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2024 PorchFest: A SOME Guide

Updated: May 11

What's Going On


As the weather turns, Somerville is preparing to shake off its winter doldrums by flooding the streets with music. On May 11, from noon to 6 p.m., PorchFest musicians emerge from their  studios, stages, and basements and onto porches, balconies, and open garages to play for free for their neighbors. While part of the fun of PorchFest is getting caught up in the revelry and following the crowds, the sheer volume of acts necessitates some plan for action (pun intended). 


This guide from the SOME editorial team is your map to coming prepared and scoping out the coolest performances and lineups for this year’s event. 


What to Expect


The Somerville Arts Council (SAC), which organizes PorchFest, describes it as a decentralized community event, similar to its visual arts showcase, Somerville Open Studios, only for music. The Council stresses that it is not a festival, though it carries a similarly celebratory air. Bands and individual artists range from established professionals to casual living-room jammers and play music across all genres. Not every musician is a local, some travel from out of state to play on lended porches. 


PorchFest divides the city into three zones, West, Central, and East, each holding two hours of musical performances. The design encourages participants to migrate across the city as the day progresses to sample a variety of acts. Music begins at noon and ends at 2pm in the West zone; runs 2pm-4pm in the Central zone; and finishes up from 4pm-6pm in the East zone. 


The event is weather dependent, with a rain date of May 12.


Where to Be and When


WEST ZONE 12:00 - 2:00 P.M.


Scrivener | 100 Josephine Ave | Indie Folk

Scrivener is the songwriting project of Bart Comegys, originally from Upstate New York. Most folks from Upstate tend to exude a certain groundedness, Bart’s no exception. Take notes, y’all.


Pond Scum | 28 Fairmount Ave | Indie

“Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud. Sometimes simple, sometimes intricate. Sometimes earthbound, sometimes free. Always scummy, never stagnant,” the band wrote. We’re not sure what that means, but Pond Scum promises a good combination of soul, blues, krautrock and metal.


Le Prestige | 38 Garrison Ave | Jazz

“Le Prestige makes low-tech, organic, and improvisational instrumental music influenced by both the looped grooves of 90's hip-hop and 60’s “soul jazz” stylings. They create danceable grooves with funk, jazz and reggae melodies.”


The Resignation, Alright, Thanks | 71 Simpson Ave | Mixed Genres

Alright, Thanks is a New England based indie surf rock band. They’ve promised to get the crowd dancing. New supergroup, The Resignation, will join the bill on Simpson Ave.


Day Grazer, Weatherless | 9 Barton Street | Alt-Rock, Emo

Day Grazer sounds like an equally tormented, but more energetic Joy Division. Weatherless brings intricate guitar work with tinges of midwestern emo in the vocals.


The Ruth & Ben String Band | 38 Bay State Ave | Bluegrass

The Ruth & Ben String Band is a mother-son duo whose old-time folk tunes are upbeat and danceable. Ruth Rappaport pairs traditional American, Irish, and British Isles guitar and piano rhythms with bluegrass and mountain-ballad vocals. With the addition of Ben Wetherbee’s lively fiddling and vocals, the two perform “electrifying Appalachian, Cajun, and contra dance music”.


CENTRAL ZONE 2:00 - 4:00 P.M.


Craigie Street Crew | 52 Craigie St | Folk

This band only bands together for PorchFest, and this year they’re collaborating with students from the Maria L. Baldwin School to deliver a wonderful cacophony of violins, mountain dulcimers, egg shakers, and—of course—boomwhackers.


Husbands | 82 Lowell Street | Slowcore

Not to be confused with OKC’s mustached version, Candlepin Records’s Husbands offers some classic Boston slowcore sounds featuring lazy, fuzzed out guitars with malaise vocals.


TIFFY, Oldsoul, Unseemlier | 152 Willow Ave | Fuzz Pop / Soft Punk

Boston powerhouse acts TIFFY and OldSoul are joined by the Unseemlier punks for a splendid PorchFest bill offering a mix of fuzzed out guitar riffs, dreamy synths, and straight up aggression. Unseemlier have a Fugazi thing going and everyone loves Fugazi.


The Roscoes, The Shirts and Shoes | 22 Cedar St | Garage Rock

Indie/alternative garage rock outfit, The Roscoes are partly from Boston, partly from across the pond. Self-described as “punchy, bouncy, hard hitting, and ballad-esq,” the band is joined by alternative rockers The Shirts and Shoes for this split bill.


EAST ZONE 4:00 - 6:00 P.M.


Earl on Earth | 15 Dimick Street | Indie Rock

Earl on Earth is a singer, songwriter, and indie rock band whose original sound blends 90s rock and modern indie/folk rock. The band formed in the winter of 2019 in Boston after singer songwriter and acoustic guitarist Nate Chung and bassist Matt Isberg met through work. Within a few months a full band was rehearsing regularly in a rehearsal space in Framingham and consistently playing shows at the Middle East Club in Central Square. 


Kerry Horan, a solo musician and accompanying singer for Earl on Earth, will open the set from 4:00 p.m.- 4:20 p.m., followed by a solo section by Chung from 4:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. The full Earl on Earth band will play from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.


Audrey Ryan, Otis Grove | 440 Somerville Ave | Rock, Funk

A mad organ repairman and a Somerville DIY legend will share the loading dock near Market Basket and New Alliance Studio to bring in the evening light. Ethereal goodness from Audrey Ryan and a mix of stank-face funk from Otis Grove.


Lazyi | 40 Laurel Street | Bedroom Pop

Boston indie-favorite Layzi will bring warm lofi synths, drum machines, and dreamy vocals that are sure to get you ready to go home and pass out with the window open.


Hereboy, Jordan & The Boys | Indie, R&B

Cambridge/Somerville indie band, Hereboy will play a laid-back, backyard set filled with original bops. Jordan & The Boys will open things up. Grab a seat at this show, stay a while.


Tips for survival 


Pack for an adventure - water, snacks, and boots made for walking


Even if you’re only planning to venture next door, you are likely to get caught up in the drift and it pays to be prepared. The further you are willing to go the more you will get out of the day, especially if you plan to get in a full six hours of festivity, as you will need to migrate across zones. Pack the essentials for a day in the sun and choose comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.


Ditch the wheels - walking is the way


Event-goers are asked to stay on sidewalks to avoid impeding traffic, but crowds do spill over into the streets. The best and safest way to experience PorchFest is on foot. If you can, leave the car at home and choose public transportation for distances too far to walk. Even biking may be dicey in some areas. If you do ride, be prepared to go slow, stop often, and be extra attentive of your surroundings. Some side streets may be closed to traffic. 


Know what’s where and when - try a map


In addition to your SOME guide, which you will have printed out and tucked safely in your back pocket, there are several tools available from SAC. Visit its interactive map before you head out to see an exhaustive list of bands and where they will be playing. The tool allows you to sort by zone or input search terms. 


Carry cash - support the arts!


PorchFest encourages tip jars so bring your ones, fives, and tens to show your appreciation to the artists. 


 

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