March 23, 2012
Sprint Center - March 11, 2012
Let's just start this one right here:
Morning Mr. Magpie
All I Need
The Daily Mail
Supercollider ( tour debut )
Identikit ( song restarted after Clive messed up on drums. Halfway through second attempt, house lights came on )
How to Disappear Completely ( tour debut )
Everything In Its Right Place
Give Up the Ghost
Soak that bad boy in.
I'm pretty big on pre-concert prep. Having at least a cursory grasp of the potential setlist based on internet research of previous shows is essential. It's just proper preparation. It's the fireproof matches of your camping trip. It's Walter Sobchak's uzi. You didn't think I was gonna roll out there naked, did you?
That said, I deviated from my routine on this one. I left the matches at home. I rolled out there naked and free of expectation. Avoiding online setlists for this show was akin to listening to your best friend really open up to you about how they felt when their grandma died, while noticing the Phoebe Cates scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High come on the TV over their shoulder. Must. Not. Look. Except it lasts for weeks.
All things considered, I should have been immeasurably excited for this show. And I was excited. But it was just more of an intellectual excitement for some reason. It was an awareness of the existence of the proper elements required to create excitement, but it really wasn't actual EXCITEMENT. I had forgotten what I learned at the first two Radiohead shows.
I'm pretty sure my frequent concert-attender teammate?, Pedro Inteligente, fell victim to the same lack of true anticipatory excitement as well. Here's how our pre Radiohead-takes-the-stage conversation went:
Me: "Is there anybody you'd want to walk on that stage next more than Radiohead?"
Pedro: (actually it doesn't really matter what he said here, because anything besides the answer "no," proves my point about the incorrect level of excitement for what was about to happen...and for the record, he did try to list a couple bands.)
Me: "I think you might be wrong."
*Radiohead takes the stage and launches into the song "Bloom..."*
Pedro Inteligente: *taps me on the shoulder* "No."
And so it began.
Having not looked at the setlists from previous shows, there was a lot of talk amongst those of us at the show as to what they might lead with. An opening song is a funny thing. It's definitely a tone-setter, but in all reality the anticipation at certain shows rises to a level that the band could literally walk out there and play their absolute worst song and it would kill. I'm actually torn as to whether I think a band should use the anticipation as a crutch to play a song that might not get much love later in the set, or just come out and shred faces with a hit. I'd say they did the former. But it worked. I got chills. And I don't really even like that song all that much. Radiohead is better than me.
Thom had a ponytail and beard. Ed O'Brien (rhythm guitar, vocals) had on one of those top-hatty fedora-type hats. They have added another bald, Uncle Fester drummer. The stage setup, although pretty with its wall of lights behind and 12 mechanically moving flatscreens above, was somewhat less mesmerizing than the In Rainbows tour where they had the LED light strips surrounding all members on the stage.
The sound quality from our seats (lower section, 9th row, decently close) was great. I love it when I hear parts of songs live that I never noticed on the album because the mix is slightly different. There were times during this show where I picked up on some of the crazy guitar layers Jonny Greenwood creates, simply because it wasn't as buried as it might be on the studio mix.
I'm definitely the type of Radiohead fan who (since Kid A) routinely feels a sinking feeling of doom when I hear their newest album for the first time. I think it's over. I conclude it was just too much concentrated creative achievement in too short a time. They've lost it. Now they're trying to be innovative for innovation's sake. Then I see them perform these new songs live. And I repent.
I was truly not expecting "Pyrmaid Song," How to Disappear Completely," "Myxamatosis," or "Everything In Its Right Place." Additionally, "The Daily Mail" was much better than I expected.
The song of the night was "Idioteque," although honestly I can't think of one single song that wasn't excellent. I know that's super boring to read, but it was a rare show. Even at my absolute favorite shows, I'm ready to go after 2 hours. I truly could have stayed and listened to 10 more songs, easily. They played for over 2 hours and it felt like 30 minutes.
How I forgot the magnitude of the greatness of a Radiohead show is beyond me, I just hope I get the chance to make that mistake again soon.
Here's a couple from the KC show:
March 10, 2012
Kansas City Music Hall - March 6, 2012
Almost 3 years to the day since the last actual concert review on this site. I think I'm almost refreshed. Let's see if I remember how to tell you about stuff.
Oh Puscifer, what a name you have chosen for your band. Here's how liking a band with this name works...
Old lady at the grocery store who you have "chatted up" because it's 75 degrees out in early March and it makes you prone to chat up old grocery store ladies: "Well dear, what are you going to do with this swell weather tonight?"
Me: "I'm actually going to a concert."
Nice old lady: "Oh, that's nice. Who are you seeing?"
Me: (cold sweat...do I just say it? I mean, it's not the ACTUAL word, right? Heh heh. *swallow* "Oh, it's just the side project of the lead singer of my favorite band."
And then you have to just violently rain a full bag of trail mix (make sure you use the kind with the wasabi peas-the aged don't abide spicy things) down on her entire old body to distract her from the obvious next question, which is "What's their name?" Now you've committed an assault on a senior because you were trying to avoid committing a sexual misdemeanor on a senior just by saying the name of the stupid band you're seeing. Thanks Maynard. Just Pusciferfect.
Here's the setlist:
The Green Valley
The Rapture (Fear is a Mind Killa Mix)
Conditions of My Parole
This was the second show I got to catch on this Puscifer tour (the first was in St. Louis last Fall before Mayney took some time out for a quick Tool tour), so I had a good idea what to expect. Maynard isn't one to make drastic changes to the shows of any of the 3 bands he fronts during a given tour. What you see in KC is what you see in Toledo is what you see in Atlanta.
The show starts with a 20ish minute comedy video starring Maynard himself as a southern punk-bluegrass singer, and his wife/cousin/bandmate, Hildy. It's a good warmup, although people who follow Maynard are wont to over-appreciate everything he does, as was apparent by the inordinately passionate laughing during certain parts of the video. Oh well, I guess there are definitely less talented people in the world to over appreciate.
During the video, one might take notice that the stage is curiously empty and void of any of the standard apparatuses one would typically associate with a rock concert. Absent are the mic stands, the drum kit, the floor pedals of a guitarist. There is no keyboard. No bass. No monitors. Just a black stage with glowy tape. At this point any seasoned concert-goer is thinking, "Sweet, they're not coming on for another 45 minutes, minimum." You are wrong, seasoned concertperson, how dare you underestimate the uniqueness of Puscifer!
The next thing that happens on stage is actually pretty damn cool. Out walks Maynard. In a full-length leather trench coat, boots, and a cowboy hat. He's pulling an RV trailer. An actual RV trailer. An Airstream. And it's Maynard. And you can see him. He's not just some strange and elusive shadow figure doing his, what I call, butter churn trance dance towards the back of the stage. He's a dude in a cowbot hat. Minds are being blown, you can feel it. I'm telling you man, people think this guy is truly an alien lifeforce. Get on the internet, I'm not making it up. But here he is, alone, pulling an RV. After getting it into place on the stage, he catches his breath, and launches into a 10 minute monologue on what Puscifer is, as it pertains to the intersection of creativity as a means of survival, and as a natural result of the human race's refinement of reactions to patterns that emerge from repeating a survivalistic lifestyle. Or something. I bet the old lady at the grocery store would think it was swell.
During the monologue he's pulling things out of the RV and placing them on the stage. Camping chairs, tables, wine, a weber grill with fake fire, his female vocalist, Corina Round. He then invites the rest of the band out, who all bring out their respective intruments and devices.
Let's do this.
From there, the chattiness ends for the majority of the rest of the show as the band goes fairly rapid-fire through the set. The setlist is definitely heavy on the new album, which is good, and the visuals that are projected onto the huge screen behind the band get increasingly better as the show progresses.
Short comedy pieces are played on the screen between certain songs which sort of work as surrogate band-crowd interaction. The sophomoric nature of the comedy is a stark contrast to the moody darkness and sometimes prettiness of the music, but it somehow helps break things up and give the show a little more shape.
Admittedly, I probably like the things Maynard puts into the world a little more than I should (I've even tried his wine), but I feel confident in saying this show is truly unique. The music itself may or may not move you the way it does me, but it's safe to say the overall "performance" is not unlike a variety show. The combination of visuals, comedy, music, and philosophic monologues make this feel less like a concert and more like Vegas show or a play. That being said, the musicianship was excellent, and the sound mix was very balanced, allowing all instruments and voices to be heard clearly.
A note about these videos...security is super tight for these shows. The band does not appreciate bootlegged videos on the www. There are not a plethora of high quality vids to choose from on youtube, but here's a couple decent ones: