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Boston Music Awards unveil free pregame show

Speedy Ortiz will perform at Sound of Our Town concert.
Speedy Ortiz will perform at Sound of Our Town concert.Daniel Topete

‘I’ve always thought Boston was one of those towns that didn’t really have a sound, and then that became its sonic identity,” says Jake Brennan. “You’ve got Morphine and you’ve got Dropkick Murphys. But they’re both equally Boston.”

He makes a good point. We’re a city that has found love in its heart for Aerosmith and Amanda Palmer, New Kids on the Block and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Brennan, who’s the producer of the Boston Music Awards, is also producing Saturday’s Sound of Our Town, a free concert featuring artists with New England roots. The Both, the pairing of former Bostonians Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, anchor an impressive roster that also includes Brookline-bred soul singer Eli “Paperboy” Reed; noise-rock outfit Speedy Ortiz; psychedelic folkies Quilt; rising rapper Dutch ReBelle; and the indie-rock bands Hooray for Earth, Parks, and the Grownup Noise.


“We’re trying to create, for lack of a better word, an awards season around the Boston Music Awards, which happen in December,” Brennan says. “Prior to that, we have a nomination party that we’ve held the past couple of years at Redstar Union, which is streamed live. The thought was to add a big kick-off concert to blow it out and make it bigger.”

It’ll take over the Lawn on D, an outdoor event space in South Boston with a capacity of “north of 2,500,” Brennan says, noting that alcohol will also be served. Vanyaland, the local music
blog spearheaded by Michael
Marotta, curated the lineup.

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo comprise the band The Both.
Aimee Mann and Ted Leo comprise the band The Both.Christian Lantry

“Michael deserves a lot of credit. I brought him on to curate because I knew he’d have great ideas and help fill gaps,” Brennan says. “It was a matter of looking at the landscape and figuring out who made some big moves last year. You could make a strong argument that Aimee Mann and Ted Leo aren’t Bostonians, but there is a connection. I think a lot of people especially identify Aimee that way, and I remember Ted when he moved to Cambridge years back after he was in [the band] Chisel.”


The concert will also unveil this year’s Boston Music Awards nominations, which will be announced onsite with voting open right then and there. The nominees will be displayed on an LED screen onstage, and attendees can vote using their phones. The awards ceremony takes place Dec. 14 at the Revere Hotel.

Brennan says voting at Sound of Our Town will be weighted more heavily than online voting: “We’re rewarding people for coming out and seeing awesome music.”

James Reed can be reached at james.reed@globe.com.