Note: this list is obviously subjective. I mention that because I still have to live in this town after I write it, and I don’t want to be chased down an alley because I didn’t mention Zip Tie Handcuffs or whoever.
**Ruby Rose Fox **
Easily the best live act in town, Ruby Rose Fox is a ten-piece rock/blues/gospel act led by the charismatic Fox, a glamorous, white-suited superstar who channels Amy Winehouse and Leonard Cohen in equal measure.
The artists formerly known as The Fagettes recently changed their name due to “near constant low-level controversy”, but they remain one of the most dynamic bands in town, a joyous clamour of high-flying psychedelic pop that looks and sounds like the aftermath of week-long house party thrown by the Dandy Warhols and Hanoi Rocks.
Mean Creek take the noisy garage squall and self-deprecating sense of humour this town is known for (their last record was called Local Losers) and temper it with gritty Americana. The result is catchy and crunchy and raw in the best way possible.
This is kind of a cheat, since they’re actually from Portland, Maine, but some of the dudes used to live here and they play in Boston almost every weekend. Heavy and beautiful, this is stoner rock taken to gorgeous new heights of cosmic wonder.
Boston boasts a tremendous psychedelic rock scene, from the drone-y Vietnam dirges of Magic Shoppe to the clattering psyche-grunge of Creaturos. But Ghost Box Orchestra deserves special mention for their towering, throbbing, levitating space-is-the-place sonic headspinners. Tune in, turn on, melt into a puddle.
One of the best roots-rock bands in town, listening to Girls Guns and Glory is like stepping back into a 50s era honky tonk, minus the racism and red-scares. Their Hank Williams tribute shows are legendary.
One of the most popular metal bands in town, Doomriders mix vintage hardcore punk with doom/stoner rock, pepper it with Iron Maiden riffs and bang the heads that do not bang. Their live shows are completely relentless.
If the Dropkick Murphys were too drunk for punk, they’d be Tigerman WHOA. Backporch shit-kicker country-blues-rock n’ roll mashed up good and served in dirty mason jars.
Boston’s not known for shoegaze or Britpop (why should we be?), but Dirty Bangs do both so well you’d think they invented the stuff. Every song’s an anthem, but current local hit I’m in Love With the Summertime is destined to be an enduring classic.
They sound like the MC5 and dress like the world’s drunkest wedding band. What more could you possibly want out of a Saturday night?