Words & Photos by Marco Denzer

After successfully navigating a long-distance voyage from a galaxy far beyond our universe, the Pusciforce mothership landed at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre on Saturday, June 25. Out stepped Puscifer, led by agent Dick Merkin, ready to seek and identify extraterrestrial life among us, and deliver a one of a kind musical experience.  

Impecably dressed in black suit and tie, reminiscent of the outfits worn by agents K and J in the film “Men in Black”, the quintet immediately began their set with “Bread and Circus” from their 2020 release Existential Reckoning

A stark minimalist stage design, consisting mainly of a metal scaffolding with ladders in the center and two large video display screens on either side of it, closely resembled a structure one may very well find in a military installation like Area 51. With Gunnar Olsen (drums) situated on stage right and Greg Edwards (bass/keyboards) and Mat Mitchell (guitar/keyboard) on the opposite side, Maynard James Keenan (vocals) and Carina Round (vocals/keyboard) had ample room to dance in robotic like synchrony with each other, interact with the three alien characters that  play a role in the performance, and walk around incessantly from one area of the stage to another.    

Maynard and Carina occasionally stood on the upper level of the scaffolding to perform some of the songs, leaving plenty of space for the three aliens to wander on stage, survey and scan the audience with their hand-held analyzers. Seeking extraterrestrial life presumably.  

The evening’s setlist included all twelve songs from Existential Reckoning, although they weren’t played in the same order as in the record, plus an additional five tunes from the albums “V is for Vagina”, “Money Shot” and one from the movie/documentary “Blood into Wine”. A total of eighteen songs without an encore. And although the setlist didn’t include the customary final encore, it did include a couple of very humorous glitchy videos a la Max Headroom, with agent Dick Merkin in red lipstick talking about the manufacturing of SPAM, VIP celebrity cloning, and alien abductions. He even explained how Wendy O Williams of the Plasmatics had actually undergone gender affirming surgery to become “that guy Maynard James Keenan of the rock band Tool”. The videos were hilarious and had the crowd rolling! 

Additionally, with approximately six songs remaining in the show, the band paused for a brief intermission similar to the ones in theatrical productions. And upon their returned to the stage Billy D, elegantly dressed in his typical beige polyester suit, brown cowboy boots, and neatly kept blond pompadour, had replaced agent Merkin on the vocals. 

To summarize, Puscifer delivered an incredibly riveting musical performance that, coupled with a strict no cell phone use policy during the performance, thoroughly engaged the audience. There were no visual distractions from small hand-held screens during the show, and that truly guided the audience to focus on the music, video presentation, stage lighting and theatrical characters that play a role in the performance. It was an extremely refreshing and entertaining experience. 


Song Album
Bread and Circus Existential Reckoning
Postulous Existential Reckoning
Fake Affront Existential Reckoning
The Underwhelming Existential Reckoning
Grey Area Existential Reckoning
Theorem Existential Reckoning
UPGrade Existential Reckoning
Apocalyptical Existential Reckoning
The Remedy Money Shot
Personal Prometheus Existential Reckoning
A Singularity Existential Reckoning
Momma Sed “V” is for Vagina
The Humbling River Sound into Blood into Wine
Bullet Train to Iowa Existential Reckoning
Vagina Mine “V” is for Vagina
Flippant Money Shot
Conditions of My Parole Conditions of My Parole
Bedlamite Existential Reckoning

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