Puscifer (w/ Into The Presence)
04/04/09 – Club Nokia/Los Angeles, CA
Words/Photo by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
There is a time to think for yourself, and question authority. There is also a time to simply respect the wishes of someone you deeply admire. At Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles this past Saturday night, I listened to the pre-taped video message by Major Douche (AKA Maynard James Keenan), and did not take flash photography or videos (I did sneak one cell phone photo) of Puscifer (pronounced by most as pussy fur), the latest mind blowing project by the Tool/A Perfect Circle front man. After all, I was just lucky enough to be in the building for the sold out rock & roll revival meets cabaret performance and I didn’t want to upset the mad scientist meets preacher in action.
The evening started at 9pm sharp with a brief but solid performance by up and coming rock band Into The Presence. The group (featuring Tim Alexander & Luis Carlos Maldonado) kicked the 25 minute support set off with the rocking “End Game”. Playing songs from their upcoming self titled debut record, the band managed to win over a nice chunk of the sold out crowd. Full of rich yet delicate tones, songs like “Lovers” and “Garden” crept into the subconscious of the crowd who were cordial, but ready for the main event. The band closed their set with a rocking version of “Dear Father” which gave the acts various musicians a chance to show off their chops. Look for the band the during the entire month of April performing residencies in Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston
After a brief set change where fans mingled while drinking Keenan’s Chupacabra wine from his Arizona vineyard, the night kicked off with the earlier mentioned pre-taped video message by Major Douche. Shortly after Major Douche had us scream the word VAGINA after he counted to the Roman numeral III, a man of the cloth took to the stage. Father Tremendous as he calls himself (played by comedian Jim Turner) handed out $20 bills to fans, talked about repenting our sins, and introduced an elderly Maynard James Keenan. Rolling out on a Segway scooter with a bad comb over and a juicy track suit with Jesus bedazzled across his ass, the band launched into the revivals first song – “Sour Grapes”. With the catchy chorus of “Hallelujah” and Keenan informing us that we had to get right with Jesus, I realized very quickly that I was about to witness some severe cerebral carnage. As old man Keenan rolled off the stage (he would be rejoining us via live feed from a hotel room filled with hookers over the course of the evening) the band jammed a bit while its mastermind made a relatively quick costume change
Over the next 75 minutes (give or take a few) the band (which featured two drummers including Tim Alexander; Rani Sharone on bass, mad genius Jonny Polansky on various instruments and the beautiful Juliette Commagere on vocals) the spiritually blessed musicians performed numbers from the 2008 record “V Is For Vagina”. Keenan returned to the stage in his best televangelist suit and dark sunglasses, and much like with his other two bands managed to hide towards the back of the stage (this of course is when he was not refilling the glasses of his own Jesus Juice for the various musicians on stage). While the audience could see the bodies of both Keenan and Commagere, their faces were hidden behind a black and white TV monitor. On the monitor were the two singers face, as they each had a fish eyed lens hooked up to their end of the TV. Thus you got a really unique view of both of their faces while they performed.
It takes real talent to pull of gospel fueled porn funk, and the secret weapon that made the music stand out was the vocals of Commagere. As beautiful as the singer is on the outside, the vocalist knew when to be strong, when to be soft, but somehow always managed to come off as erotic. After all, not just any old singer can get couples across the packed house to bump and grind through their clothes as they sing a song titled after a verse from the end of the good book (Rev 22:20).
Not to be out done, each of the players in this whacky collective truly helped Keenan create a unique musical performance that was both serious and satirical, touching, yet totally out of touch with reality. I mean really, who makes gospel music to grind too? Likewise, what the heck was up with all the BOB messages? Is that the Tool Third Eye Graphic/Gay Teletubby/Pot Belly Pig hybrid that kept speaking out of its vagina? I was there, and I can’t even tell you.
The show ended with a few special guests. Model/Actress & Folk Singer Milla Jovovich joined the band onstage. She managed to flirt with Commagere, tease Keenan (who joked that he had slipped a ruphie into her Jesus Juice) all while the tall Ukrainian born triple threat slinked around onstage in a tiny, tiny white dress that showed off a lot of leg. Jovovich hung around long enough to join the band for two songs, but the last number of the night – “Queen B” was very hard to hear as Tool drummer Danny Carey took to one of the drum kits. As the crowd went crazy the band played one more sex type hymns much to the crowds delight. As the band left the stage, we were joined by old man Keenan and his various women of the night (who for the record was fighting the temptation of the four very unattractive hookers) for a quick story about making a sandwich. The moral of the entire night was explained with very detailed directions. When making a sandwich where you had to pray for the meat, make sure you take the plastic off the cheese, it tastes much better. After witnessing Puscifer live, it makes perfect sense to me.