Watts are a really good band. You know that, right? The big guitars are just the right size, drawing from Nielsen, Petty and The Brothers Young. The songs are equally at home over the radio or PA. Oh, and these guys know how to put on a show. It had been far too long since I had last seen Watts. Thankfully, Richard Bouchard came through with a stellar bill. Watts kicked off the night at The Middle East Downstairs.
No benefit for Barbara Walsh would have been complete without Watts ripping it up for the Radio crowd. They are one of her favorite bands and for good reason. These guys know how to put on a good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll show. Watts delivered at Bands For Babs.
Watts have a sound. It starts with Cheap Trick and The Rolling Stones. Then it adds liberal doses of The Psychedelic Furs and both varieties of The Heartbreakers. It’s a good sound.
Watts use that sound to power their way through One Below The All Time Low. The record opens with the fantastic swagger of “20 To 12.” It’s the Stones on steroids and it’s a scorcher. There are other great songs, too. “One Below (The All Time Low)”, “Wishing” and “Petty Revolution” all feature great lead guitar lines to go with their catchy melodies. In fact, there’s not a bad song in the bunch.
One Below The All Time Low is fun and well executed. The guitars interact with precision, trading riffs from speaker to speaker. The backing vocals are spot. John Lynch is a human metronome. This is good solid rock ‘n’ roll.
Where to get it:
Watts was the seventh band to play at Radio. When they performed their song “Radio”, they became the fourth band to perform a song with the club’s name in the title.
I posted this little tidbit on Facebook.* The next day I saw a comment from Wattsman Dan Kopko asking “Yes, but how many of those bands have a song entitled ‘Radio’?” I informed him that the answer to his inquiry was three.** Everybody chuckled.
This has to be some kind of good omen for the club.***
* Hey! Did you know that Daykamp Music has a Facebook page? Go like it. I’ll wait here.
*** And/or clever booking by Ashley Willard.
Watts are back. Guess what? They still sound like Watts. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Watts have their sound and they’re sticking to it. On The Dial is well rounded power pop with its roots in good old fashioned rock n’ roll.
The album opens with the one-two punch of “On The Dial” and “Chaperone”. Dan Kopko’s gruff voice tears through the mix with conviction. “Afterburn” and “Time To Give The Devil His Due”, the latter sung by drummer John Lynch, get a healthy charge of AC/DC. “Girls On Holiday” has a Phil Spector vibe (maybe it’s the guitar line nicked from “Then He Kissed Me”). Do I hear a guiro in “Dancehall Days & Nights”? I’m a sucker for a good guiro part. Guitarist John Blout takes a vocal turn on the hooky “She Wants To Rock”. Craig LaPointe’s lead vocals on “Don’t Mind” help to add a bit of variety late in the proceedings. The scathing “Fight Song” is the most aggressive Watts tune to date.
On The Dial is another solid effort from Watts. I expected nothing less.
Where to get it:
Here they are wishing Aimee McGrath a much deserved happy birthday. Oh, they also happen to deliver a smokin’ version of their song “Afterburn”.
In this video, Watts plays rock and roll music to the patrons of Precinct in Somerville, MA.
Looking for a band that dials in a solid set of rock n’ roll time and time again? Watts is your band. Their song “She Wants To Rock” is being included on the CD sampler that comes with the May issue of Classic Rock Magazine. Or just pick up a copy of their new record, On The Dial.
Here are some photos from the band’s March 4th show at Precinct.