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Puscifer Onslaught Reaches Albany

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By Louis Smith

November 23, 2015

The creative juggernaut that is Maynard Keenan, globally known as the driving force behind prog-metal mega force Tool and the rock-collective A Perfect Circle, brought Puscifer’s Money Shot Tour to Albany’s historic Palace Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 18.  The venue was dazzled by the unique live spectacle, which concluded after a two-and-a-half hour display of audio dominance, visual oddities and theatrical deviance.

Puscifer’s current lineup includes A Perfect Circle drummer Jeff Friedl, guitar wizard Mat Mitchell and LA-based singer-songwriter Juliette Commagere holding down keyboards, guitars, samples and general hullaballoo. The 2015-incarnation includes Ministry’s own bass-virtuoso Paul Barker and with the exception of Keenan, singer-guitarist Carina Round is the final piece of Puscifer, providing both stellar leads and harmonies, as well as the occasional banjo and mandolin.

(Source: Yuliya Peshkova Photography / WEQX Facebook Page)
(Source: Yuliya Peshkova Photography / WEQX Facebook Page)

Their set included cuts from every Puscifer album to date, with the majority of tracks being featured from “Money Shot” which was released for worldwide consumption earlier this year on Oct. 30.

The upbeat, yet bluntly straightforward track, “The Remedy,” was performed alongside intimate renditions of “Galileo,” “The Arsonist,” “Autumn” and “Simultaneous.” The album’s only “official” single, “Grand Canyon,” was featured very early in the show, and it should be noted that this track is very reminiscent of Tool-esque mysticism.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Keenan opened up about his intention and influence behind the song.

“[The Grand Canyon]’s a perfect metaphor for understanding how insignificant you are in the big picture,” he said. “Once you can embrace your nothingness, you can move forward to a positive end. Standing at the edge of a thing like the Grand Canyon puts things literally and figuratively in perspective.”

The theme of the evening, which included décor, video, and characters was heavily influenced by Mexican Lucha Libre-style wrestling.

Without spoiling too much about what happened on stage (mainly at the discretion of Keenan who asked no photos, video or recording be taken at all during the show in an attempt to not ruin the surprise for others), the Palace was privy to a live wrestling match, syncopated dancing from both Round and Keenan (sometimes together, many times apart) as well as strange video accompaniment that featured images of a Travis Bickle-looking Maynard, Lucha Libra masks aplenty and reversed black-and-white film footage.

“With Puscifer, we realize that the digital age is just endless possibilities, and nothing is written in stone,” said Keenan. “So whatever stage show we start off with on this tour, it might change and go in a complete opposite way. We’ve built an audience that, for the most part, is open to whatever we present them,”

The group also powered through classics, such as “The Undertaker,” “Vagina Mine” and “Rev 22:20,” which all came from Puscifer’s debut album, “‘V’ is for Vagina” (2007), eight years to the day of the release of 2015’s “Money Shot”—both were released on Oct. 30 of their respective years.

Even though it wasn’t a sold-out show, the band delivered a superb performance. Keenen even addressed the fact that there wasn’t a full house, reminding fans that he does like playing Albany but fans need to encourage their friends to show up “even if they don’t like [the] band.”

This speech was delivered at the end of the show, prior to Keenan introducing his all-star lineup to the group of fans that had braved the show.

An encore of two tracks off “Money Shot” capped off the night. The new album’s content is reminiscent of both A Perfect Circle’s and Tool’s works, both musically and lyrically which are an overall departure from previous releases.

It would seem as though a great deal of people in the Capital Region missed out on an intimate, strange, yet phenomenal evening with Puscifer.

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