Somerville’s annual PorchFest is part hootenanny, part a giant open studios for bands. More than 200 bands acts are scheduled to perform on porches, in backyards and in parks from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Below are some bands worth checking out, listed in order of when they’ll be performing. My criteria were not absolutely musically rigorous. Other things sometimes sway me, like a music video featuring an elephant.

The schedule groups bands by neighborhood, so bands west of Willow Avenue play from noon to 2 p.m., folks between Willow Avenue and Central Street play from 2 to 4 p.m., and east of Central Street artists perform from 4 to 6 p.m. “Parking restrictions will be relaxed in residential areas from noon to 6 p.m.”

Inspired by an event in upstate New York, PorchFest exploded locally when our friends at the Somerville Arts Council first copycatted it here in 2011. There are now several versions around greater Boston—this year including Arlington on June 8, Brookline on June 8, Jamaica Plain on July 13, Belmont on Sept. 7 and Roslindale on Sept. 14.

If this is the kind of coverage of arts, cultures and activisms you appreciate, please support Wonderland by contributing to Wonderland on Patreon. And sign up for our free, weekly newsletter so that you don’t miss any of our reporting.

PowerSlut / Celebutant / Viper’s Jive / Cat’s Meow

Noon to 2 p.m. 134 Morrison Ave.
PowerSlut, the third Place Winner at last month’s 40th Rock & Roll Rumble, leads this lineup. They offer wisecracking, potty-mouthed, slut-positive rock with songs like “Hot Tub Wingman” (“Let’s get drunk and all get inside your hot tub”) to their 2017 album “Go Fuck Myself.”

Akira and the Allstars (featuring Pressure Cooker)

2 to 4 p.m. 20 Central St.
Inspired by Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae music of the 1960s and ‘70s.

Jon Bernhardt, Thereminst

2 to 4 p.m. 9 Charnwood Road.
“You stand up for every nerd who’s ever wanted to be a rock star,” Simon Cowell told Bernhardt when he performed on the television program “America’s Got Talent” in 2016. For PorchFest, Bernhardt will again grace the audience with “theremin versions of songs that are completely inappropriate for that instrument (mostly punk and new wave classics), but we’ll throw in a few standards, to keep the audience on their toes.”


2 to 4 p.m. 18 Gibbens St. #1
This DJ creates groovy outer space mutations.

Dirty Water Brass Band

2 to 4 p.m. 75 Cedar St.
A Motown horn section crossed with a Honk-style street band.

Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band

2 to 4 p.m. 98 Belmont St., 5 to 6 p.m. 1 Bow Market Way
A klezmer-circus-funk street band with a repertoire ranging along Balkan tunes, free jazz, funk, New Orleans-style jazz, metal, steampunk, school marching band.

The Woo Factor

2 to 4 p.m. 239 Highland Ave.
R&B, neo-soul, funk, pop and hip hop.


3:10 to 4 p.m. 18 Bank St.
Big glamorous disco-y numbers from the 2018 Boston Music Awards nominee for R&B Artist of the Year VQnC (Tory Corless), who has collaborated with local hip hop luminaries including Oompa and Cliff Notez.

Somerville Symphony Orkestar

4 to 5 p.m. 1 Bow Market Way
Check out this cover of the drunken “Pink Elephants on Parade” from Disney’s “Dumbo” done Balkan-punk-funk-style.


4 to 6 p.m. 6 Columbus Ave.
Singer Abi Flynn leads this dream pop synth outfit.

The Loft Presents: Dan Blakeslee, Audrey Ryan and Otis Grove

4 to 6 p.m. 440 Somerville Ave. Rear
Blakeslee leads this lineup with laid-back, poetic folk “songs of hardship, hope and true grit.”

Opposite People

4 to 6 p.m. 19R Prospect Hill Ave.
Afrobeat/funk/world music dance groove band.

School of Honk

4 to 6 p.m. 290 Washington St.
The funky street band of dozens and dozens of performers is unique for its weekly open practice sessions and monthly dance party. “Worrying too much about each passing note or phrase gets in the way of having fun at all. So we don’t sweat the sour notes or fumbled cues, and just move on to the next. As long as our beat and our feet keep moving forward, nothing anyone does can stop the music, or the feelings of joy and empowerment that follow.”

Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band

4 to 6 p.m. 14 Quincy St.
A 30-piece “raucous, stomp-your-foot-and-belt-out-the-choruses” New Orleans-style activist street band. These are the folks who founded the Honk festival. Their mission: “To fight for social justice causes and support community events while having fun and spreading joy through our music.”

Trabants / Happy Little Clouds / Thrust Club / Calm Down, Dead Man

4 to 6 p.m. 16 Madison St.
Trabants, who lead this lineup, are an instrumental garage/surf/psych band who described their 2018 outing “Nel Cuore Di Una Terra Selvaggia” as “a psychedelic spaghetti Western surf rock garage circus in the vein of the of the great Italian exploitation film soundtracks of the 1960’s.”

Tysk Tysk Task

4 to 6 p.m. 124 Broadway
Dorchester-based indie rock and folk band fronted by Samantha Hartsel plus Chris Beller on drums has been described by Boston Hassle as a “raw and female-fronted version of Nirvana Unplugged.” Note that their song “Back in Boston” includes the lyric “We knew you would come back to the best city on earth.”

Vilicon Sally (featuring Aznjujube, J_La and Machine Machine)

4:30 to 6 p.m. 67 Broadway St.
Dreamy experimental loop-based electronic folk.

If this is the kind of coverage of arts, cultures and activisms you appreciate, please support Wonderland by contributing to Wonderland on Patreon. And sign up for our free, weekly newsletter so that you don’t miss any of our reporting.

Categories: Music