Formed in 1995, Puscifer began as just another idea in the imagination of Maynard James Keenan. While the founder of Tool and A Perfect Circle is predominantly known for those projects, there is something strange and amazing about his side project known as Puscifer. It wasn’t until 2009 that the band formally began playing shows, but they have since created one of the most unusual and unique concert experiences around. This past Halloween, I had the pleasure of seeing Maynard and company pack the historic Ryman Auditorium for what would be one of the coolest concert experiences of my life. The aptly named Existential Reckoning Tour featured upcoming electronic artist Night Club.
Night Club — a two-piece synth wave band from Los Angeles, California — would start the evening of music with their insanely infectious hit, “Die in the Disco”.
I imagine that this band is extremely fun to see in a dark, underground NYC club or warehouse.
They were limited to a short opener set, but most of the songs they performed were incredibly upbeat and it was hard to keep from bobbing your head. Although the venue in which they were performing isn’t conducive to dancing (The Ryman is a seated auditorium), you got the feeling that the crowd was itching to move around. After about 30 minutes of music, they concluded the night with my personal favorites “Dear Enemy” and “Scary World”.
The stage setup for Puscifer featured a large set of scaffolding above and around the drums at the back of the stage. When I saw this, I laughed for a moment, as it is common knowledge to most fans that Maynard likes to stay hidden while performing. I knew this large monolith was probably his way of feeling kept away from the audience. What surprised me even more was that he actually spent much of his time performing right in front of the stage. He introduced himself to the crowd as “Dick Merkin” and Carina Round was called his “special agent”. Each of them looked as if they were working undercover for some FBI-type organization, somewhere along the lines of Men In Black.
It was fun, over-the-top, and the vibe fit in perfectly for Halloween.
At one point, they even had alien-like creatures come out and try to probe the band. The music highlights for me included a performance of “The Remedy” (my favorite) and their closer “Bedlamite”. If you happen to be a fan of all things MJK, I highly recommend catching Puscifer on any of their remaining tour dates.
Review by Derek Jones