The rock band Puscifer, a project of Maynard James Keenan, presented their live musical and theatrical performance at the Baton Rouge River Center on Saturday, October 29.
Hordes of fans dressed in Halloween costumes and band merch filled the hall. Puscifer combines the talents of Keenan, British singer-songwriter Carina Round and guitarist Mat Mitchell for a truly standout experience.
Before Puscifer infiltrated the scene, the dark and electro-goth duo Nightclub opened the concert. As lead vocalist Emily Kavanaugh energetically bounced off the pulsating synth beats, flashing exchanges of red, blue and white lights lit up the stage.
After Night Club’s fantastic performance, the curtain was pulled back to reveal a geometric scenography with two massive parallel screens and a large scaffolding of ladders.
The concert, which is part of the second leg of Puscifer’s “Existential Reckoning Tour,” was based on the band’s 2020 album of the same name.
“With every album we have a different theme and that means different live production,” Round said.
Puscifer’s performances tell stories by combining elements of live theater and concerts to create a new experience like no other.
During the Baton Rouge performance, Pusicfer singer Keenan became an alien character. Keenan’s character appeared on screens on stage. His hair was slicked back and he wore a suit and bright red lipstick. He shared a post about how aliens produce spam meat from abducted humans.
Following Keenan’s message, the full band quickly appeared on stage in matching costumes to kick off the rest of the show.
While Puscifer was performing, various bald men in suits took to the stage and pulled a figure out of the crowd. Screaming, she was swept away, presumably to be turned into Spam.
To fit their roles as alien characters, Keenan and Round danced robotically stiff to Puscifer’s pulsating, avant-garde music. The music from the album “Existential Reckoning” incorporates electropop, experimental rock and industrial influences. It is unlike anything the band has produced before. All in all, these influences come together to create a wave of swinging, rhythmic songs.
Eventually, the onstage screens came back on to show Keenan’s character explaining how all the celebrities are clones from original host bodies. He cited “evidence” in the form of photos of celebrities, such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, tied together by wires on a board.
“I love seeing how the crowd reacts to our presentation,” Keenan said.
There were lots of laughs. A big part of Puscifer is that he never tries to take himself too seriously and is willing to have fun with his content and delivery.
After an intermission, Keenan and Round returned to the stage in different outfits, now playing new characters. Keenan approached people wearing alien masks and asked where he could get alcohol. This loud new character seemed to be more free-spirited than the stiff alien character before, and the aliens were happy to give him a drink.
“When in Baton Rouge, do as the natives do!” Keenan said, taking a sip of his alien-brewed drink.
Although the tour is taking place two years after the album’s release due to the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the music industry, the band said it was worth the wait.
“I always love spending time in Louisiana,” Keenan said.