Boston Calling’s lineups regularly feature big name artists and bands across all genres. This year’s performances expanded the initiative for diverse musical representation, including upcoming band Sorry Mom’s queer punk sound.
Sorry Mom took to the Tivoli Audio Orange Stage on May 28, performing popular hits and tracks from its debut album babyface. Since performing live at Boston College in 2022 in collaboration with BC’s student radio station WZBC, Sorry Mom released babyface and toured across the Northeast.
Babyface matches the unrestrained feel of Sorry Mom—it is full of cryptic, crass lyrics and raw vocals by lead singer Juno Moreno.
“The album name came before a lot of the songwriting for the album,” Moreno said in an interview with The Heights. “So a lot of the songs are written to theme—growing up, feeling like you’re less mature than everyone else around you.”
These themes were reflected in Sorry Mom’s Boston Calling performance. When the band entered the stage, it appeared starkly youthful in contrast to other Boston Calling performers that day. Despite this, Sorry Mom commanded the stage like veteran musicians and showcased its talents to a diverse crowd of friends, fans, and first-time listeners.
The band began its set with “awesome party, dude!” a song about resentful friends that grew apart. The song quickly got the crowd nodding along to the fast tempo.
“Molly Sells Molly By The Seashore,” a single from 2022, followed with a heavy guitar sound that slowly picked up as the song progressed. Drummer Taryn Gangi wore a big smile while guitarist Kari Estes paced around the stage during the song.
Moreno recruited her niece, who is also on the cover of babyface, to play the tambourine while she sang “You Scare Me (VIRGINIA WOOLF),” a song with a title that evoked laughter in the audience. The toddler appeared to try her best to support Moreno while the singer screamed the lyrics.
Moreno’s voice routinely cracked at the climaxes of the songs. The live performances of the discography allowed the audience to experience heavier and unprocessed versions of Sorry Mom’s music. With the rawer renditions came a rowdier atmosphere in the crowd.
A mosh pit appeared beneath Moreno, growing in size as the band continued its set. Some fans screamed along to the music, while others pushed their way to join the mosh. It was clear that Sorry Mom likely meant for its show to be casual and inviting. Moreno filled pauses in the music with tongue-in-cheek remarks to the audience and kind thank you’s for the audience’s support.
The band also prefaced tracks with context, including a cover of “Hit the Back” by King Princess, which Moreno said is a song about anal sex. Fans seemed to be charmed by Sorry Mom’s bluntness and taboo songwriting as they cheered and laughed when the songs were announced.
Sorry Mom’s songwriting is continuing to evolve, as it is exploring new topics and emphasizing the band’s unique identity. According to Gangi, babyface includes themes of queer identity—an important topic to the band.
“It’s not so niche anymore,” Gangi said. “I think it’s become a little more mainstream to have women in punk and queer punk bands … I see it continuing to become more mainstream because at the end of the day it’s just great f—king music.”
Moreno also spoke extensively about the band’s refusal to write about men.
“None of our songs, including the new ones, have ever been written about a man,” Moreno said. “Not to say that I couldn’t write songs about a man, but I won’t. I don’t want to. I don’t want any young girl to ever listen to our songs and wonder if it’s about a man. It’s not.”
The band often spoke candidly and without reservation about how it views itself and general society. These perspectives often came in the form of sarcastic and provocative jokes.
“We support women here,” Estes said. “Even if a woman couldn’t read I would support her. We’re actually a very serious band I promise.”
According to Moreno, Boston Calling was Sorry Mom’s first official festival performance. This show was also the culmination of the group’s tour for babyface. Friends and family of the band were in attendance to show their support, but Moreno said she was also surprised to see a number of fans that were there to support them.
“I found some Sorry Mom fans yesterday,” Moreno said. “I was looking behind the porta-potties for a lighter, and I found a group of Sorry Mom fans smoking weed behind the toilets, and they gave me a lighter.”
The enthusiastic and large turnout to the small stage set further demonstrated the essence of Sorry Mom’s fans. Before playing “2006,” Moreno said that the track is a deep cut and that few will recognize it, but the crowd cheered loudly upon hearing the track title. During the outro of “wire mother,” the crowd let out a loud scream alongside the singer.
Sorry Mom ended its set with “I F—ked Yr Mom,” the band’s most streamed song on Spotify. The song features a bass riff that complements the spoken word lyrics. During the second verse, Moreno customized the lyrics to depict a scenario of the singer meeting a mom at a Boston Calling ice cream stand. The mosh pit revved up in preparation for the chorus, and the anticipation resulted in a large expansion in the pit with many singing along.
Sorry Mom thanked the audience and left the stage shortly after, bringing its explosive show to a sudden end.
According to Gangi, the band maintains ambitious goals for the future as it continues to grow its name in the music industry and release more music.
“We were talking about how after this festival, our next stop is album of the year,” Gangi said. “I think we were talking about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
According to Moreno, progress in the music industry in recent years has made all-female bands into the norm.
“Three years ago, when we started, there were no women playing in bands playing on our campus,” Moreno said. “That’s why we started. Now it is rare these days that we play with a male band. … It’s become very different from the music scene I was warned about as a kid.”