We Love Music

We Love Music: Puscifer @ Lisner Auditorium, 11/26/11

All images courtesy of Puscifer

Are you a Tool fan? How about A Perfect Circle? Well, I hope you skipped your chance to see their front-man Maynard James Keenan on Saturday night. Maynard brought his solo project Puscifer to the Lisner Auditorium for what was supposedly a large production – part multimedia experience, part cabaret. The entire show fell far short of the high bar he set with his other bands. The whole performance wasn’t engaging; the humor seemed to be aimed at 15-year-olds.

Maynard describes Puscifer as a “sketchpad of ideas”, which is an apt description of this collection of half-baked thoughts. This is Maynard unfiltered! I actually enjoy some of their music, for those rare moments where I could just rock out and enjoy the songs; but the entire content of the show was a waste of potential. The whole performance struck me as more sarcastic than passionate. Maynard didn’t even seem to be having a good time; it’s like the whole band were just going through the motions of performing. I go to concerts all the time and watch bands desperate to have their voices heard, desperate to connect with the audience somehow. So I found it a bit insulting for Maynard to think that the detritus of his creativity was enough to sell to us at $45 a ticket.

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Entertainment, We Love Music

We Love Music: A Perfect Circle @ DAR Constitution Hall, 7/17/11

A Perfect Circle 1
All photos courtesy of A Perfect Circle

When I heard that A Perfect Circle was coming to DAR Constitution Hall, I had a ton of questions. The band has been on hiatus for seven years; Maynard’s been working with Tool, Billy Howerdel formed Ashes Divide, and the other members ran off with Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. Why reform the band? Do they still have ‘it’? Are they going to ruin my positive memories of the group? I’m pretty much required to go to this, having seen them and Tool every chance I’ve ever gotten, right?

When the songs were right, the show was fantastic. These guys are actually capable of writing beautiful songs, with rich harmonies and epic crescendos that moved the entire audience. But their setlist was tragic. Out of their three studio albums, the setlist was weighted heavily towards 2004’s Emotive, a political album about the Iraq war that they rushed to release in time for the 2004 election. This isn’t just my opinion; it is objectively true that Emotive is no fan’s favorite album. It’s an album of cover songs! That means almost half of the show wasn’t even original A Perfect Circle material! That might be okay for a bar band, but not for a major group that’s selling out DAR. I can’t think of a show I’ve seen that defied fan’s hopes and expectations more than this one.

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