Marilyn Manson: Live in Boston


Marilyn Manson at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Marilyn Manson: Live at Blue Hills Bank Pavillion. Boston 7-28-2015

Review and Photos by Rob Watts.   Follow Rob @RobWattsOnline

 Just over twenty years into his illustrious and controversial career, legions of dedicated and adoring fans stood loud and proud as Manson and his band took to the darkened and ominous stage. It was a thunderous entry as the band and frontman ripped into Deep Six from his recent studio effort The Pale Impaler. The clarity in the musicianship was apparent immediately as his band’s performance, especially Twiggy’s bass playing, was crystal clear and extremely tight. Manson, unlike many shows in the past, was in top form and highly active on stage as he moved on to Disposable Teens and mOBSENE. Highly animated, Manson engaged along with the crowd, especially the young females in close proximity. Obliged to perform the crowd pleasing covers Sweet Dreams (are made of this) and Personal Jesus, the band continued on with stellar originals such as No Reflection, Rock is Dead and The Dope Show. Theatrically, it was an amazingly visual set, although it was the same bag of tricks; the altar and burning bible, the crucifix, the stilts and so on. The set ended with the well-loved The Beautiful People, and Coma White was performed beautifully as an encore. So what you will, Manson still has it and brought it with him to Boston!  


Photo by Rob Watts






Smashing Pumpkins: Live in Boston 7-28-2015

Smashing Pumpkins at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Smashing Pumpkins at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion July 28, 2015

Review by Rob Watts.  Follow Rob @RobWattsOnline

First there was the acoustic pre-show, where Pumpkins founder and frontman Billy Corgan laid down three beautiful renditions of Purr Snickerty, Perfect and Dorian (the latter two accompanied by guitarist Jeff Schroeder.) Followed by a Q and A between Corgan and the 17 of us in front of him. Corgan was in relaxed form and very gracious to the various fans and media professionals seated in front of him. No question was off limits as he gave explanations in his sometimes long-winded yet informative manner. As he’d made mention of his 25 years of coming through Boston, I’d asked him what his fondest memory of playing in Boston over the years. He told me it was an early performance at the tiny Cambridge, MA club called T.T The Bears Place, where the temperature was so intense, he poured a bucket of water over his head on stage. 
Later in the evening, as the Pumpkins took to the stage for their full-length show, they leveled the crowd with Cherub Rock, followed by Bullet with Butterfly Wings and Tonight, Tonight. Little on stage banter was shared with the audience, but rather a full-blown rock show filled to the brim with Smashing Pumpkin classics, something that dedicated fans haven’t heard played on stage in quite some time. Aside from Drum and Fife, One and All and Run2Me from their well-received Monuments to an Elegy album, the rest of the set played like a greatest hits album. From Ava Adore to Zero to Disarm, the band aimed to please with this rare live glimpse of the band’s yesteryear. As predicted, once 1979 was performed, many fans walked off and called it a night. As Corgan announced that since the fair weather fans and posers had left, they would continue on stage with some hard rockers, as was evident with the thunderous United States from the album Zeitgeist and Stand Inside Your Love from Machina
Adding to the excitement of the rock-solid performance was the inclusion of original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin who fit right back in behind the skins as if he’d never left. Complimenting his backbone beat was the inclusion of bassist Jack Bates, son of legendary New Order and Joy Division bassist Peter Hook. He fit in very well and added an element of style and coolness on stage. The band ended the show with an encore of Today, which ended the party nicely.


Corgan during his Q and A Session


Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder performing “Perfect.”


Billy Corgan During “One and All.”



Jeremy and Joshua Papelbon Interview


Originally published by Ocean View Press in 2006 and was conducted by contributor Paul Stanish

Jeremy and Joshua Papelbon are the younger twin brothers of RedSox all star pitcher Jonathan Papelbon. They both attended and played baseball at the University of North Florida. Joshua was drafted in the June 2006 draft by the Boston RedSox and Jeremy in the same draft by the Chicago Cubs. Joshua played his 1st season of professional baseball for the Lowell Spinners and Jeremy for the Boise Hawks.

Joshua was the 2006 Lowell closer and finished with 13 saves and a 1.86 ERA. He is a right handed pitcher who throws a submarine style pitch.

Jeremy is a left handed relief pitcher who ended with a 4-0 record and a 1.83 ERA.

Jeremy and Joshua speak about what it takes to get to their level, what it’s like to be a member of the Red Sox and Cubs organizations, what it was like to grow up with Jonathan among many topics.

Paul: How did you get to playing baseball?

Jeremy: When we were younger we all played sports. As we got older we filtered the other sports out. We stuck with baseball as we grew up because that was the one sport the three of us (Jonathan, Jeremy and Joshua) were pretty much the best at.

Paul: Did weather have anything to do with that? You’re both from the south.

Jeremy: We grew up in Florida. Weather didn’t really have anything to do with that. Down south you can play whatever sport for however long.

Paul: What other sports did you have interests in?

Joshua: We played every sport: Soccer, Football, Basketball, street Hockey. Once we got to high school it was pretty much baseball and football. That was it.

Paul: Obvisiously, Jonathan is older. Did you tag along with him that much?

Joshua: We all hung out with him a lot. He’s only two and a half years older than us. Because there wasn’t too much of an age difference we hung together a lot. It seemed like we were always together doing something.

Paul: Did either of you have any mentors since high school that guided you toward baseball?

Joshua: My head coach at University of North Florida. He’s the one that showed me the submarine pitch. He showed me the way in the beginning. I can’t say enough about him. He really gave me a chance when my career was almost over.

Jeremy: For me, going through high school and then college each coach helped me to show me the way. I would say all the coaches I came into contact with helped me out, Big Time!!!

Paul: What was your welcome to professional baseball moment this year?

Jeremy: Going to Boise was kind of a culture shock. I expected a lot of farm land out there. The city didn’t have that much farm land. Playing in front of a lot of people for the first time was definitely interesting.

Joshua: I remember the 1st day that I was here at Lowell, when we had media day. The media swarmed me. I was like, Ok, I guess this is what you have to do if you want to be a professional athlete. It was kind of overwhelming. I felt like a little rock star. I was surprised because I haven’t even done anything yet. It was all thanks to Jonathan. I had to say to myself, ok, I’m a professional athlete now. Now I have to start acting like it.

Paul: During the season how often did you communicate with each other and how often did you communicate with Jonathan?

Joshua: I would say on a pretty regular basis.

Jeremy: With cell phones it was very easy to get in touch with each other. Even when I was for Boise we were playing in Everett, Washington and Jonathan was in Seattle. So it worked out for us to hook up for lunch that day. I spoke to Jonathan and Joshua regularly, especially with the technology nowadays. It made it a lot easier to stay in touch.

Paul: Did you talk about your performances, or talk about your teammates, or clubhouse gossip?

Joshua: It was easier for us to find out what Jonathan did because of the larger media outlet. For the two of us we would just tell each other what we did. Jonathan would find out how we did.

Jeremy: He would check it on the internet.

Joshua: I would say, Jonathan was watching me because I wanted to do better than he did when he pitched at Lowell. It was good because I got to share experiences with him that he already experienced. It was cool.

Paul: As his competitive brothers were you surprised by Jonathan’s major league success?

Joshua: I guess I am a little bit. With his work ethic and how competitive he is. I had no doubt that he would succeed, I didn’t know it would be this quick.

Jeremy: Just the way he works and the talent he has, we kind of knew he’d make it, but not as quickly.

Paul: What advice do you have for kids that want to be involved with baseball?

Jeremy: Don’t give up.

Joshua: Practice, Practice, Practice!!!

Jeremy: Stay Healthy, Don’t give up. Anybody can make it as long as they have the will, the want and the heart to want to make it.

Joshua: I didn’t have great opportunities in college. That’s when I decided that I was going to make something of myself and become something. I ended up earning a scholarship. If I didn’t have that hard work and dedication, I don’t think I would’ve made it.

Paul: How was your experience in the Cubs and Red Sox organizations?

Jeremy: (Speaking about the Cubs) The Cubs have provided a great experience so far. Boise was a good time. We had a lot of great coaching. I learned a lot from their pitching coordinator who is their bullpen coach in the big leagues now. I got sent to the instructional league a month after the season ended in Mesa Arizona. That was a great time to because I got to meet a lot more of the coaches, see and use the Cub’s facilities. To that point I had only gotten a 2 day tour of the facilities after I was drafted. It was good to get my feet wet before spring training.

Joshua: (Speaking about the Red Sox) I can’t say enough. The fans here are awesome. The Red Sox organization is top class. It’s been nothing but great since I’ve been in the organization.

Paul: What other hobbies do you have outside of baseball?

Jeremy: I love playing golf.

Joshua: We all play golf. I feel like me and Jonathan are the ones who have more hobbies. Jeremy is more relaxed.

Jeremy: I’d stay home and watch a movie or play video games.

Joshua: I just love getting outside and doing anything.

Paul: What are your baseball plans for the off season?

Joshua: Working out and staying in the gym, picking up a ball pretty soon. Sticking with that and making sure we are ready to go.

Jeremy: We’re working out together and staying at it.

Paul: Did your organizations give you a workout regiment to work through?

Joshua: Definitely. They give you a workout plan and tell you what to do in the gym when you’re not on the field.

American Hi-Fi Live at The Middle East

American Hi-Fi Live at The Middle East
Boston, MA  
I assume American Hi-Fi have fallen off their fan’s radar over the last few years and judging upon the fact that they are booked to play the almost-200-person capacity Middle East upstairs, these suspicions are near valid. However, upon walking into a completely packed house, amazement washes over me. At 10:30PM Stacy Jones and company walk on stage, plug in and completely annihilate the die hards with enough volume and energy to rattle the vodka bottles off the bar shelf. After opening with “Surround” from their self-titled debut, Stacy graciously thanks the crowd, says they are happy to be back home in Boston and confidently states that American Hi-Fi is back! With that, the quartet plunges into power pop favorites such as “Teenage Alien Nation, Hi-Fi Killer and Another Perfect Day.” The main purpose for this randomly scheduled evening is for the band to introduce a handful of new songs from their forthcoming album, including “Keep it like a Secret, Fight the Frequency, Lost and Acetate.” Surprisingly, there are not many people wandering off to the restrooms during this block of newbies as it is all rather impressive material. Of course, the band save the best gems for last. Those being “Flavor of the Weak” and “The Art of Losing” from the album of the same name. Oddly enough, most songs off of ***Hearts on Parade*** are untouched with the exception of “Geeks get the Girls”, which is requested by the back-up dancers from the Miley Cyrus tour (Stacy Jones toured as the drummer on the Miley Cyrus tour) who happen to be in town and in attendance tonight. The set is tight and very focused and with the exception of some engaging banter with the crowd, the music is the priority and it’s clear that the band is running on all four cylinders once again. Concluding with “Wall of Sound” the song finishes with an incredible three minute jam session in which bassist Drew Parsons, guitarist Jamie Arentzen, guitarist Stacy Jones and the now back-in-the-fold drummer Brian Nolan, give 110 percent of their energy in giving the fans their money’s worth. Before completely coming to a close, the band comes back to wrap up the evening with the classic Cheap Trick cover “Surrender.” It’s nice to see the former drummer for Letters to Cleo singing, playing guitar and keeping his vision of good time rock ‘n’ roll alive and well for over a decade now. (Rob Watts)


The Mars Patrol- Live in Boston


The Mars Patrol Live at The Paradise Lounge
Boston, Massachusetts
October 27, 2007

What can I say about the Mars Patrol that hasn’t been said by their legions of fans world-wide? Just visit the forty-or-so fan created fan sites from Rhode Island to Tokyo and they will all tell you the same thing. This is definitely one of the coolest bands around today. Is it their stage presence? Their music? Their charisma? Well, one might not be certain. At least until you have seen this band live and then all those questions and doubts fade away into the stage lights.

As the Mars Patrol took the stage shortly after ten-o’clock , all eyes were on them as they ripped into ARE YOU WITH ME with such power and ferocity that you’d think you were watching them in front of 35,000 fans at Madison Square Garden. They were eager to please the small but packed room with gems like WHAT IF and HIT THE LIGHTS. One of the true highlights was the performance of I STILL WANT YOU as Davina Divine’s ready-made pop ballad vocals filled the room with chills as every seat absorbed her charm. Framing her vocals perfectly are guitarist Ross Nelson and bassist Stephen Parker while drummer Matt Evans holds court perfectly with his intense pounding and impeccable timing.

While the quartet filled a 30-minute set with plenty of crowd pleaser’s, nothing could top the audience participation of TAKE A LOOK AT THE WORLD, for which the onlookers sang along with the band on their NA NA NA NA Chorus. While the set was short but sweet, you could tell that they left a lasting impression on much of the room…even those sitting down the whole time.

While Talking with the band on their tour bus later that night, I asked them why a band from Scotland with no major label backing and limited resources would put together a United States tour and drive city to city where they may not be as popular as they might be back in the UK. They said, “Simple, we want to be the band that actually does what it says it will do…rather than just talk about doing it.” As we talked more and drank water and ate Halloween decorated cupcakes (I hope I’m not giving the secret of their success away) it was apparent that this is a band that will be around for a long time. The four of them live, eat, sleep and breath as The Mars Patrol. Their work ethic is one to be admired by other bands in their path and their music is a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

Rob Watts
November, 2007


Melissa Auf der Maur (Live review in Boston)

*Originally published in June 2004
There’s an old saying that “some days are better than others”. It’s true, some days are indeed better than others, and that certainly rang true on the Saturday evening of June 12th. After a long tiring week, my Saturday afternoon began with meeting my friend in the Back Bay section of Boston for a late lunch and some people watching. About 6:30, we paid the check at Solas Irish Pub and headed over to Newbury Street. As we walked into Newbury Comics, we noticed the crowd of fans collecting at the rear of the store in front of the mini stage set. At exactly 7:00pm, the guy manning the soundboard announced her arrival in front of her microphone. I’m talking about the one and only Melissa Auf der Maur.
     In case your not familiar with her work, she played bass alongside Courtney Love in “Hole”, and took over the bass duties in “Smashing Pumpkins” in support of their Machina album and their farewell tour. She now heads up her own outfit, Auf der Maur, releasing her self titled debut on June 1st. She brought her band on a mini in store tour in the New England area and was nice enough to treat her fans to some accoustic versions of her more heavily sounding songs off her album.
Out of the five songs the band played, four were off of the new album with one being a cover of a “Failure” song. The songs were performed incredibly clear as if you were listening to the CD. She and the band performed “Followed The Waves”. “Head Unbound”, “Taste You” and “Beast Of Honor”.
    Melissa Talked to the crowd in the intimate setting between songs. She mentioned that she spent summers on Cape Cod due to the fact that her mom was from Boston, and that every Christmas eve she would stop off at Newbury Comics because that was where she could find all of the British imports. She also commented that New England is lucky to have Newbury Comics because there is nothing else like it in the country. She was very comfortable in the setting and it was obvious that she wanted to be there rather than being forced to show up because of the record company. It was very refreshing.
     At the end of her performance, she met with everyone who was there to see her, signing autographs and taking photos. She was a real joy to talk to and truly a class act. I look forward to seeing her full scale show over the summer when she tours in support of The Cure. It certainly was a day better than others. (Rob Watts)

Sonic Disorder- Self-Titled CD


*Originally published in January 2009

Whoever said grunge is dead will have to answer to the guys inSonic Disorder. Hailing from Boston’s South Shore, the band has produced a gritty and snarling no-holds rock album with heavy guitar solos and hell-bound vocals. Melodic at times, tracks such as “Don’t Know Why” could rival the band Staind while “Throw Myself” could easily be mistaken for early Stone Temple Pilots. That’s not to say that Sonic Disorder is a hodge-podge of the once great grunge mutiny of the nineties. Far from it. A truly great rock album knows how to use talented musicians to its advantage and Sonic Disorder does so brilliantly. Wisely leaving it at ten-tracks, the album allows itself to inject anger, despair and seamy harmonies in an efficient manner while leaving a lasting impression upon a complete listen. If this album is an indication of the band’s creative potential, then I surely look forward to a promising future for this Weymouth, Massachusetts band. Check them out and help keep solid rock music alive and well. (Rob Watts)