Monday, July 15, 2019

HOT GIG ALERT: BALRFest at Thunder Road in Somerville, MA (Saturday 6/29)

HOT GIG ALERT: BALRFest at Thunder Road in Somerville, MA (Saturday 6/29)

This Saturday night, four of Boston’s hardest working lady-centric acts will take the stage at Thunder Road in Somerville for a very special night of music. BALRFest or Bad Ass Ladies of Rock Fest promises to be a night full of badass ladies and their hardworking bands, putting the spotlight on just a few of the amazingly talented femme acts in our area.

For tickets to BALRFest click HERE

We spoke with some of the folks involved with the gig to get the lowdown on what to expect tomorrow night:


Austin Arroco of The Dirty Dottys

What is BALRFest, and how did it come together?

BALRFest is a summertime party and one-night nano festival celebrating the lady musicians in the Boston music scene. I wanted to bring together as many lady musicians, some as performers and some as attendees, and their supporters as possible under one roof so that folks could discover a new peer, colleague or idol that they’ve never heard or met before!

How were the bands chosen for BALRFest?

There are two reasons! The first is that they are just a few of my favorite lady musicians active in the music scene and are doing a lot of good for ladies in music in general. The second is that these folks are all wonderful and are a delight to spend time with!

What inspired you to line up a local festival based around women artists?

As a member of The Dirty Dottys, I’m constantly playing gigs with amazing lady musicians, and I wanted to do my part to help support them. Far too often, I hear stories that these lady musicians aren’t treated with respect in our scene, and I wanted to bring together the folks that DO support and respect lady musicians. I love organizing gigs, and I thought that one of the best things that I could do is to put together a gig and party! I hope to put together even bigger events in the future.

What can fans attending the show expect?

Of course, fans can expect amazing performances from the featured artists Analog Heart, The Dirty Dottys, blindspot, and The Skirts.

Outside of the music, will there be anything else going on?

We’re outfitting Thunder Road to be a huge party! Expect a photo booth and all the usual, wonderful food and drink served at Thunder Road. Also on hand, we’ll have New England Sounds’ own Kristen Higgins shooting the gig. Finally, the organization Calling All Crows will be on hand talking about their work to make the live music scene at a large safe for all!

The gig is on Saturday, June 29th at Thunder Road in Union Square, 379 Somerville Ave, Somerville. $10, 21+, 8pm doors, 8:30pm music.

8:30 – 9:15 The Skirts
9:30 – 10:15 blindspot
10:30 – 11:15 The Dirty Dottys
11:30 – 12:30 Analog Heart


Julie DiOrio of The Dirty Dottys

How would you describe your music?

Joyful, nostalgic, but also new, doesn’t take itself too seriously

Are you from the New England area originally? If not, what brought you here?

Born and raised just north of Boston in good ole Billerica! Home of the Deuce!

How long have you been together as a band?

The band began in late 2012 when I returned from a quarter-life crisis/awakening and remembered that music played with other humans tastes so good. The line up as we know it right, the moment has been around for just under a year.

Why is performing at BALRFest important to you?

BALRfest is all about being the change you want to see. It is being created in all of the most intentional a thoughtful ways possible with the goal of helping to make safe, inviting, and empowering spaces for a group of performers (and attendees) that does not have often have the privilege of full freedom within the music industry. We are given a seat in the car but rarely are asked to drive it, performing on stage, but not necessarily have a say in what goes on behind the scenes. When we do take the driver’s seat, we are often called “bossy,” “tough, “bitchy.” We are too often questioned and condescended to. To me, this movement is about redistributing power, creating joy, and community. I am so proud to be participating in it.

Who are some prominent female artists that inspire you?

Hayley Williams, Beyonce, Madonna, Sia


Liz Bills of Analog Heart

How would you describe your music? 

Analog Heart is an array of different genres melted into one. We never wanted to pigeon hole ourselves into one genre because that just isn’t us.  I’d say we are an eclectic mix of good old fashioned rock and roll, pop, alt-country at times, soul…. blues… it’s really hard to say.  We stay true to our analog roots and write what comes the most natural. 

Are you from the New England area originally? If not, what brought you here?

Yes, we are all from New England born and raised! 

How long have you been together as a band?

Ten years! 

Why is performing at BALRFest important to you? 

We have always resonated with female empowerment and lifting up our ladies. Of course, with a female frontwoman, this has always been part of the message. 

Who are some prominent female artists that inspire you?

Grace Potter, LP, Brandi Carlile, Sia, Florence and the machine, Janis Joplin … to name a few!


Alexa Economou of blindspot

How would you describe your music?

We have heard many different descriptions and interpretations of our music, but to us, it is the result of all our influences fused together into one fresh and unique sound. We strive to be modern and new through an indie alternative rock and pop basis. There is no one word that can tie down or wrap up our music in a nutshell. We are always experimenting and trying new things while maintaining a sonic familiarity that is true to who we are. Our music has a strong melodic focus with every instrument and emotional lyrics that we hope our listeners connect with.

Are you from the New England area originally? If not, what brought you here?

Yes! We were both born and raised in the Greater Boston area. While the band was first starting out in its early stages, Lex was attending Northeastern University which branded the band’s roots in Boston. Chris attended the University of Massachusetts Lowell simultaneously. We are proud to be a Boston band and are always eager to promote our city when we travel the country and perform on tour. No matter where we end up, Boston will always be our home, and we are honored to be associated with the Boston artistic scene.

How long have you been together as a band?

We have been consistently performing and writing music together as a band for the last four years.

Why is performing at BALRFest important to you?

Performing at BALRFest is so important to us because of what this event stands for. Regardless of the increased presence of females in today’s music and art scene, people are still too often shocked to see a woman perform in a band or possess creative talent that is often associated with a male. The fact that this event has been organized by a male adds even more strength to the cause because it proves how important it is to all genders that females are considered equal in our scene. We are honored to have been asked to perform and represent the female artistic scene in Boston along with our good friends in Analog Heart, The Dirty Dottys, and The Skirts. Together we will continue to work towards ladies having a stronger presence in art and music locally and beyond.

Who are some prominent female artists that inspire you?

There are so many to choose from! Hayley Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Pink, Lady Gaga, Janis Joplin, Gwen Stefani, Sheryl Crow, Christine McVie, Cyndi Lauper. The list goes on and on, and I’m sure I’ll think of more later too. All of these ladies have paved the way for female artists like me to pursue creative opportunities and have enormous hopes and dreams to one day inspire others the way they have inspired so many others. We are all in this together!


Susanna Smash from The Skirts

How would you describe your music?

Twee femme doo-wop garage pop with a spunky twist

Are you from the New England area originally? If not, what brought you here?

I’m from the NYC metro area originally– I came up to Boston right after college and pretty much nested. This is my home now.

How long have you been together as a band?

The Skirts have been a project of mine since 2015, with a sort of rotating cast of characters in the mix. Right now, we’re about a year and a half deep into this lineup.