Concert Review: Puscifer at Bass Concert Hall, Austin, TX: Maynard James Keenan’s rock-comedy project keeps things weird in the Texas capital.
Yesterday marked Puscifer’s third stop off their 2015 Money Shot Tour, which landed them at Austin, TX’s Bass Concert Hall. And attendees who’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Maynard James Keenan’s oddball musical/comedy art-troupe, weren’t disappointed.
After the truly unique opening act Luchafer (which I’ll keep under wraps per the band’s request), and an admonishment for fans to behave from Keenan’s “Major Douche” persona, he reappeared (on monitor) as character Billy D, whose bizarre, drug fueled rant perfectly dovetailed into hypnotic set opener Simultaneous.
Keenan and co-vocalist Carina Round had wonderful chemistry throughout the set, their intertwined vocals sounding sublime on new album tracks including The Arsonist, the goth-tinged Galileo and a truly transportive rendition of lead single Grand Canyon.
The band always have a flair for the visual, and tonight proved no exception: a Mexican Wrestling theme ran through the set design (Keenan donned a mask, which still allowed room for his merkin mohawk). And the visual projections fleshed things out nicely, offering both cartoonish hallucinations and ethereal elemental images.
The sound throughout was crisp and propulsive: drummer Jeff Friedl’s automaton beats hit square in the chest (fitting given he occupied the most prominent stage space), meshing perfectly with former Ministry bassist Paul Barker’s sinewy fuzzed-out baselines. This added ample foundation for guitarist Mat Mitchell and keyboardist Mahsa Zargaran’s cinematic touches.
While most of the set pulled from Money Shot (with the banging title track truly living up to its name), there were a few call backs from earlier releases. Standouts included the creepy campfire tune Man Overboard from 2011’s Conditions of My Parole, and 2007’s V is For Vagina’s industrial clanger The Undertaker.
The frontman took a moment to thank the crowd for their support, and for bearing with them while they worked out the kinks in their production (not noticeable). For a performer recently (and unfairly in my opinion) taken to task for comments about Tool fans, he felt truly appreciative and humble.
Puscifer is the perfect extension of Keenan’s subconscious: amusing, bewildering, occasionally self-indulgent, often hilarious, at times unsettling, but NEVER boring. It leaves you unsure of where the joke begins, and the punchline ends. And I imagine that’s just how he likes it.
But his growing collaboration with Round and fellow bandmates was palpable: between their onstage interplay, and the strength of the new material, it’s a true band experience, and one of the most compelling rock acts today.
Money Shot Setlist:
Life of Brian (Apparently You Haven’t Seen)
Smoke and Mirrors
Own Puscifer’s ‘Money Shot’ from Amazon or iTunes below: