After a six year hiatus, Puscifer brought their fourth full length album the Existential Reckoning Tour to McCaw Hall to probe the audience with aliens, and music. Oh… and to end the first leg of their tour.
McCaw hall is not normally the place where you would see jeans, t-shirts or merch booths. But Sunday night the home of the Seattle Symphony and the Pacific Northwest Ballet was the scene where a sold out crowd of almost three thousand fans diehard Puscifer fans congregated.
At precisely 7:30pm, the Minnesota based Moodie Black took the stage. This three piece band played a five-song set that had them bathed in solid red light. This is a band that seemed to connect with some audience members, but confused the others due to their mix of noise, rap and spoken-word poetry. All while a large video screen projected glitching holograms at the center of the stage. All of this came together into an amalgamation that seem to fit the uniqueness of the show as a whole perfectly.
At 8:45pm sharp, the lights dimmed and projector screen in the middle of the stage came alive showing a video of Maynard James Keenan aka Agent Dick Merkin explaining how anyone who violated the cellphone policy would be “ground up in two oversized meat processors to a fine paste” and used as the secret ingredient to the mystery meat known as SPAM. The lights then dimmed, the screen rose, and the band took the stage. With Gunnar Olsen assuming his position behind the drums, Josh Moreau taking center stage in front the large steel scaffolding that anchored the stage design. While Mat Mitchell and Keenan and Carina Round took their places on stage left.
With the every member of the band in complete Men In Black costumes to go along with the alien theme of Existential Reckoning. The set started with the opening track of said album, “Bread And Circus.” The lights slowly getting brighter as the music kept building until all the members of the band were washed in blue light.
Between the first and second song, Merkin took the time to introduce the members of the band and to also say “…if your phones are out, you’ll be removed from the audience”. The band then played “Postulous” which featured some interesting dancing from both singers which then brought out more MIB agents to scan the area for extraterrestrials. It was towards the end of the song when hilarity ensued. A Billy D impostor (a recurring Pusciverse character) was at the stage edge and was pointed out by Agent Merkin to his fellow special agents, who quickly extracted him from the crowd all while Merkin and others on the stage chanted “SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM”.
At the end of the first set, the stage went black and the screen dropped from above with a video of Dick Merkin discussing how Pusciforce had discovered a hidden cloning facility operated by aliens. He then went on by saying “… it appears to be run by a combination of genetic engineers, public relation biologist, booking agents, and smug social media influencers, all our extra terrestrial in nature. The purpose of the clones is still a mystery, but it appears that the aliens are either duplicating and/or replacing red carpet celebrities that have been [deemed] mediocre or [with] outdated fashion sensibilities.” Explaining how cloning has gone horribly wrong.
As the screen went up again, the band made their way back out with everyone on the stage with Keenan and Round on a scaffolding center stage. Opening the second act with “Apocalyptical” which was followed by “The Underwhelming” and included “Momma Sed”. As the lights rose upon the completion of “Momma Sed”, a couple was seen in the front where a gentleman had got down on one knee and proposed to his now fiancé, Who of course said, YES!! The second act closed out with the fan favorite “The Humbling River”.
With the screen coming down again, another Dick Merkin video comes up. This time though he was explaining how the aliens are infiltrating the world. Even going as far as mocking his real identity and explaining how the late Wendy O. Williams did not actually die. But actually went through sexual reassignment to not be a clone and is now known as Maynard James Keenan. He then explained how Post Malone was a horrible experiment gone wrong.
Following a brief 6 minute intermission Keenan was atop the scaffolding, but was now dressed as his alter ego, Billy D. He wandered around the stage drinking whiskey and looking for refills from the aliens. With a bullhorn in his hand, Billy D goes into “Conditions Of My Parole,” with the whole crowd singing as loud as they can. After the song is done, Billy D thanks everyone for coming and states that they have recorded two more Pay-Per-Views that will come out in October. “And oh yeah, you can bring your stupid cellphones out for this last song and record it and take photos. Fuck what Keenan says!” The band ended with “Bedlamite” which was a fitting way to the end the show with how the world is today. And that everything is going to be alright.
After it was all said and done with all of the aliens, and probings, Puscifer had thrilled their diehard fans with nearly two hours of at least one offering from each of their studio albums. And in the end, this had to be one of the most interesting and amazing performances that McCaw Hall has ever had within its walls.
Photos and Review by: Jared Ream
Agent Dick Merkin Video (Spam)
Bread and Circus
Agent Dick Merkin Video (Celebrity Clone)
Momma Sed (Tandimonium mix)
The Humbling River (Duet Mix)
Agent Dick Merkin Video (Afflictions)
Bullet Train to Iowa
Conditions of My Parole
Agent Dick Merkin Video (Bop It!)