Somerset band performing at the Thunder Road Music Club (Catarina Protano / Journal Staff)
Somerset band performing at the Thunder Road Music Club

Catarina Protano / Journal Staff

Somerset band moves from Suffolk to Somerville

October 9, 2019

Catarina Protano / Journal Staff

Two years ago, The Journal wrote a story on the rebranding of Suffolk University’s contemporary music group, formerly known as “Rhythm,” into something a bit more personal: The Common. Now, the group has graduated from performances at “First Fridays” on the third floor of Sawyer to packed venues in the heart of Somerville.

Having recently renamed themselves to “Somerset,” a callback to their roots, the band released their first self-titled album on Sept. 24. To celebrate the release of their album, Somerset played their new songs live at Somerville’s Thunder Road Music Club.  A crowd of fans, family and friends filled the club to bang their heads and feel the raw beat of band that clearly love each other and their craft.

Somerset has come a long way from playing popular covers and graduated into the world of rock and roll. There was no scarcity of fire in every guitar lick and fierce drum solo from the beginning to the end of the set.

Electricity filled the air as Groundlift, a Berklee-based rock band, took the stage to open and persisted until Somerset took their very last bow. Jake Damphhousse, 23, slammed fiery beats on the drums along with David Apostilodes, 23, on the keys in the back of the stage. Connor Milligan, 23, plucked heart into the bass. Sean Silva, 23, and Bobby Borenstein, 22, took turns at center stage with animated guitar solos while Nick Aikens, 25, commanded the room with slick vocals.

Damphousse, Apostilodes, Milligan and Silva are all Suffolk alumni and vets from the days of The Common.  Borenstein, a Berklee student, later joined the band after a chance run-in and impromptu jam session. Aikens also attended Suffolk, but joined the band after The Common left the university.

While the majority of members have left their days in college behind them, they still face the challenge of balancing life as young professionals while writing, producing and performing.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” the members explained in an interview with The Suffolk Journal.  “We’re tired a lot, but you look forward to it…all the stress of work melts away as soon as we start playing the music.”

Somerset spent about 60 hours in the recording studio for their debut album and are continuing to spend even more creating promotional material, managing their social media influence, playing shows and composing new music.

Somerset’s up and coming renown in the local Boston music scene hasn’t stopped growing since the members left Suffolk and rebranded.

“We knew we wanted to keep going after Suffolk. We ended on a pretty high note as The Common,” Silva said in an interview with The Journal. “Senior year we got to open for Post Malone…that was the perfect high we wanted to strive for going forward.”

Work on the new album began last summer, then the bandmates spent the winter revising their work and started studio recording sessions in March. Their biggest challenge during that time was getting all six members together at once, but otherwise it was a relatively smooth process overall.

As for future plans, Somerset wants to get on the road.

“We want to take it as far as we possibly can,” Milligan said.

Through all three name changes, Somerset has been steadily growing their fanbase through word of mouth and active media presence. What was once a household name for students on campus has spread throughout the city of Boston and hopefully onto others. Suffolk students will always be fond of the sprawling rhythms of songs like “Revere Street” that bring them back to the place where it all started for a band who shares a name with a street they cross through every day.    

“We do what we love to together and that’s what makes it all worth it.” Damphousse said.

Fans can stream Somerset’s new album on all major music streaming platforms and find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on their website

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    SteveOct 10, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Mad that I missed the show but I heard the album. EVERY ROCK FAN should here it. This band is for real and they are only getting started. Bravo Somerset!