This weekend, the fourth annual Boston Fuzzstival takes over the Middle East Downstairs to bring Boston’s garage and psych music to life. It’s one of our city’s best celebrations of local music. Not only is a two-day event, but it brings together acts like Quilt, Creaturos, Kid Mountain, and more. August 19th sees a stacked lineup kick off the Middle East Downstairs for only $15. Then on August 20th, you get two stages of nonstop mind-melting starting at 2PM for $20.
That’s a steal. Truly. Just look at all the music present to chew on: Dent, The Monsieurs, Lyres, Midriffs, Nice Guys, New England Patriots, Scully, MAjor Stars, Black Beach, BOYTOY, Painted Zeros, Jaw Gems, Sunwatchers, Bat House, Las Rosas, Ravi Shavi, High Pop, WAY OUT, Weakened Friends, Milk, Beach Toys, Doug Tuttle, Mini Dresses Ghost Box Orchestra, Zip-Tie Handcufs, Mr. Airplane Man, Birthing Hips, and more.
That’s White Stripes-style hammering, heady TV tunes, Rock and Roll Rumble winners, and Bandcamp staples, all under the same roof, all melting your mind, all giving it their all.
But if you’re unfamiliar with the genres, then plenty of questions arise. It happens to the best of us. Don’t worry. With help from bands on the lineup, we’re here to help you enjoy the trippy, squiggly, feedback-filled event without a giant question mark appearing above your head. Get ready for two days of fuzz and all the festivities that come with it.
WHAT THE FRICK IS FUZZ?
“Fuzz is that feeling and sound in the air, both gritty and dreamy, that makes you feel like you are tuning into the alternate realms. It’s the place ghosts ride around in, the heavy thick cool spaces in between.” –Mr. Airplane Man
“Fuzz is whatever you want it to be! It can be genre, a guitar pedal, a sound, a peach, a band. But fuzz as a genre is basically heavy psych rock, that often utilizes fuzz guitar pedals.” –Zip-Tie Handcuffs
IS A TWO-DAY FEST REALLY WORTH IT?
“It’s one of the greatest showcases of local music that Boston has to offer. Even though it is rooted in a genre, the shows tend to be very diverse, and visually super rad with the epic light shows.” –Zip-Tie Handcuffs
“This festival is an excellent representation of what is going on in the Boston music scene, so anyone who has ever been curious about local bands but never leaves their house should definitely come out for this!” –Birthing Hips
“Fuzzstival has become so much more than just an exercise in the who’s who of the local psych/garage pantheon. For example, we don’t particularly locate ourselves in either of those categories! Nevertheless, we find a common ground with so many bands on this year’s bill because we’re all coming at music from a non-standard perspective, and we think it’s refreshing to have the kind of breadth that this year’s lineup offers.” –Mini Dresses
“There are lots of local festival-type shows/events all year round in Boston that highlight local & touring musicians artists and they are all totally solid. Since the Boston Fuzzstival takes place at the Middle East, you get exceptional live sound, tight schedules, solid organization, and no sound ordinance/cops; but, unfortunately, it’s in a club it isn’t all ages. Jason has made sure that it’s at least 18+, though.” –Ghost Box Orchestra
WHAT DREAMY BAND SHOULD YOU SEE?
“Major Stars.” –Doug Tuttle
“Lyres.” –Mr. Airplane Man
“We are most excited to see New England Patriots, DENT, and Mini Dresses! Incredibly talented individuals all around. Each of these bands contributes something different to the Boston scene.” –Birthing Hips
“There’s a lot of bands I’m not familiar with this year, which is awesome. I remember walking into the same festival a few years back and being blown away by Black Beach, who ripped so hard at 4 pm or so just out of nowhere! Highly recommend just coming out and seeing what happens.” –Ghost Box Orchestra
WHAT EQUIPMENT WOULD BANDS KILL FOR?
“A solar-powered school bus. It would allow us to bring our rock to all points in the world, without destroying said world.” –Zip-Tie Handcuffs
“I like strings/horns/woodwinds, but can’t play any of those instruments, so a Mellotron.” –Doug Tuttle
“Lira wants a sparkly b/w Danelectro bass because it is her spirit animal. Caufield has been in the market for a Otari Mx5050 reel-to-reel and is constantly eyeing analog outboard gear for recording. We’re perpetual fans of broken, discontinued, and otherwise questionable audio tech because music’s only good when it’s on the brink of non-functioning!” –Mini Dresses
“Whatever combination of guitar/amp/pedal/tape machine that gave the fuzz sound on the Stooges’ first record. “I Wanna Be Your Dog”—now that’s some fuzz!” –Mr. Airplane Man
WHO’S BEHIND THIS TRIPPY FEST?
“Jason Trefts! More than anyone else in Boston, Jason has helped us cultivate our band. He does more than book great shows in town; he takes an active interest in bands’ personal and aesthetic trajectories. He’s fair, explicit, and decent in how he manages Illegally Blind. Jason’s respect for musicians is mutual: In all of his efforts, he always puts the music first.” –Mini Dresses
“We love Jason because he is in it for all of the right reasons. The shows that he curates in Boston are always amazing mixes of local talent and touring bands. He always pairs the best bands together to create really thoughtful and exciting bills.” –Birthing Hips
“It’s in his heart. You feel that when you meet him. He’s got a real positive creative energy around him. Sincerely!” –Mr. Airplane Man
“For the most part, Boston is a great place for music and has been. There’s some amazing positive and oftentimes thankless people helping music get heard at every level in Boston. However, there’s also droves of negativity regarding the state of whatever people feel like complaining about. Over the last decade, I’ve been involved with everything from the free improv/new music scene to the rock venues/bars and everything in between, and it’s usually always the positive people who are still doing it and doing it well. Jason is one of those people. And he’s definitely one of most positive people out there, and it shows just how much more goes into making a community rather than just tailoring to a niche genre.” –Ghost Box Orchestra
HOW DO I BECOME JASON?
“Find what you want to do and work at it 18 hours a day.” –Doug Tuttle
BOSTON FUZZSTIVAL 2016. FRI 8.19 – SAT 8.20. MIDDLE EAST DOWNSTAIRS, 472 MASS. AVE., CAMBRIDGE. 2PM/ALL AGES/$15-30. MIDEASTOFFERS.COM.