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The Mass Media

The legend of Puff Sullivan continues

Olivia Reid
Fans attending a concert at Roadrunner in Boston, MA. Photo by Olivia Reid/ Photography Editor.

Social media personality Peter “Petey” Martin—whose sketches filled with ridiculously unpredictable plotlines has helped him amass millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram—showed off his more sentimental side when he headlined Paradise Rock Club on Sunday, Nov. 12. The decorated influencer was promoting his recent album, “USA” with a tour of Uncle Sam’s Country that spanned over three weeks last month.


Petey’s music career stems from the early-mid 2010s, where he formerly released music under the name “90 Pounds of Pete”; his discography from that era can be found on YouTube when searched by his former moniker. 


As for the music itself, there are striking similarities between his previous albums and his most recent works. The songs “Arms” and “Waited Too Long,” which both came out 10 years ago, hold a very strong connection to his 2021 album, “Lean into Life.” His most recent work, “USA,” instrumentally focuses on an indie rock sound with hints of electropop and alternative rock, all the while bridging the gap with his discography through thematic structure.


Witnessing him play live certainly brought the narrative that he meshes well with these genres. The vibes among him, his bandmates and his fans were second to none, as it seems he found his signature sound, and he molded himself as a praiseworthy musician. 


With fans waiting with anticipation for him to come on stage, some pop punk classics were playing, including “Nothing On My Back” by Sum 41 and “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard. With the PA speakers later blaring “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” by Brand New, Petey and his band entered to a darkened stage and an abrupt explosion of cheers. 


The artist began his set with the first lyrical track of his newest album, “I’ll Wait,” and his presence already captivated the eyes of the crowd, who frantically began to jump into a frenzy. The backing track that began the song was met with a distinguishable drum fill known by fans, who grew antsy at the sound of Petey subsequently cheering “let’s go” into the microphone.


Throughout the set, Petey’s energy on stage encapsulated fans, as he was noticeably making hand gestures full of excitement throughout many songs, including playing air guitar or drums when he wasn’t using an instrument of his own. The first occurrence of this was when he was mimicking the drum beat during the intro of the opener. The crowd was going ballistic already, and soon thereafter, sang along, bringing the energy to a climax. Lyrically, the song resonates with those who struggle with mental health, more notably anxiety, expressing a need to take control of life and the struggles of overthinking and insomnia. 


Petey continued his trend of playing songs off his new album. He didn’t skip a beat between songs, playing “I Tried to Draw a Straight Line” and “Home Alone House” back-to-back after the opener. It wasn’t until the bridge of the latter number that he was able to greet the Boston crowd and talk about his excitement for performing in Paradise. It was during this period that he whipped out his ax for the first time. Playing rhythm guitar for the remainder of the show, he periodically switched between a gray Fender Telecaster and red Fujigen Odyssey with HSS pickups. 


With the middle of the set looming, Petey played four songs in a row from “Lean into Life,” the first of which was the title track. It touches on the theme of anxiety once again, as well as the ups and downs of life and seeking motivation when all hope is lost. “Lean into Life” was followed by “We Go On Walks,” “Microwave Dinner” and “Pitch a Fit!” There were numerous occasions in which fans got riled up to sing the lyrics alongside Petey; the bridge of “Lean into Life” and the introduction to “We Go On Walks” were prominent examples.


The raw emotion of “Microwave Dinner” was also profound in the set, as it is in the album version. The outro of the song captures this the most when he begins to raise his voice and express his emotions more bluntly, bringing up childhood trauma, complications with current affairs, and self-care. 


Prior to performing “Pitch a Fit!,” Petey addressed the audience with his love for the city of Boston. He began cracking jokes about how he doesn’t agree with his friends when they tell him Boston is boring because its only attractions are old buildings where you can watch sports; to which he said that’s the whole point of why Boston is so great. 


Fans were bringing some comic relief of their own with the help of heckling; one fan screamed that he liked Petey’s shirt between songs, while another one screamed “Where’s Puff Sullivan?,” a reference to one of the characters he portrays in his videos. After performing “Pitch a Fit!,” Petey went back to his most recent catalog of songs, playing “Skip This One,” “Family of Six” and “Birds of a Feather.” Afterwards, it was getting into the part of the night when he played his most popular songs, two of which were singles off of “USA.” 


Though the crowd was already rough and rowdy at this point, Petey opened the floor for even more chaos when he and his band performed their own rendition of the timeless classic, “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac. The instrumental of the track brought a lot of flair, as it shied away from Fleetwood Mac’s version with a more electropop tone that coincided with some distortion from the guitars. 


As for Petey’s vocals, he was able to hit notes similar to that of Stevie Nicks, and he brought his own style with raspiness in parts of the song, too. Immediately following the cover, Petey and Co. began performing “Did I Mention I’m Sorry” and “The Freedom to F— Off.” The first verse to the latter got the crowd going, as they chanted the lyrics before the melodic guitar riff introduced the chorus.


To deafening chants of “Petey!” inside a jam-packed rock club filled to the brim with die-hards, the artist and his bandmates came out to perform the encore—”Don’t Tell the Boys.” It is a beautiful song that talks about an undying friendship; the crowd was screaming the moment the backing track began. 


From there on out, it was an experience anybody there would never forget. A line in the second verse gave Petey and the audience the opportunity to scream their hearts out. The lyrics entail a moment in which the narrator spent time with their friend watching the first three seasons of “The O.C.,” to which Petey proceeded to point his mic to the crowd for them to finish the measure. 


Not a single person in the venue didn’t scream “Til Marissa F—-ing dies,” and it provided a nice idiosyncratic gesture made by the artist, and a worthwhile memory for all involved. The end of the song had an extended outro, as Petey played the closing riff for an extra four bars before walking off stage, his final words to the onlookers being “I love you Boston, thank you. Good night.” 


Petey’s performance was a spectacular showing for an underrated artist. Fans attending the show brought the club down. Even Petey’s merch salesman said that Paradise Rock Club was one of the best places for performing “Don’t Tell the Boys” because of how passionate and loud the fans got.  


Allston was buzzing the night of Nov. 12, and fans got a sneak peak of the social media sensation in his element. If all goes to plan, his music career will take off and reach much higher ground than his already successful career as a social media personality, and many more will bear witness to how truly talented this man is.

About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor