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Monday, November 28, 2011

Live review: Puscifer

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Puscifer w/ Carina Round
Ovens Auditorium
Nov. 27, 2011

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Donning a cowboy hat, black button-down shirt and dark jeans, Puscifer frontman Maynard James Keenan hauled a small Airstream trailer on to the empty Ovens Auditorium stage. He slowly unpacked a couple of chairs and a folding table and began a short, poetic spoken word diatribe about sustainability in the current state of the world. As bandmate Carina Round exited the trailer to help set up more chairs and pour some wine (probably Keenan's own brand), Keenan began to talk about the value of creativity, ending with "Here at Puscifer, we believe in being creative with every breath you take."

Those talks set the tone for a night of music that was high on creativity —Â� from a 30-minute mockumentary interlude to short skits between songs — and the band's own musical paintings that drew from its two albums for an 18-song journey.

The night started with "Green Valley" and "Tiny Monsters" before kicking into high gear with "Vagina Mine." Various videos ran in the background while a hanging LED screen showed occasional mock advertisements such as one for the Arizona Border Patrol with the slogan, "We put the 'Panic' in Hispanic."

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Keenan and Round, who spent much of the show in the shadows at the back of the stage, swayed and grooved to the rhythms that teetered between alternative rock ("Horizons," "Man Overboard," etc.) and something more electronic ("Oceans," "Monsoons"). "Conditions of My Parole" gave Keenan a moment or two to showcase his vocal power while it was mostly the band who was providing the thunder on this night, at times (specifically on "Undertaker") sounding like the step-brother of Nine Inch Nails.

The slow and haunting "Rapture" was set against a video of solar flares, while "Rev 22:20" — the night's biggest singalong — featured a video of George W. Bush, Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh and others falling into a fiery pit.

A brief video of Keenan dressed in his redneck finest imposed the question, "What kind of music do aliens listen to?" His character replied, "Good aliens listen to Christina Aguilera and Brittney. Evil aliens listen to Tool." It wasn't the only tongue-in-cheek jab at one of Keenan's other bands, as he earlier referred to A Perfect Circle as "the Full Circles."

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In a sleek black dress, Round mimicked many of Keenan's movements and offered the perfect harmonizing tone on the majority of songs. She won over the crowd earlier in the night with a 30-minute set of her original music which earned multiple standing ovations.

Keenan wasn't much for words after his opening rant. He thanked the crowd twice at the end of the night. Before the final song, "Tumbleweed," Keenan told a cheering crowd, "You're still here? I'm trying to enjoy a glass of wine and you're disturbing me." He went on to introduce the band, discuss how Puscifer is 100 percent independent and telling the crowd they "behaved yourselves very well — we had to tell New York it was OK to stand up, but you figured that out quickly."

There might not have been many surprises in the set — they've been playing the same songs each night — but the videos, interaction and overall performance gave people plenty to witness and take in.

Setlist
The Green Valley
Tiny Monsters
Vagina Mine
Dozo
Toma
The Rapture (Fear is a Mind Killa Mix)
The Weaver
Rev 22:20
Polar Bear
Indigo Children
Oceans
Monsoons
Conditions of My Parole
Man Overboard
Telling Ghosts
The Undertaker
Tumbleweed

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