PREVIEW: Boston En Masse Festival’s Mixed Genre Mission

By Harry Gustafson

Flyer by Jane Fitzsimmons

It’s 2017. Most of us realize that music isn’t something that can (or should) be wrapped up into a box with a nice little bow on top that lets us know what genre it is. It is increasingly common to see bands break the constraints of their genre labels, collaborate with others and create new sonic mashups. Think about all the classic cross-genre team-ups over the years – from Public Enemy and Anthrax to Feistodon, and beyond – and the fantastic results such collaborations have yielded. The Boston En Masse festival takes this to heart, pushing for a Boston music scene that serves more as a crossroads of talent than a glorification of one style of music. 

Coming this Saturday (4/29), Illegally Blind, a live music series with a focus on uniting local fans regardless of genre, will host the third iteration of the Boston En Masse festival The event is a showcase of local talent at Somerville’s ONCE Ballroom. In previous years, the festival stretched over multiple days, but this year, the organizers have consolidated it into one. The goal of the festival is to get local musicians and their supporters together under one roof to bond over their mutual love for the Boston scene, strengthening cross-genre relationships. This year’s lineup is a generous sampler of local sounds, including Birthing Hips, Oompa, Haasan Barclay, Strange Mangers, What Cheer? Brigade and more. 

Each of the acts have generated strong waves throughout the local scene in recent years. It also seems like a lot of these artists share Illegally Blind’s philosophy that genre isn’t that big a deal; many of them do their fair share of genre-hopping. For instance, People Like You blend indie rock and jazz, while Haasan Barclay’s washed-out R&B vibes contain hints of psychedelic synthpop. This is a great chance to go see some artists that you may have heard about through friends, but haven’t given a listen to yet. You’ll be able to meet other locals who are invested in the scene, but have entered from another end. 

With music starting at 7, the bands are split between two stages in the ballroom to minimize the time between sets. Boston En Masse is all ages, and tickets are available for $12 online or $15 at the door. ONCE Somerville also posted in the Facebook page for the event recently, stating that a limited amount of physical tickets are available at Somerville Grooves, the record store in Union Square. Stop by, pick up your tix, select a few groovy LPs and help support local music on a variety of levels!

Flyer by Jane Fitzsimmons

Boston En Masse is set to be a killer time. Check out the full lineup, plus set times:

11:40pm – What Cheer? Brigade
11:00pm – Gem Club
10:00pm – Roz and the Rice Cakes
9:00pm – People Like You
8:00pm – Birthing Hips
7:00pm – Strange Mangers

10:30pm – Oompa
9:30pm – Lina Tullgren
8:30pm – Beeef
7:30pm – Haasan Barclay