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13 March 2010

On Tour With Puscifer
New York City, The Apollo Theater

Vagina Mine
Sour Grapes
World Up My Ass
Queen B
Drunk With Power
Rev 22:20
Cuntry Boner
Momma Sed
Polar Bear
Indigo Children
The Undertaker
The Mission
The Humbling River

Review by Holly at None More Blakk

Puscifer last night at the Apolla Theater in Harlem, NY

As you would expect from a Maynard James Keenan solo project, the Puscifer show last night was.... unexpected. The first HALF of the show included Maynard and his female co-vocalist, Carina Round dressed as a redneck-car-salesman-type, and a Dolly Parton lookalike respectively. The rest of the band members lingered further back on the stage, sitting on a porch of what looked like a southern tavern. Hilarious stuff, full with slide guitar and country versions of the songs 'Country Boner' (a video for the song is below), 'Sour Grapes' and 'Vagina Mine' among a few others. This part of the set also included a bunch of video skits of Maynard and Carina in redneck character. It was mostly just comedic banter, but there was a little storyline about how Carina left Maynard (I believe his redneck character name was Billy Bob), but then eventually agreed to come back to him after some groveling. This was fun and all, but went on a bit too long.

The second set was more of what Puscifer sounds like on the album. So, it was much more Tool-esque. Carina and Maynard stood behind flat screen tvs on microphone stands, so that as they sang to the back of the screen, the audience saw their faces through a fish-bowl lens on the screen. Typical Maynard- always hiding or laying in the shadows whilst live. They only played around 5 or 6 songs in this set- which included a killer live version of 'Dozo'. Tim Alexander shined on drums, and all 4 of my friends independently mentioned his drumming after the show. Looking back I do wish their was less country and more straight up Puscifer, but overall a funny-then beautiful show.

(Chazz Note: I sure wish reviewers would get the participants correct. The photos below clearly illustrate that Carina was not the Dolly Parton lookalike!)

Review by Patrick Slevin at The Aquarian Weekly

NEW YORK, NY—Given the late ‘90s videos of Puscifer circulating online of Maynard James Keenan and his cast performing a full-on parody of trailer park America, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that to be the theme of the band’s Apollo Theatre performance, occurring in the middle of a mild East Coast hurricane.

I still was, a little.

The appeal of multiple themes was that the audience wouldn’t know what to expect each night, and it was illuminating to see what Keenan insisted was “not a concert.” He’s right, to an extent, because it played out as a hick interpretation of the Partridge Family.

For the first half, anyway.

The members for this incarnation of Puscifer included Keenan as the Conway Twitty with a dash of Tony Clifton-esque master of ceremonies named Billy Dee, Laura Milligan as his long suffering wife named Hildy, Carina Round sitting in the back playing violin as needed, Johnny Polanski on stage right with guitar, drums stage left manned by Jeff Friedl and closely accompanied by bassist Mat Mitchell, and Tim Alexander sitting near Keenan, mostly for comedy, and two shadowy gentlemen (one of them most likely Matt McJunkins) playing cards or having a picnic, at different times.

This was all in front of a large front porch and inn façade, with a large video monitor above it. Around and behind it, photographers moved about dressed in all black—maybe ninjas, maybe cat burglars—and suggested a menacing underbelly. Between songs and skits, videos of the Burgers (as I believe Billy Dee and his family were named) shot in a Ronnie Dobbs-meets-reality show style played, as well as some of the CGI Puscifer videos. It was also a practical reality, as the videos allowed for some smooth set maneuvering that was quite important later on.

To complete the theme, all the songs were countrified. “Cuntry Boner” had already existed in that form, but “Queen Bee” was reworked with a twang. And so the somewhat predictable but enjoyable tale of the Burgers played along, with sex offender jokes, cheating, boozing, etc. True American values.

About 40 minutes in—I believe it was during the long “What Is A Puscifer?” video—the mood on set changed dramatically. Everyone now boasted dark suits, McJunkins replaced Mitchell (who took up a small keyboard) on bass, Tim Alexander took to the drums (though he switched off and also doubled percussion on a second kit), and Round stepped into the space Milligan had occupied near Keenan. The two singers were now singing into fisheye cameras attached to monitors obscuring their faces, and everyone had some of Keenan’s wine.

A bit pretentious, but what followed was the Puscifer many had come to see, the slithering, sensual, groovy renditions of material from V Is For Vagina and the assorted EPs delivered reverently.

It’s a tough sell on paper but it was truly effective in moving the mood away from the goofiness that it appeared many members of the crowd were turned off by. But the night was a clever take on the typically over-serious concert experience. The change in tone made the second half all the more memorable, with a particularly haunting “The Humbling River” closing out the evening’s entertainment before the credits rolled on the event.

Photos by Patrick Surace