Puscifer Bayou Music Center June 27, 2012
Always making the most of minimalism, Maynard James Keenan, the mastermind behind Tool and A Perfect Circle, made the back of Bayou Music Center's stage his home Wednesday night, content to let the rest of his band stand and sit in the foreground as he stood in the shadows, his cowboy hat and aviator-style sunglasses shrouding his face for the entire evening.
Eccentric much? Maybe. But the guy could just be really modest. Or shy.
The stage setup, which resembled a campsite, was so cliché that it had to have been a joke inside of a joke. There was a camper in the back left, a few lawn chairs and a picnic table near the middle of the stage (complete with a red-and-white checkered tablecloth), and a fake campfire front and center.
You'd be hard-pressed to find any country-western themes in the music itself, but as far as presentation is concerned, Maynard has made it clear that this is a staple of the band.
Upon entering the venue, I was a bit surprised at how few people were in attendance... Then I remembered that this wasn't a Tool show; this wasn't a Perfect Circle show; this was a Puscifer show. And while their music is phenomenal in its own right, it was written with a niche audience in mind: Maynard's random thought process.
Contrary to the band's purpose, the crowd's attention was always diverted from the the front man and was drawn instead to colorful backdrops, which sometimes displayed slow-moving colors and blurred images when the screen above the band wasn't showing a video of some sort, and it was just busy enough to keep fans entertained while not distracting from the figures onstage, swaying back and forth as they sang and played their instruments.
With the successes of his other projects, Maynard's direction with Puscifer is even less concerned with what the general public thinks than his other two bands. Instead, it delves into the singer/songwriter's thoughts and is aided by a musical style that could have been explored by either of his other two bands, but is such full, strong sound on its own that it deserves its own name.
That name is Puscifer. And lucky for all of us, Maynard is talented enough to drive all three.
Personal Bias: Puscifer is an acquired taste, but once you've accepted the band for what it is, you might just thoroughly enjoy it.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Shut the fuck up and sing. I didn't pay a hundred dollars to hear you rant about George Bush and wave your hippie flag." (Note: I believe this was in reference to Puscifer's last Houston performance at Jones Hall, which was oddly received.)
Random Notebook Dump: I'm not sure what Maynard drank more of during his performance: wine or water. Which, given his vocal prowess, was even more impressive.
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