Puscifer live in Pennsylvania, US, 2016

Puscifer began as faux band when Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Adam Jones made a cameo appearance in the mid 90’s HBO sketch comedy show, Mr. Show with Bob and David. Puscifer became a reality with the release of their first album, “V is For Vagina”, in 2007. Also that year, the band also released two singles, the humorous “Cuntry Boner” and a cover of the Circle Jerks, “World Up My Ass”. Since that time, the band has released three full length studio albums, a live album, several remixes and a DVD entitled What is…Puscifer. Their third album, “Money Shot”, was delivered in 2015 to rave reviews. Over the years the band has changed members, by design it seems, and the current lineup consists of Carina Round and Keenan (vocals), Jeff Friedl (drums), Paul Barker (bass), Mat Mitchell (guitar) and Mahsa Zargaran (keyboard).
Puscifer Reading Show 2016 poster
Puscifer performed on April 10, 2016 at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. Located 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the venue is an intimate theater that was built in the 1870’s. It has excellent acoustics and every seat offers great views of the stage.
A merchandise table was set up in the foyer area that had a wide variety of Puscifer gear for sale, from shirts to artwork. It was impossible to walk away without making a purchase as there seemed to be something to suit every taste. I was hoping they’d offer Keenan’s Caduceus wine for purchase, but unfortunately there was none. I settled for a “Luchafer” tour shirt and made my way into the theater.
The show began promptly at 7:30 pm, with a video recorded public service message from Keenan’s “Major Douche” persona. Puscifer has a clever sense of humor, so the video was amusing, but the message was clear. No photos or video recording was permitted during the show. If you’ve attended a Puscifer show in the past, then you know it is an experience that is best appreciated without the interference of an electronic device. Fortunately, no glowing cell phone screens were observed during the show. The audience was so riveted to the performance that it’s likely most forgot they possessed a phone.
The opening act was a lucha libre wrestling group, Luchafer, which consisted of several men and women. Their performance was wildly entertaining and elicited many oohs, aahs and laughs from the audience. Their wrestling antics were very well done and as one would expect, humor was woven into their show. When the act was over, I was sorry to see them leave.
After a short break, Puscifer took the stage. Carina Round and Keenan performed from the wrestling ring, while drummer Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle), bassist Paul Barker (ex-Ministry), guitarist Mat Mitchell and keyboardist Mahsa Zargaran (Omniflux) all performed from areas outside of the ring. Musically, they were superb and vocally, Round and Keenan delivered amazing harmonies. Coupled with the video production, Puscifer took the crowd on a journey that stimulated both vision and sound. The first three songs, “Simultaneous”, “Galileo” and “Agostina”, were from their new album. From there, they played 17 more from their growing catalogue. The show stirred the emotions of the crowd throughout the night and the performance was extraordinary.
The band finished the show after a two song encore that left the audience wanting more. Thought provoking, complex, superbly composed and perfectly played sums up the evening. What seemed to be a brief side-project for Keenan nine years ago, has turned out to be something much larger and that is a wonderful for any music lover. If you are fortunate enough to have Puscifer visit your town, do yourself a favor and go to the show. The performance will stay with you for a long while. I look forward to the day they return.