Puscifer Duke It Out In Austin (SHOW REVIEW/SETLIST)

What happens when you combine luchadores, theatrics, and Maynard James Keenan’s brand of electro-rock? You get a Puscifer show, the longtime side project that Maynard describes as his “creative subconscious”. Currently touring on their recently released LP Money Shot, Austin’s Bass Concert Hall was the second stop on the tour. Though both of Keenan’s other bands, Tool and A Perfect Circle, draw a much more devoted fan base, Puscifer gives the audience much more of an experience.

After the lights went down, video screens on each side of the stage played a short skit of someone (presumably Maynard dressed as an old curmudgeon) giving advice on what it meant to be human while taking down shot after shot of whiskey. As the skit ended and new song “Simultaneous” started, the curtain rose to reveal a small wrestling rink behind drummer Jeff Friedl, who remained at the forefront of the stage the entire production. Dressed up in matching blue suits like wrestling commentators Keenan and co-vocalist/guitarist Carina Round alternated between singing in the ring and on each side of the drums.

Throughout the entire night two luchadores (one in red and one in blue), their “girlfriends”, and someone dressed up in a black Spiderman suit, sat on either side of the stage making threatening gestures at each other and occasionally duking it out. Efficiently, they also served as roadies for Keenan and Round by moving their mic stands from the ring to the front of the stage as needed.

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The set loosely consisted of three acts, similar to a play, with each act being led by a fight in the ring. Act One saw the two luchadores fighting in the ring. Act Two saw their girlfriends in ring accompanied by the aforementioned Spiderman. And Act Three saw Keenan and Round put two stuffed roosters on Roombas in a tiny pit at the front of the stage. However, even though it was set up like a play there was little story arc that really connected any of what was going on throughout the show. Instead, it came off more like a piece of performance art.

The songs in the set appropriately were mostly consisted of songs from the new album with songs from their other albums and EPs sprinkled throughout. The vibe stayed mostly in an alt industrial, electro-rock feel not too far removed from Keenan’s other projects. Though Maynard is the only official member of the band, Round and guitarist Mat Mitchell have been constants throughout the life of the band. Ministry’s Paul Barker joined for the tour, and with his bass and Juliette Commegere’s keyboards and samples, the full sound of each song was just as much of an experience as the spectacle on stage.

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Puscifer Setlist Bass Concert Hall, Austin, TX, USA 2015

 

 

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