Saturday, February 21, 2009
Puscifer at the Pearl Theater
What is a Puscifer? I attempted to find out the answer to this pressing question by catching each night of an exclusive three show run at the Pearl Theater at the Palms in Las Vegas.
Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival
Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival was a side splitting raucous good time. A hybrid of Bob Log III and the Black Keys, these Ohio boys easily converted the audience with their hellfire garage rock.
One of the many hilarious moments in their set included throwing rubber snakes into the crowd, holding up pictures of Tom Cruise and Britney Spears in order to mock them, and the fact that they had a microphone set up next to a picture of Jesus.
Song titles ranged from "I Banged A Sinner", "Gimme Back My Bible, Baby". I loved the fact they used distorted vocals and a make shift drum kit for their aural assault.
Puscifer is the brain child of Maynard James Keenan from Tool and A Perfect Circle. It is a small peak inside in the entertaining and deviant mind of the notoriously mercurial Tool frontman. It was exciting going to a concert with absolutely no idea of what was going to happen and what may unfold.
All three nights were prefaced with a small film skit with Maynard dressed up in a uniform and identified himself as "Major Douche" in which he humorously instructed the audience to pull out their ticket stub to indicate that "NO Flash Photography was allowed" and that in his career of touring with "The Tools" and "Full Circle" that flash photography has never been allowed and is plain rude. I neglected to take a picture of the hundreds of cameras that were held by The Pearl staff at the entrance. A lot of people seemed eager to document the evening's activities.
Friday's show opened with a skit with Maynard coming out with a wig and a jumpsuit accompanied by a nun and a priest taking jabs at organized religion. They ended the skit by singing "Sour Grapes". It was the first of many odd skits that would unfold over the three nights.
The stage was set up with two television screens center stage with video cameras behind the screen filming Maynard and Juliette Commagere. They literally appeared as "talking heads" when they sang into their microphones. Jonny Polonsky did a superb job on guitar conjuring up weird alien noises via a pitch shifting pedal and sweeps with his wah pedal.
Tim Alexander (Drums/Twitter) of Primus fame was the court jester of the three nights. During the Friday show, Tim was seated on a couch in the middle of the stage twittering from his apple laptop while the band was in the midst of their performance. He would occasionally jump over to the extra drum kit and lay down some grooves during a couple of songs. Tim went for the shock factor on Sunday night when he dressed up as a nurse complete with an orange wig and makeup.
In the music department, Puscifer was extremely sharp. Maynard still has one of the more distinctive voices in recorded music and sounded flawless. Maynard dressed to impress as he wore a full suit and sunglasses when he sang behind the television screen. Juliette Commagere (Vocals) had a perfectly complimentary voice to Maynard's distinctive vocals and occasionally would add some keyboards to the songs.
Another impressive feat of the three night stand was that Gil Sheron (Drums) and Rani Sheron (Bass) from Stolen Babies were on stage for Friday night. Saturday's rhythm section was Matt Mcjunkins (Bass) and Jeff Friedl (Drums) from Ashes Divide. On Sunday, both rhythm sections traded off during the whole set.
Puscifer covered a majority of songs from their debut album on all three nights including "Trekka", "Indigo Children", "Vagina Mine", "Queen Bee", "Rev 22:20". I heard rumors of Milla Jovovich showing up, but the Pearl turned electric when she appeared near the end of Friday's set to sing "The Mission". It was a shame that she did not appear on Saturday or Sunday.
Sunday's show started out slightly different in that a metallic trailer was center stage and the video screens showed Maynard frantically calling his bandmates with his iphone to come and play the final night. On Sunday, Maynard presided over the wedding of Juliette Commagere and a lucky suitor.
All three shows appeared to have been recorded for a future DVD or Blu-Ray release. One of the camera operators was slyly decked out in a full black ninja suit. I hope they include all of the filmed skits and include some bonus material. I was glad that I made the commitment to go all three nights and given the show production, uniqueness and musical quality, the ticket price of thirty nine dollars was an absolute steal. I just need to know when can I pre-order the live DVD? I also hear rumblings that Puscifer will play Club Nokia on April 4th.