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Your friends — you love ’em (mostly), you hate ’em (sometimes), you can’t be in a band without them (mostly sometimes). They come to all of your shows, and this Saturday (September 16) at ONCE, it’s time to return the favor, as Dug McCormack’s Your Friends Fest returns to the multi-room Somerville venue for the third straight year.
And like previous fests, this year’s is another mish-mash bill of various styles and sounds, with live music in the Ballroom and a host of vendors, artists, and other creative minds setting up shop in the Lounge.
“It’s a hodgepodge place,” McCormack says of ONCE, “and that’s what this is. I like mixed-bag bills. It’s great that those are becoming a thing now — mix it up, get new fans, meet new people.”
That shouldn’t be an issue this weekend, as Your Friends Fest welcomes more than 20 local vendors — illustrators, painters, sculptors, jewelers, and more — and five bands spread out across ONCE’s various spaces. The Boston League of Women’s Wrestling will get physical in the Ballroom early on, there’s a photobooth from Kata Medeiros to document the whole jam, comedy from host Owen Linders throughout the night, and the whole event serves as a sort-of official-unofficial afterparty meet-up for LadiesCon going on in the afternoon down the street at the Armory.
McCormack says the goal of Your Friends Fest is “to make people forget what the world is like outside the doors,” but it’s also a spotlight of New England bands he’s eager to share a stage with. On tap for this year’s party are New Bedford progressive rock band Lazertüth; Boston’s preferred purveyors of titillating burrito-eating, butt-plug-poking alt-rock PowerSlut; enchanted postcolonial punk-pop group Awaaz Do; Lowell melodic rock crew Horse Mode; and McCormack’s own Baluchitherium, who are named after the largest land mammal to walk the Earth so you can figure out what they sound like just from that.
“I have a running list of bands I want to play with,” says McCormack, who also does time in guitar-rock trio Psychic Dog, about how he books Your Friends Fest. “It’s all people I respect and admire, and I love what they all do. Throughout the year I keep tabs on who I’m playing with, who I enjoy seeing, who I like to see. I have a list of bands I go through, and see who is available, who is interested. I try to throw a bone to everyone!”
That’s what friends are for. Preview all the performers below, and scope the flyer illustrated by McCormack after the jumps.
YOUR FRIENDS FEST 2017 :: Saturday, September 16 at ONCE Ballroom and Lounge, 156 Highland Ave. in Somerville, MA :: 6 p.m., all ages, $12 in advance and $15 at the door :: Facebook event page :: Advance tickets :: Featured photo of PowerSlut