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Puscifer/Carina Round Featured

Live Reviews Sunday, 11 March 2012 00:00

Puscifer/Carina Round
March 11, Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary AB

As soon as Maynard James Keenan appeared from the right corner of the stage pulling behind him a trailer hitch, you knew this would be no ordinary concert. Dressed in a leather hat and matching jacket, the singer began the Puscifer experience with a Bill Hicks style monologue while setting up a mock hippy camp fire jam session set, complete with chairs, wine, glasses and a wooden snake.

Puscifer/Carina Round
March 11, Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary AB

As soon as Maynard James Keenan appeared from the right corner of the stage pulling behind him a trailer hitch, you knew this would be no ordinary concert. Dressed in a leather hat and matching jacket, the singer began the Puscifer experience with a Bill Hicks style monologue while setting up a mock hippy camp fire jam session set, complete with chairs, wine, glasses and a wooden snake.

The juxtaposition of Maynard's thoughtful intro speech and mystic presence with the absurd stage set (the video screen now displaying an Arizona sign) and self mocking intro videos, including a military themed warning about flash photography is definitely off kilter, but makes perfect sense when looking at the history of Keenan, with cameos in Bikini Bandits, Blood Into Wine revealing his down to earth every day persona, and of course the music, theory and presentation of his other bands. The personality is on display even before any musical notes are heard, and hey, that's the reason we're all here isn't it?

“It took 10 years for people to get Tool, 10 for A Perfect Circle, and it might be 10 for Puscifer,” Keenan proclaimed in the wine making documentary, Blood Into Wine, but looking around the sold out Jubilee Auditorium, people are knowing the songs, singing every lyric, and presumably, really “getting” what Keenan and company are doing here.

The six piece band, drum kit on wagon and all, cruise through the visual aided set in a loose manner, giving the listener versions of songs as hard hitting as originally recorded, (“Telling Ghosts”) while reworking others (“Momma Sed”) into a new listening experience. The set list is hefty for a band with only two albums worth of material, featuring equal portions of V is for Vagina and Conditions of My Parole, with “The Green Valley” setting the pace for “Tiny Monsters,” “Vagina Mine,” “Dozo,”and “Toma.” There are some moments when band members will sit on the chairs set out at the front of the stage if they aren't called upon to perform during the specific song, sipping a glass of wine. Now it really feels like a camp fire session. Video skits, mainly southern in theme, are played between some songs, one with a memorable conversation featuring Maynard as conspiracy theorist, “What do aliens listen to?”
“Tool.”

Carina Round, whose first impression to most was her soulful and playful opening set, complimented the vocal department nicely. Never overpowering and always interesting to look at, the British singer complimented Keenan greatly, with with her stage moves giving him a run for his money.

The rousing “The Undertaker” gives new meaning to polka dot intensity and is the perfect way to end off the set before they reinvent the notion of encore with the “lazy man's encore”- the band lounging together and enjoying a glass while Maynard introduces the members. Then, a lost highway video screen aids “Tumbleweed” to properly end the show.

Puscifer in a way reminds me of reading a David Foster Wallace novel. Letting it stew afterwards doesn't exactly bring any life affirming statements, and looking at the whole might not make sense at first, but the “tool” that is Puscifer, now included with the graphics, lyrics, props, wine, corniness, seriousness, grinding and jesting of the live show gives it a full fledged, multifaceted personality. Studying the many footnotes and attempting to apply what you've experienced to yourself is fine, but you are also encouraged to enjoy the process - simply pour yourself a sturdy glass of wine, sit around the prosthetic camp fire and groove to the music.

- Ryan Dyer

Written by  AUTV Admin
AUTV Admin

AUTV Admin

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