Long before Sia mounted a bow over her face, Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan was tucking himself into the shadows, forcing fans to listen undistracted and unaffected. It should come as no surprise that his “creative subconscious” AKA Puscifer, finds him underlit, underexposed, and nearly impossible to photograph. This photojournalist jumped at the opportunity to capture the elusive MJK, but alas I emerged without the trophy. Here’s what I captured for you instead.
Puscifer often sells out, so don’t count on last-minute tickets. If you want to experience this marvel of shadow, sound, and music, purchase your seats early. Scalpers were shoo’d away at the door to the box office.
VIP ticket holders receive top-notch merch and their own entrance. In return for this great perk, please note that when tickets say the VIP entrance closes at 7:30, it doesn’t mean 7:31. Maynard respects your time. Respect his.
“No phones” mean no phones. Do not take it out; do not take a photo. Tales abound of ushers confiscating phones and deleting photos. Heed the warning.
Luchafer, the luchadores wrestling opener, is oddly entertaining; it’s vibrant and loud, full of flips and mat slamming. The hokey plot with predictable twist crosses a line, tapping into my guilty pleasure center. I don’t mind. It’s also brightly lit. Thank Maynard for small favors.
The luchadores cleared the stage at the end of their act, but the ring remained. After a brief video reminding the audience, once again, to pocket their cell phones, one spotlight illuminated the drummer. Sort of. Illuminated is the wrong word. One dim light cut though heavy fog to reveal the silhouette of the drum kit manned by the remarkable Paul Barker. A few moments later the curtains rose to reveal MJK and Carina Round in the ring. Revealed is the wrong word. The curtain rose to reveal a stark lighting contrast between the two vocalists. Oh Maynard, you stealthy genius you.
Puscifer played an incredible 20-song set, balancing older material and songs off their latest release, Money Shot. There were jam sessions, (“Vagina Mine”), more appearances by the luchedores, and a mock cock fight that got the better of our hero. A special thanks to MLK for taking a break in the show to drop a world series update on the audience.
Not for lack of trying, but I couldn’t capture this show for you. Maybe that’s a good thing? In a world where concert photographers accept the challenge of shooting the stage through audience-members’ cell phones, it’s refreshing to see a fully present crowd. Imagine attending a show at the historic Fillmore without snap chatting and Facebook live-ing. And let’s be honest, friends of those phonetographers; has one of their cell phone pics ever made you book a concert ticket? I didn’t think so. Do yourself a favor; whether you’re a fan of Puscifer or not, grab a ticket and check out one of their shows. Great music should be experienced, and more artists should have the balls to embrace that.