(Image via BlowTheScene.Com)
Wednesday night I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Puscifer in concert. If you don’t know who Puscifer is, don’t worry, I’m about to tell you.
Puscifer is the bizarre and beautiful misfit brainchild of Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle. It’s described on their YouTube channel as “Booty Bass from Jerome, Arizona” with the bio “Life is too short NOT to create something with every breath we draw. Puscifer celebrates this creative process. We embrace all mediums. Music, film, cuisine, winemaking, useless stuff made in china by slaves who beat baby seals, and very specific forms of martial arts that are completely ineffective but appear mysterious and edgy. There are more mediums, but spellcheck doesn’t work very well on this profile thingy. Welcome to our clown car. Love, Maynard.”
I’m a Maynard fan. I have been since the summer I turned 13 and saw the video for Tool’s song “Sober”. I’ve loved every single Tool and A Perfect Circle song, but as I’ve grown older, the broody angst sprinkled with tones of despair have a considerably smaller space in my life. We grow, we evolve, we learn to find humor in life and focus and thrive on the hilarious absurdity of it all, while still appreciating that the shadows are still there. To me, Puscifer is the evolution of my music tastes. It is a strange and beautiful mix of everything except the broody goth girl of my youth.
That being said, the concert was fantastic. The opening artist was a woman named Carina Round, who is not only gorgeous in the vein of classic pinup models, but I’m almost certain is a musical prodigy. To those of you who think that Adele or Florence and the Machine are where it’s at in the realm of women in music, you need more Carina Round in your life. When you’re finished listening you’ll (hopefully) realize that Carina is to Adele and Florence and the Machine what Tori Amos, Bjork, and PJ Harvey were to Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. Yes, she makes the two biggest names in so-called edgy female music look like vapid pop stars. She also performed with Puscifer for the entire show. I would say it takes a big pair of brass balls to hold your own on stage with Maynard James Keenan, but considering the context of the concert, I’d say if there is a vagina equivalent to brass balls – she has it.
Between her opening set and the actual main event, there was a brief film shown. A documentary style bit of hilarity that followed an over-the-top redneck couple (who are also cousins) and their attempt to tour with their punk rock gig amidst thievery and infidelity. It was bad accents, big hair, and boozy blasphemy. Followed by a public service announcement by Major Douche (pronounced Doo-shay) reminding you turn off your cell phones and refrain from any flash photography, then demanding you yell the word ‘Vagina’ to start the show.
The stage lights lit up an empty set. Enter Maynard stage right, pulling a small airstream trailer. He began speaking about sustaining creativity and how in a time before we were distracted with all of our gadgets and gizmos, there used to be a balance. The day was for working, tactile tasks connecting us with the earth; in the evening there was celebration: drumming, dancing, and creative expression. For a moment I thought I’d stumbled into a TED talk. As he spoke, he set up folding camp chairs and tables, a small clam shell grill, and set the table with two bottles of wine and glasses, then rolled the drum-set out on what looked to be a hay-ride trailer. The entire experience was, dare I say, intimate, and made you feel as if you were about to sit down at a barbecue with the band and spend the night singing, dancing and philosophizing. And we did. Well, everyone sang and danced – I’m not sure certain members of the audience could have even pronounced the word “philosophizing” – but such is the case with a certain group of drunken metal meatheads.
There was one notable difference in the audience as compared to Tool or A Perfect Circle shows. Women. The two aforementioned band’s demographic are primarily male. You’ll see a few women in the audience, but for the most part it’s nothing more than a sea of testosterone, beer, and black t-shirts. I think Puscifer appeals to women, I would almost go as far as to say it celebrates women and their sexuality. With songs like Vagina Mine, Queen B, and Rev 22:20 (which Carina Round performed fantastically, though I’m a wee bit disappointed Maynard didn’t sing it. That song is pure sex.), there is obviously a sexual charge behind the music. And it’s definitely more of an appreciation for female sexuality than the stereotypical misogyny you’ll find in most music. There is a strange, earthy, almost maternal romance to Horizons, The Humbling River, The Green Valley and Oceans. And if you’re still not sure of the femininity woven into the tapestry of Puscifer, listen to Momma Sed. I’m not sure anything cracks the hard shell of a skeptical woman and ignites her gooey center like a man’s artistic reflection on a mother’s wisdom.
The show itself was almost a musical roller coaster. One moment you are pondering your connection to the earth and half tempted to toss your iPhone out the window and run away to the desert, the next you are watching an animated scene of a quite voluptuous female demon beating masturbating male home invaders with a dildo.
If you have an opportunity to see Puscifer live, do it. If you are a Tool or A Perfect Circle fan, check your expectations at the door.
Camicia Bennett: Founder of The Well Written Woman, Florida Native and cerebral creature, she loves her husband, yoga, red wine, potty humor, swearing superfluously and putting hats on her dog. If given her druthers she’d be surfing the web and writing randomness from someplace sunny and tropical whilst sipping her favorite vino. Oh wait, that’s exactly what she does.You can find her tweeting incessantly or randomly sharing her own brand of slightly pretentious propaganda at her personal blog.