This Saturday, May 18, porches in Somerville will transform into stages for over 100 of the city’s most diverse musical acts. Passersby can hear anything from punk to Afro beat. With three separate time slots from noon to 6 p.m. based on location, Porchfest offers an evening full of music from Somerville’s finest.
For the event, the Somerville Arts Council acts only as a facilitator, with executive director Gregory Jenkins taking responsibility only for “the site, location and idea,” he tells Boston.com. Musicians register online themselves, and the event’s success depends on their stage presence – or lack thereof – in a unique venue.
Let us be your guide as you check out East Somerville, move to Central Somerville, and finally cap off the night in West Somerville.
East Somerville: noon to 2 p.m.
Start the day off with Tres Bien Ensemble. The band welcomes all to join them as they cover hits spanning the Beatles’ entire career.
Next, take a listen to SheBoom, a self-described “post-menopausal percussion ensemble” at 43 Monroe St. They may be more seasoned than most of their Porchfest contemporaries, but these ladies can still rock.
For a more global sound, look for Opposite People one street over at 19R Prospect Hill Ave. The Afrobeat and funk band is named after the Fela Kuti tune of the same name and features keyboard, guitar, trombone, saxophone and trumpet.
Next, check out Somerville Symphony Orkestar playing at 74 Walnut St., just around the corner from the Somerville Public Library. Look for the seven-piece gypsy punk band to play “Into the Wood Chipper” from their self-titled EP.
Younger fans (or fans with kids) should head to 7 Bradley St. for Amy and Steve Pardo, a Children’s music and folk duo. Amy, a preschool teacher, and her husband Steve collectively play the ukulele, guitar, clarinet and saxophone.
Central Somerville: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Begin your venture into Central Somerville at 50 Summer St. with the eclectic folk band Black Marmot. Vocalist Linde Clark captures the sound of 90s songstress Natalie Merchant over a light groove that all listeners can enjoy.
Head to 184 Summer St. to hear the sounds of The Ever Expanding Elastic Waste Band, also known as Members of Morphine and Jeremy Lyons… since they are just that. This new band picked up where 90s Cambridge staple Morphine left off following the death of vocalist and bassist Mark Sandman.
Fans in the mood for something more experimental can lend their ears to SWYM, an alternative and psychedelic rock band playing at 40 Tower St. The hipster quartet takes influence from bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead.
Walk on over to 97 Porter St. to listen to Katy Bowser and Kenny Hutson, a married couple from East Nashville Tennessee that uniquely blends two very different styles. Kenny’s bluegrass roots and Katy’s history in jazz (and well-trained voice) make for an interesting combination.
For your final stop in Central Cambridge, make sure to check out Jon Bernhardt at 9 Charnwood Rd. Jon plays new wave and punk songs on the theremin, an unusual instrument straight out of a sci-fi flick.
West Somerville: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Start your West Somerville trek with Interrobang at 96 Pearson Ave. It will be worth seeing how the alternative rock outfit strips down their heavier songs to fit the outdoor venue.
Next, head west to 53 Chester St. to check out Dirty Water Brass Band. The Davis Square-based jazz band is known for bringing the sounds of Mardi Gras to the streets of Somerville.
Fellow HONK! 2012 performers Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band can be seen at 11 Irving St. If you liked Dirty Water Brass Band, make sure to give Second Line Social Aid a listen for a double dose of New Orleans jazz.
Take a trip back to the future with Dust Clouds of Mars, a “sci-fi surf rock” band that will be bringing their unique sound to 6 Cameron Ave. Their combination of two of the ’80s most ubiquitous genres makes for some compelling tunes.
Before heading home, be sure to stop by 67 Garrison Ave. to check out Birdface. The quartet’s mix of catchy melodies and funk rock influences will make for a great ending to your Porchfest experience.