cordially ushered in at 11, stepping into the scholarly façade of the first floor. One completely round room boasted a library with books stuffed everywhere imaginable, including shelving tucked into the ceiling. Amidst the bottle caps scattered around the floor, [redacted].
As a member gives a tour of the “castle” I overhear him describing the furniture demurely: “We haven’t taken very good care of it. We haven’t taken good care of a lot of things in here.”
An invisible yet thick haze of smoke permeates the entire first floor with more than a century’s worth of smoldering tobacco. I’m oddly surprised that the flooring doesn’t erupt with ashes as I watch a girl flick her cigarette and scatter sparks all over the once-lush red carpeting.
I walk by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer in the stairwell — twice. We make eye contact the first time, but not on the next pass.
“Are they allowed to be up there?” I ask a former treasurer of the Lampoon club.
“That’s the dancefloor,” he says. “The whole place is the dancefloor.”
He then proceeds to tell me about the time the Lampoon club pretended to be the Harvard Crimson and traveled to New York City to endorse then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. The university was not pleased and forced them to delete the article, but the screenshots are still circulating online.
[Redacted]. While reclining at the head of the table, a kind stranger gifts me Post Malone’s digits without provocation.
[Redacted], where Wolf Parade observed everything from a reserved, decidedly Canadian distance. Two open bars complete with candles stuck into empty Patron bottles fuel the party in tangent with the DJ.
[Redacted]. I make sure to place my drink in front of it when I go in. But as I leave the (unexpectedly clean) restroom, I can hear glass or fine china shattering on the brick floor of the great hall. Suddenly, a security guard confronts me.
“What’s going on in there?”
“I don’t know,” I answer, saving the rest of my commentary (“Bitch I am clearly not even in that room and have been in the bathroom, why are you asking me?”) to my snarky inner commentary.
From there, I decided to vacate the premises as the distinct sound of expensive and treasured antiques shattering on the brick floor ricocheted behind me. Boston Calling had finally concluded.