Category: Live Music

John Carpenter | Live at Royale Boston

John Carpenter | Live at Royale Boston | Anthology Tour

November 15, 2017 | Review & Photos by Rob Watts

What can I say about Director, Writer, Producer, Composer, John Carpenter, that hasn’t already been said? The man is one of the greatest Filmmakers of our time and in his over forty years of filmmaking, he’s managed to entertain the masses with classic films such as They Live, Halloween, The Thing, The Fog, Escape from New York and Christine, just to name a few. In addition to filmmaking, Carpenter has a knack (and yearning) for scoring his own films; everyone knows the haunting theme song from Halloween—it’s embedded in our heads, but many of Carpenter’s hardcore fans appreciate just about every film soundtrack he’s produced. Most notably The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween 3, Escape from New York and Prince of Darkness. These particular soundtracks are synth heavy and lend very well to his imagery on screen. Which perhaps makes sense that Carpenter has decided to take his music bank on the road, performing with a live stellar lineup of musicians as clips of his accompanying films play behind them on stage. I can’t think of any other director who could pull this off with such panache while commanding near-capacity crowds every night on tour. 

Opening with Escape from New York, fans were treated to the classic theme as imagery from the film blasted its way on screen. This was followed by Assault on Precint 13 and The Fog—at which point, a fog machine threw fog about the stage as the performers played on. Of course the classics were pulled out, including Halloween and Big Trouble in Little China, but one of the highlights and crowd favorites was the theme to the classic cult film, They Live. Carpenter and his band mates donned black sunglasses during the song, referencing the key element to the film. The finale was the theme to the classic film, Christine, which had just recently received the re-issue treatment on special edition vinyl. The Thing has fans cheering and perhaps and out of place addition was the beautifully composed theme to Starman, which was originally performed by Jack Nitzsche for the film. 

It’s great to see a man nearly 70 years old in age, after all the accolades and rewards from filmmaking, taking the leap into live performance after all these years, bringing his classic movie themes that fans have loved over so many years, out on the road with a solid lineup of musicians—including himself. Hopefully he’ll continue this for the next few years; people deserve to enjoy as much of his work as possible—be it, film, comic books, soundtrack music or live performances. 


MEW | Live at The Sinclair (photos.)

The Danish rock band, MEW, performed live at The Sinclair last night (Aug 8th) in support of their latest album Visuals. They put on an amazing show and gave a stellar performance of every song on their setlist. Great musicianship, vocals, animated backdrop; it was arena rock energy scaled down inside the cozy confines of The Sinclair—one of the BEST music venues in the Boston / Cambridge area. Here are a handful of photos I captured during their set. Enjoy. (Photos by Rob Watts.)


Third Eye Blind w/ Silversun Pickups: Summer Gods Tour | Boston

Third Eye Blind w/ Silversun Pickups: Summer Gods Tour | Boston

Photos & Words by Rob Watts.  Follow @RobWattsOnline

Boston celebrated 2017s first day of summer at Blue Hills Bank Pavillion on the Boston waterfront in style—great weather, good vibes and nothing short of stellar music—kindly provided by Silversun Pickups and headliner, Third Eye Blind. During their Boston stop on their Gods of Summer tour, Silversun Pickups played and abbreviated, yet potent set list of their better known material. I’ve seen them five times now and they’ve always been in the headliner position. Although they only performed 2/3 of their usual set, they certainly did not disappoint. Opening with Nightlight from their most recent release, Better Nature, the band kicked it into high gear from the onset. Followed by such crowd pleasers, Well Thought Out Twinkles, Panic Switch, The Pit and Substitution, the band, especially the always energetic and fun to watch Brian Aubert, plowed through one song after another to the delight of their fans. The quartet ended their set with their best-known hit single, Lazy Eye—the one with that amazing extended guitar solo, and left their fans to a satisfied and thunderous applause. 

By the time Third Eye Blind took to the stage, every seat had been filled in the sold out venue. Very eager fans—many who weren’t even five years old when the band’s self-titled debut was released, were on their feet, cheering and jumping up and down in anticipation of their opening song. There was an energy flowing through the area that I don’t see very much at concerts these days—at least not from Millennials cheering on a band from the mid-nineties with a fifty-two year old lead singer. As the band took the stage, Lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Stephan Jenkins—wearing an illuminated sport coat, eased into the evening with Weightless, followed by Company of Strangers, Horror Show, Wounded, Queen of Daydreams, Something in You and Shipboard Cook. After some light banter regarding the fact that their debut album reached number one twenty years ago on that day, the band left the stage for no more than 5 minutes. Upon their return, the stage set changed, the lights got brighter and more colorful, and the band ripped into their self-titled debut album, performing the album live in its entirety. Ripping into Losing a Whole Year, the crowd went into a frenzy, singing along to every lyric, to every song, which included Semi-Charmed Life, Graduate, How’s it Going to Be and Jumper. God of Wine was omitted from the sequence and saved as the final song of the evening, following Alright Caroline and Never Let You Go. The Summer Gods surely conquered. 


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La TragĂ©die: Live in Cambridge, MA

La Tragédie: Live in Cambridge, MA

Out of the Blue Gallery / March 3, 2016

By Rob Watts

Not too long ago, I’d written a review on Moonlight Carnival, a four-track fantasy violin composition by my friend, Nika Cantabile. When I was told that she’d be touring the United States with her band La TragĂ©die, I made certain that I’d be around to catch their performance. I’d listened to the French-Canadian Folk Rock band’s latest album, Ă€ toi de voir, a few times since its release back in December and I’d found it highly enjoyable—strong hooks and melodies, solid production and a harmonious blend of each member’s instrumentation. Needless to say, I was excited to hear (and see) these songs performed in front of me. 

The trio (sans drummer) took the stage at roughly 9:45 in the evening in front of a respectable sized audience. For the next 30 minutes, the Montreal-based band performed to an enthusiastic room full of live music goers and won them over with their solid performing skills—and they didn’t seem to mind that all of the song lyrics are in French. David Atman (Vox / Guitar) is a very engaging frontman and Stella guitarist. Simon Labrecque plays a terrifically tight bass line throughout the set and Nika Cantabile performs the most captivating and often hypnotizing violin—especially within the context of a rock band. They most definitely made new fans that evening as they were approached by many at their merch table after the set. If you get the chance, do see them live next time around and give their latest album,  Ă€ toi de voir, a listen. 

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Swervedriver: Live at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA. 9-6-2015

Pictures by Rob Watts. Follow @RobWattsOnline


Photo by Rob Watts
After playing at The Sinclair in March of this year, the English Shoegazers return for another evening of live Alt-Rock in the Cozy Cambridge, MA venue. Swervedriver took to the stage at roughly 9:45PM after the stage worthy warm-up performances of Boston- based rock band RIBS and Toronto’s Dearly Beloved

Opening with Autodidact from their latest album I Wasn’t Born to Lose You, the Brit rockers owned the evening, churning out classic after classic, such as These Times, Rave Down and Never Lose That Feeling. The band laid heavily into tracks from their new album (Read My Review Here) and graced us with the likes of Last Rites, Setting Sun, For A Day Like Tomorrow and I Wonder. Other than performing in front of a psycadelic themed backdrop, the boys let the music do the talking, with very little theatrical trickery. 

The band returned to the stage at the end of a two-song encore, bringing out Last Train to Satansville and Dual. A great show all around and it was apparent to everyone in attendance that a band can take a lengthy hiatus and come back sounding brand new. 


Photo by Rob Watts
Photo by Rob Watts

Smashing Pumpkins: Review and Photos from Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston


Smashing Pumpkins: Live at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston. 7-28-2015

Review and Photos by Rob Watts.    Follow Me on Twitter @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. 



Billy Corgan and Jeff Schroeder

Bassist Jack Bates

Marilyn Manson: Review and Photos from Blue Hills Bank Pavilion! 


Marilyn Manson, Boston 7-28-15

Marilyn Manson: Live in Boston at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion July 28. 2015

Review and Photos by Rob Watts    Follow me on Twitter @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!  


The Altar