Get in with the Outside the Box festival: Our music picks for the opening weekend

The first-annual Outside The Box music and arts festival descends around Boston tomorrow, kicking off an nine-day run of free festivities with a schedule that’s so vast, it’s pretty hard to digest all at once. So we’re breaking it up into days, offering up our music picks and giving you a Vanya-colored compass to navigate through a busy week around Boston Common and City Hall Plaza.

Here’s where we’re headed this weekend, but be sure to peruse the entire schedule over at outsidetheboxboston.org. Remember: everything is as free as the air we breathe.

:: Saturday, July 13 : Tallahassee : 7pm @ the Boston Common “Commonwealth Stage”

Hey, Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Alejandro Escovedo provide a nice mid-afternoon chicano-rock troika on the Boston Common’s Beacon stage, but for our money, the fest shifts into high gear around dusk when Tallahassee brings their amber-lit Americana to the aptly-named Commonwealth Stage.

Tallahassee’s music is of the comfort variety, an engaging blend of smoky and weathered roots rock, and the band is all about family: they just performed in Boston at Brighton Music Hall for the Dave Lamb benefit show, which raised money for the Brown Bird frontman’s treatment of leukemia.

The show was supposed to be Brown Bird’s record release party, but when it was postponed shortly after Lamb’s diagnosis, Tallahassee — as well as like-minded Americana acts Coyote Kolb and Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons — stepped up to fill the void with a fundraiser. That’s the kind of band Tallahassee are. Their latest record, Old Ways, dropped in May. Tallahassee photo above by Gretchen Gavett

:: Sunday, July 14 : Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band : 4:30pm @ the Boston Common “Commonwealth Stage”

Sunday is no day of rest at Outside the Box. While theater and other productions dominate the day’s schedule, head over to the Commonwealth stage on Boston Common midway through the day for Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, our city’s answer to Providence’s What Cheer? Brigade.

In fact, we’d love to see a brass-off somewhere on the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border between these two misfit ensembles. Much like their brethren to the south, Emperor Norton’s circus band is a mind-melt of sounds, from avant-garde jazz to funk to Vaudeville to whatever the hell they feel like belting out. Just call them a musical gang of orchestral steam punk, with an excess of horns and energy.

Coming up next week…
Monday, July 15: Air Traffic Controller
Tuesday, July 16: Lonestar
Wednesday, July 17: Boys Like Girls + Augustana
Thursday, July 18: Gentlemen Hall + Abadabad + David Wax Museum + Bearstronaut + Nemes
Friday, July 19: Sarah Blacker + Art Decade + Will Dailey + Walter Sickert
Saturday, July 20: Buffalo Tom + The Lemonheads + The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Sunday, July 21: Get some rest.