The Pearl, Dec. 10

Whether fronting Tool, A Perfect Circle or Puscifer, Maynard James Keenan does nothing halfway. Following a 20-minute mockumentary featuring Keenan as hillbilly troubadour Billy Dee, Keenan wheeled out an Airstream trailer and unloaded camping chairs, tables, a grill with faux flames and even a fake snake as he spoke about the need to “reconnect with life’s uncertain balance.” Opening act Carina Round, who complemented Keenan’s vocals, exited the trailer to help with setup before Keenan wheeled out the band’s drum kit on a flatbed trailer. From there, the show was a perfect fusion of music and art, with the set list drawing heavily from Puscifer’s latest release, Conditions of My Parole. Colorful, vivid backdrops heightened each pulsating, textured song: Orange sunbursts illustrated the foreboding “The Rapture,” icy blue light and a snowfall accompanied the hum of “Polar Bear,” sea green accentuated the serenity of “Oceans,” and beautiful desert landscapes and rich lavender illuminated atmospheric track “Monsoons.” Keenan spent much of the show standing upstage, as is his norm, appearing as just a cowboy hat-wearing silhouette as he swayed back and forth as if casting spells during the psychedelic stomp of “Dozo.” Members of Round’s band, and even Keenan himself, sat at the tables onstage and drank wine, as did chef Kerry Simon, who provided a giant ball of cotton candy that the musicians periodically picked from. It was an evening filled with bombastic blasts of color, sound and energy, almost like experiencing an aural, prismatic desert sunrise while on acid—and it was beautiful.

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Book Jacket

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