Not being much of a wrestling fan, I would never have expected to stand ringside during a luchador match. But Puscifer brought Luchafer, a group of luchador wannabes, to the show at Cobb Energy Centre Nov. 8
Puscifer returned almost exactly three years later to the same venue in support of its recent release, Money Shot.
I’ve mentioned before that I believe singer/songwriter Maynard James Keenan uses his unique and often dry sense of humor as a crutch with his Puscifer project. The live shows prove it.
As in previous shows, a video introduction with Keenan dressed up as a general warned the audience not to be stupid. The skit included admonishments not to speed with Kennan pointing to a 50 MPH speed limit sign, saying “That’s your number.” Then he reminded the audience to read their ticket stubs and adhere to the strict no photography/videography rule.
Cheers rose from the crowd during the video, where Keenan advised people stay present in the moment and actually enjoy the show.
One of the reasons I love Puscifer live so much is that few people try to capture the show on devices. People actually pay attention. Some dance. The show is packed with entertainment, such as a wrestling match in three acts.
After the reminded to enjoy the show ended, Keenan appeared in character. I’m still not sure if all the Puscifer characters are connected or not, but the theme Nov. 8 revolved around the wrestlers instead of the trailer park/camping theme from the Conditions of My Parole tour.
Anyway, the drunk guy in a blond wig on screen spewed drunk sincerity. He questioned human nature and honored the heroes who run back into burning buildings to save babies. When you strip away the character, the alcohol and the jokes, Keenan is contextually talking about the human condition. Puscifer is just as deep as Tool or A Perfect Circle. Keenan just has more fun with it.
Cobb Energy Theatre doesn’t hold as many fans as the arenas where Tool usually plays. The atmosphere feels much more relaxed and most fans arrived in jeans, sipping mixed drinks and responded politely as the ushers pointed them toward their red-cushioned theater seats.
As Keenan’s drunk character spoke on screen, the music for “Simultaneous” played underneath. That confirmed for me the more than six-minute song is more significant than the title track on the recently released Money Shot.
Because Money Shot just came out Oct. 30, most fans didn’t know the songs and Puscifer played the entire Money Shot album except for the actual lyrics from “Simultaneous.”
Cheers erupted for the older favorites “Man Overboard,” “Undertaker” and “Rev 22:20,” though.
Fans of Tool and A Perfect Circle who just “don’t get” Puscifer likely don’t understand the context for most songs written by Keenan. The musical structure isn’t vastly different, albeit Puscifer blends more banjo, mandolin and cello instrumentation into the mix than Tool ever would.
But the rhythms, the center stage drummer and the singer hidden in the dark all recall Keenan’s other projects. He says to his audiences that they should be entertained, but listen closely to the underlying messages.
That sums up Puscifer live. The fun bounces off the ropes and role plays the lyrics about knocking someone out.
The context is deeper and anyone who takes the time to dig through the lyrics will find them.