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28 March 2010

On Tour With Puscifer
Columbus, Lifestyle Communities Pavilion

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 Grace Davis

Hamburger, Gospel & Polar Bears: Oh My!

Columbus, OH – March 28, 2010: rain, sleet, grey skies – and all while everyone stood in line outside LC Pavillion for admission to the Puscifer concert. We pulled into the parking lot directly across the street and stared in disbelief. The show was scheduled to start at 8pm, doors at 7pm. It was after 7pm, and the line wrapped around the building, barely moving an inch. I looked at my husband and he looked at me. We finally decided that it just wasn’t worth standing in the rain when we had assigned seats anyway. So we sat in the car, talking & smoking, and watched the line as the people droned around their respective positions like worker bees, virtually vibrating in place (if they were moving at all). Finally, at about 7:45 pm, we could see the end of the line. We watched as it snaked closer to the doors and decided that was as good a time as any to bolt across the 5 lanes of traffic.

Let me just say that LC Pavillion needs to get a better system in place. It should not take that long to go through security and get inside the building – this is not club night in Windsor, it is a concert that we all paid good money to see.

Once inside, we found our seats in the pit and began the countdown to the opening act: Neil Hamburger, comedian extraordinaire.

Hamburger is a throwback style of comedian, to the days of Sinatra, Martin and Davis. He has a very specific flavor that may seem a bit sour to mainstreamers, but is considered deliciously absurd to the rest of us. We listened and laughed as he delivered one liner after one liner, in between fits of trying to cough up what seemed to be an endless supply of phlegm. Yes, it is that kind of show.

After Hamburger took his final bow, the lights and music came back up and we began the countdown to the feature act: Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival, a two-man show with all the bells and whistles. These guys will keep you guessing: is it satire or is it sincere? Does it matter? Apparently, prior to our arrival, they were outside trolling the line, dressed in fire rescue worker gear, megaphone in full use as well as some handmade signs. I’ve managed to find some hilarious video footage of that:

All kidding aside, these guys put on one hell of a show. I was entertained and impressed. They finished their set, the lights and music came back up and we began our final countdown (as opposed to The Final Countdown) to the moment Maynard & Co. would take to the stage.

Billy Dee and Hildy (Maynard James Keenan and Laura Milligan) took to the stage with their rag tag team of musicians and hilarity immediately ensued. I’m such a fan of Puscifer, a project that frontman Keenan calls his “island of misfit ideas who’ve found no home with TOOL, A Perfect Circle, or Caduceus.” The first set of hillbilly hi-jinks was wonderful – the Puscifer songs us fans know and love with a fun twist, as well as a fantastic cover of The Circle Jerks’ “World Up My Ass.” Throughout the main performance, there were several video breaks a la reality show, and at one point Hildy stormed offstage because Billy Dee was caught spending time with a local hoochie. She came back for the crowd pleasing “Cuntry Boner” and all was well.

One of the best parts about a Puscifer show is that you never quite know what you’re going to get. Halfway through the show, the stage was vacated and another video played while the crew adjusted the set. The next thing we knew, the band made its re-entrance and had clearly made some costume changes: Maynard was looking quite handsome in his black suit & shirt, red tie and signature aviator shades. The always stunning Carina Round had been sort of hiding in the background with her guitar during the first set, but rejoined in a gorgeous black dress and pumps and the audience was given the intensity they were waiting for: absolutely amazing renditions of new tunes (Polar Bear, The Humbling River and The Mission) as well as some earlier favorites (The Undertaker, Dozo and Indigo Children). Ms. Round’s ability to feel the music and let it physically flow through her is just beautiful – the passion that a person feels when moved by music should not be contained.

She and Maynard took up positions behind large screens where a camera was recording their every move and displayed on the screens a strange, ethereal view of their faces as they sang and swayed. The wine was flowing throughout this second set - it made the evening that much more intimate, as though we were at a small cocktail party with friends who decided to be the artists that they are and entertain us.

Puscifer is so much more than meets the eye. There’s fun & frivolity, passion & sex, spirituality and the bonds we form with our fellow human beings. Everything that makes us human is in Puscifer’s music. This is definitely not something that any genre label could do justice.

Review at Great Expectations

Sunday was an excellent day, let me tell you.

I drove down to Columbus to see Maynard James Keenan’s solo project he’s got goin’ on and it was fantastic. I’ve never been a big fan of Tool or A Perfect Circle but I took a serious interest in his side project, his brain child, Puscifer, when I heard a few of his songs on the soundtrack to the movie Underworld and its two subsequent sequels.

Pusicfer moves away from Tool and APC’s “rock” roots and into a more bizarre and experimental genre. I’ve noticed he also has a tendency to remix a lot of the songs he creates with Puscifer and it’s fucking fantastic. I hated when Linkin Park did it with their second album Reanimation because I felt like they were using their fans and just trying to seeing how much money they could make off of them. The album was worthless and I’m pretty sure I threw it away. At least, I assume I did because I have no idea where it is… Puscifer, on the other hand, almost recreates his songs instead of just remixing them, giving each one a completely new sound, feel, and sometimes genre. Some of Puscifer’s songs have this hilarious rock/country sound. It’s almost a parody of country music… especially if you listen to the lyrics. Cuntry Boner is a good example. The title of the song itself is probably offensive. Some of his more serious songs, like Momma Sed (Tandimonium Mix) or Potions (Deliverance Mix), sound more like trance with a side of heavy rock. I think Puscifer successfully mixes genres in a way that does not suck or sell out. Go Maynard.

As for the concert, it was bizarre, trippy, and could possibly send someone into an epileptic seizure. It reached and exceeded my expectations. I got a balcony seat right near the edge, kinda off to the left. I could see the stage and all of Maynard’s antics perfectly. The opening band was hilarious and made a mockery of bible-thumpers.

When Puscifer began, it was almost like a mini theater performance. Complete with plot, characters, and a large screen above the stage where the audience could see a documentary of what was going on behind the stage and what the characters were going on about. Some of it was filmed even before the show.

All in all, I’m glad I drove the two hours down to Columbus to see Puscifer in all its glory. I don’t even care that I got lost in the ghetto on my way there.

I give you an ‘A’, Maynard, an ‘A’ for awesome. Not an ‘A+’, though, because you charged your fans $250 dollars for a thirty second meet-and-greet and that’s just low down n’ dirty.

Photos by nerdatrstudio

Photos by cdubya1971

Photos at Metromix Columbus

Review by Neil Shumate

Puscifer brings two shows in one to sold-out Columbus crowd at The LC

The atmosphere was untraditional for fans of Maynard James Keenan-fronted bands. Folded chairs that lined the floor would have been unacceptable at a Tool concert and the elaborate stage setup of an A Perfect Circle show was absent.

Concert goers faced forward in their reserved seats looking at the stage that was transformed into the setting of a rural outside patio.

It resembled a scene at the Grand Ole Opry, but this was an experience inside Keenan’s musical alter ego: Puscifer.

Major Douche, Keenan dressed as a threatening military character, appeared on a screen above the porch patio.

He warned the audience to not film or photograph the show, then he introduced Puscifer after mentioning Tool and jokingly citing A Perfect Circle as “a full circle, or whatever it is.”

Though never as glam as David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, Keenan has traditionally trademarked live performances using a somewhat similar approach.

Tonight—instead of wearing a long-haired wig, painting himself with blue and red body paint or wearing a white-painted face mask with female prosthetics—Keenan seemed to reincarnate a crooner from Hee Haw.

The first half of Puscifer’s set became a cheesy theatrical comedic play that used 2007’s Cuntry Boner EP as a catalyst for its western rooted theme.

Keenan was dressed as the character Billy Dee who was joined by his short-skirt wearing sidekick Hildy, played by comedian Laura Milligan.

It was fitting for Milligan to be part of the tour, as the name “Puscifer” was first used during the early ‘90s when Keenan performed comedy sketches with Milligan in her Los Angeles
club show.

The porch set came to life as band members entered wearing country costumes, performing with acoustic guitars and a pedal steel guitar complete with Johnny Cash/Loretta Lynn stylized vocal duos. All of which were executed with precision.

Songs including “Vagina Mine,” “Queen B” and “Drunk With Power” were rather unrecognizable until familiar choruses kicked in.

The band took brief breaks as the screen showed episodes of “The Burger Barn,” starring Billy Dee and Hildy. The satirical reality show poked fun at every stereotypical aspect of southern life and the audience learned that the band believed they were punk.

The punk-rock claim was an appropriate transition for the band to perform its cover of Circle Jerks’ “World Up My Ass.”

The first set was followed by more humor with a video posing the question: “What is a Puscifer?” as the hesitant applause during the first half gave way to embracing cheers.

Keenan came back stripped of Billy Dee’s costume--now sporting shades, a black suit with red tie and matching red socks.

Hildy was replaced by tall, sultry British singer/songwriter Carina Round who wore a long black dress with heels.

The rotating live band, which included two members of Ashes Divide at this show, began to perform “Momma Sed” from 2007’s V is For Vagina.

Keenan and Round took a separate place beside each other, standing behind small black-and-white video screens that projected their faces in the dimensional form of a magnifying glass. This is where the duo primarily remained throughout the show’s remainder while reciprocating each other’s seductive hand motions and arm swings in unison.

During some songs band members walked freely across the stage to serve themselves Caduceus wine from Keenan’s vineyard in Arizona.

The darker, more familiar Keenan-esque second half was well received, including an audacious light show during Pigface-like “The Undertaker” and a vocally chilling performance of “The Mission.”

The set continued with songs from 2009’s “C” Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE) and closed with Keenan introducing the band members, thanking the audience and performing “The Humbling River.”

Earlier in the night fans welcomed the throat-clearing drunken anti-humor of comedian Neil Hamburger. His half-hour set included many one liners about Courtney Love, Smash Mouth and 311 as well as a humorously defensive cuss-filled response to an audience
member’s booing.

After Hamburger left the stage, Cleveland two-member band Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival performed.

The rockabilly Silver Jews-ish band, composed of Brother Ed and Brother Ant, managed to entertain the crowd with songs like “I Can’t Bang You On A Sunday” and “I Banged A

The stage props made up for the lacking amount of instruments (drums, guitar, megaphone). A yellow sign on stage with an image of the devil read: “The devil is a cry baby.” And halfway through the set, Brother Ed pulled out a large poster of Tom Cruise’s face and rubbed it under his legs while denouncing Scientology.

As the ever-changing Puscifer show continues its tour, the screenings of Keenan’s wine making documentary with Eric Glomski, Blood Into Wine, also continues this spring.