Puscifer | 11.12.11

The live versions largely increased the various moods of each track, due to skilled live musicianship, a well programmed light show, and Peabody’s more than capable sound system.”


Peabody Opera House, St. Louis, MO                                                                           Greg Artime Photos
Many first’s occurred at the recently reopened Peabody Opera House this past Saturday night. Worth noting, Puscifer was the first event not to sell out the large theater, though it was fairly well packed. Secondly, at approximately 8:05, the word “vagina” was likely said on stage for the first time (but certainly not the last) by opener, and Puscifer band member, Carina Round. If however there is a Wilco or Aretha Franklin song that I’m forgetting about I do apologize. 
Round, often a featured vocalist for Puscifer had than rather non-envious position as opener for one of the most recognized rock vocalist’s of the last 20 years. As she had to explain a few times through her short set, “Maynard will be out soon, don’t worry”, there was also a declaration that she was in fact, “still up here bitches.” She most definitely was there, and despite the jokes and playful taunts, Round’s most defining quality was a voice that seemed to have no limits. 
Tool and A Perfect Circle lead singer Maynard James Keenan did in fact live up to Round’s promise that he would come out. In perhaps the oddest stage set-up of all time, Keenan first appeared rolling a large Streamline camper to just the right spot. He proceeded to catch his breath and then go on a rather long speech. He spent what seemed close to ten minutes speaking of the importance of communal support in society as well as the importance of creativity, all the while setting up a campsite complete with a grill, collapsible chairs and tables, and a wind-up music box. 
Keenan then concluded that their “modern-day hippie drum circle still needs drums,” to which he and Round, who had emerged from the trailer as well, rolled to it’s spot on the stage. The drum circle then kicked into full effect with drummer Jeff Freidl, guitarist Mat Mitchell, bassist Matt McJunkins, and Round on vocals/mandolin/backing vocals.
Material was largely culled from new release, Conditions of My Parole, which proved to be a diverse collection of songs. The live versions largely increased the various moods of each track, due to skilled live musicianship, a well programmed light show, and Peabody’s more than capable sound system. Songs like “Toma” and “Man Overboard” were throbbing headbangers, while older track, “Rev 22:20” was a quietly intense feature for Round, who was the only vocalist for the majority as Keenan enjoyed some of his own wine. 
“Oceans” and “Monsoons” were transcendent experiences, thanks to very well chosen visuals (Keenan spent a large amount of time enjoying them as well), as well as some of the most chill, goose-bump inducing tracks Keenan has ever laid down. As the band all put down there instruments to large applause and proceeded to sit down and have a drink, Keenan announced that, “this is the type of grab-assing and self-appreciation artist’s normally reserve for backstage during an encore…. but we are all too drunk to get back there.” 
Round returned to the microphone for one last song, a warm, comforting version of Parole closer “Tumbleweeds”. Keenan joined her shortly in to the song, singing mostly backing vocals. The harmonized vocals rang out through the Peabody Opera House, “Home, candle you can hold, your not alone. Home, so far away, come on home. Home, a voice from within, your not alone.” This was certainly one of the strangest concert experiences of the year. It was intimate, funny, sometimes intensely heavy, and others overwhelmingly beautiful. | Bruce Matlock

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