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The Mass Media

Petey calls Boston ‘paradise’ after taking it over during ‘USA’ tour

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

The legend of Puff Sullivan continues. Social media personality Peter “Petey” Martin—whose sketches filled with ridiculously unpredictable plotlines helped him amass millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram—showed off his 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 showcased how well he meshes with these genres. The vibes among him, his bandmates and his fans were second to none, and it seems he found his signature sound and molded himself as a praiseworthy musician. 

While fans waited, some pop punk classics were playing, including “Nothing On My Back” by Sum 41 and “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard. With the PA speakers 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 captivated 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 made hand gestures full of excitement throughout many songs, including playing air guitar or drums when he wasn’t using an instrument of his own. This first occurred when he mimicked the drum beat during the intro of the opener. The crowd was going ballistic, and soon sang along, bringing the energy to a climax. 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 to play songs off his new album, 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. Then, 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 from “Lean into Life,” starting with the title track. It touches on the theme of anxiety, 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!” The fans got riled up and sang the lyrics alongside Petey, with the bridge of “Lean into Life” and the introduction to “We Go On Walks” as prominent examples.

The raw emotion of “Microwave Dinner” was profound in the set, as it is in the album version. Especially the outro, 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; he said that’s the whole point of why Boston is so great. 

Fans were bringing comic relief of their own with 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 performed his most recent songs, “Skip This One,” “Family of Six” and “Birds of a Feather.” Afterwards, he played his most popular songs, two of which were singles off of “USA.”

The crowd was already rough and rowdy at this point, and Petey opened the floor for even more chaos when the 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.

Petey 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!,” 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, and the crowd was screaming the moment the backing track began. It was an experience nobody there would forget. A line in the second verse gave everyone the opportunity to scream their hearts out, to which Petey pointed his mic at 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 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 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 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