Puscifer brings Luchafer to The Paramount
Puscifer is a band that can only be described by the word, unique. I have been a fan of Maynard James Keenan since the early days of Tool. I have followed him through A Perfect Circle and been hooked on Puscifer since his first release in 2007 with “V” is for Vagina.
Coming through the metro New York area on April 9th, Puscifer was making a stop on their Round 2 of the Money Shot Tour to Long Island at The Paramount in Huntington, NY. It was a cold rainy Spring day, complete with the threat of snow. But that didn’t stop fans from lining up outside as early as five o’clock. I would have been among them but I was happily covering the show for Shutter 16, so no fence position for me this time. The line outside had now stretched all the way down the block as the doors promptly opened at seven and I was just as eager as those on line to get inside.
As I watched the general admission floor fill out, I was either hearing fans talking about how long they have followed Keenan or about other shows they have been to in the past. I had a nice conversation with a fan about how she was not actually a fan of Tool at first and how she was turned onto A Perfect Circle through another band, then started listening to Puscifer. So even though most fans were wearing Tool t-shirts, there were plenty of fans showing off their Puscifer merch too.
The bars were packed as fans were getting their drink on and getting ready to enjoy this evenings experience, as the show will be just that, an experience to remember. At just about eight o’clock the house lights went dark. VIP ticket holders were brought up on stage and sat on two three-tier bleachers to either side on the stage. I entered the photo pit and was treated to an up close Lucha Libre wrestling act by Luchafer. Not the usual musical opening act one might expect, but it was the perfect complement for the Money Shot theme of the tour.
It was a tag team match with two teams of one male and one female wrestler each. The matches would have slight intermissions where the stage lights would glow all red and a waiter, wearing a Lucha Libre mask as well, would come bring drinks. But as the show went on the waiter turned out to be another skilled wrestler who would soon steal the show and run off with the key to the jail cell they were all originally fighting over. The show was fun and entertaining to say the very least.
In no time flat the VIP’s were escorted off the stage and the drum set was rolled out center stage, right in front of the wrestling ring, while other preparations were being made for the main act. Feeling my own anticipation growing, I was joined by a sold out venue filled with fans already cheering away before the show even began. Then just like that the house lights came down and all that was visible in the darkness was a video of Keenan, in the character of Major Douche, played on two small video screens to the right and left of the stage. Major Douche instructed the audience to listen to his instructions carefully! He mostly said to leave their cell phones in their pockets, no photos or videos are to be taken or they risk being escorted out of the venue! He also said that this is the best way to enjoy the show and minimize distractions.
After Major Douche finished his speech another of Keenan’s characters, Billy D, came on screen. It was a drunken Billy D rambling on as he does. In the shadows on the stage, Mat Mitchell (Guitar), Jeff Friedl (Drums), Paul Barker (Bass) and Mahsa Zargaran (Keyboard/Guitar) all took to their instruments.
The band began to play as Billy D rambled on; they played the instrumentation that plays behind Keenan’s spoken word on the recorded version of “Simultaneous,” but unfortunately that part Keenan did not do live for the show. With extremely dim lit blue stage lighting Maynard James Keenan (Vocals) and Carina Round (Vocals/Guitar/Mandolin/Banjo) came out on stage and the show truly began.
After the second song, “Galileo,” I promptly packed my photo gear and headed to a nice place to view the rest of the show. After a few songs a huge video screen backlit the entire stage showing various scenes throughout the remainder of the performance, mostly with the theme of Lucha Libre wrestling. I found myself most mesmerized by the video for “Grand Canyon” which was the same as the original video that was released with the song. For the most part the set consisted of songs off of the Money Shot album, including the iTunes exclusive, “Flippant.” But fans were also treated to older songs by them including “Vagina Mine,” “Conditions Of My Parole” and “Rev 22:20,” which Round sang lead vocals on. The also did “Breathe” which is by far more spectacular live than on the recorded version.
The show was thrilling as I bopped and swayed along with my entire fellow die-hard fans, and we cheered after each song. I did get a chuckle each time a female fan would scream out, “I love you Maynard!” With Keenan and Round performing in and out of the ring you never knew what to expect for each song. Just before the end of the set Keenan said, “Thank you for coming out. Make sure you take care of the bartenders, they not only put up with your crazy shit but with ours too!” He then went on to introduce the band members. After that they did two more songs and ended the evening with “Autumn.”
As the venue slowly cleared out all I could see were shining faces who were as clearly satisfied as I was with the show. I had waited around knowing that Carina Round often goes to the merch table to greet fans and sign memorabilia. I was so elated to see her beautiful face shining back at me and she kindly signed my ticket.
A Puscifer show is a show like no other and an experience that should not be missed. So be sure to catch them at the next show in your area, you will not be disappointed.
Full gallery can be seen here.
See them on tour: