December 7, 2011 | 10:00am
December 6, 2011
Click here to see a slideshow of the performance.
The maniacal brainchild of the mercurial lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle, Puscifer continues to evolve and impress. Maynard James Keenan has refined his mashed up mix of partial cabaret and live music concert into a purely entertaining experience. On their last tour, Puscifer played a handful of West Coast dates, but finally made a full trek around the states supporting their highly overlooked new release Conditions of My Parole.
The entertainment bombardment began immediately upon the completion of Carina Round's opening set as a video screen showed a twenty minute sketch of Keenan taking on the persona of Billy Dee dressed in a wig and styling porn mustache. It was sketch comedy gold with double entendres and tongue in cheek references. In order to preserve the sanctity of the show, another sketch had Keenan dressed up as Major Douche to warn patrons that no audio, video or photos should be taken during the show.
As the lights finally dimmed, the barren stage was soon cluttered as Keenan wheeled out a trailer and began to set up a mock campfire. Lightly strummed guitars began to take the shape of "Green Valley," with bassist Matt McJunkins slamming into the mix with a highly distraught bass riff. Keenan's wafted through the Orpheum -- Puscifer couldn't have picked a more suitable venue.
Matching the tempo of the evening, "Tiny Monsters" seduced us with its percolating synthesizers and the synergistic blend of Keenan and Carina Round's vocals. Stretching out and flexing their musical muscles, Puscifer let loose "Toma," which stomped on our faces with its militant beat and Keenan's drill sergeant barking.
Puscifer shows tend to feature a rotating cast of ensemble players, and this particular version was extremely tight and played exceptionally well. "The Weaver" was almost hallucinogenic-inducing with a swirl of reverbed guitars butted angrily against a buzzsaw of synthesizers. "Rev 22:20" was a spotlight for Round, as her vocals gave the song a unique poignancy. The tempo shifted to subdued as "Polar Bear's" images of snow flakes melted perfectly with icy composition of the song. The spine-tingling moment of the evening was during "Oceans," which culled the darkest elements of Black Celebration-
era Depeche Mode.
A metallic spin on country came in the form of "Conditions of My Parole," with guitarist Jonny Polonsky adding some sheets of noise to the cacophony. Another kick to the chest was the crushing middle section of "Telling Ghosts." One final blow to the audience was the industrial tinged romp of "The Undertaker," which brought their set to a close.
Boasting he was too old to go offstage for the encore, Keenan fittingly closed the evening with "Tumbleweed" as the band members slowly drifted from the stage. Most Tool fans anxiously await a new album. In the meantime, they should sink their teeth into Puscifer.
Personal Bias:I flew to Las Vegas to see the first Puscifer shows back in 2009.
Random Notebook Dump:Cameramen dressed as ninjas prowled the stage as they filmed the performance.
The Crowd:Lots of Tool and A Perfect Circle devotees as expected.
"The Rapture (Fear Is A Mind Killa Mix)"
"Condition Of My Parole"