Maynard James Keenan does not suffer fools gladly. But rather than get all preachy, the sometimes Tool/A Perfect Circle leader and full-time Puscifer frontman makes performance art out of his grumpiness. To wit, Puscifer’s current tour, which stops by UB’s Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. April 5, finds the event proper prefaced by a video in which Keenan appears dressed as a tough-guy general to remind audience members that their ticket stub advises them to refrain from photography and videography during the show, and this is not meant as a joke. The subtext? Be here in the moment, now, and participate in the event.
What follows is the entirety of Puscifer’s new album, the brilliant, cutting-edge and occasionally disturbing “Money Shot,” performed by a stellar ensemble of musicians able to lend an organic muscle to its forays into progressive electronic music, with Keenan and co-vocalist Carina Round sharing the sublime vocal harmonies that are a trademark of the Puscifer sound. There’s humor here, as is always the case with Puscifer, but there is depth of commentary, too, and genuine beauty.
Tool fans, frustrated by the long stretches of inactivity, tend to make fools of themselves via social media, endlessly complaining and demanding new music from their heroes. Tool is a magnificent band, to be sure, but so is Puscifer. In fact, one might reasonable argue that there is more dynamic range on offer with Keenan’s side project, and that Puscifer is a band very much in the here and now, one that treats nostalgia as anathema. If you’re complaining about the radio silence in Tool land to the point that you’re missing out on the magnificence of Puscifer, that truly is your loss. Keenan’s general will not be pleased.
Tickets are $45 and $59.50 (box office, Tickets.com).