Review : Kelly Besaw
Photos: Chris Besaw
A Perfect Circle made a stop on their current North American tour at the War Memorial at the Oncenter in Syracuse, NY on Sunday. The band is on the road as a prelude to their touted upcoming album to be released sometime in 2018. A new single “Doomed” was issued this past October to pacify the anxious fans. APC has not released an album since their 2004 collection of covers titled Emotive.
The show started promptly at 7:30. Opening act The Beta Machine is on tour in support of their debut EP release All This Time. Despite a few technical difficulties, the band stayed calm and worked their way through a melodic and harmonious set. Bassist Matt McJunkins promised he and drummer Jeff Friedl would be back in a few minutes before leaving the stage. Friedl and Mc Junkins are both in Keenan’s spin off band Puscifer and A Perfect Circle.
Between sets there were multiple warnings about the use of cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices resulting in ejection. This policy was hardcore. I got yelled at for trying to send a quick message to my son’s sitter in between the sets. Not sure who or what I was taking pictures or videos of when there was no one onstage but be warned they are very serious about this policy.
A Perfect Circle took the stage behind a semitransparent curtain and lead off with “The Package” from Thirteenth Step. The shadows of band members Billy Howerdel, James Iha, Maynard James Kennan, Matt McJunkins and Jeff Friedl could be seen moving around the stage. It was a pretty cool effect. A few notes into the second song “The Hollow,” the curtain dropped. Howerdel was the most active running around the stage, engaging fans. Maynard remained hidden in low lights and a cloud of smoke for much of the show. James Iha also remained in the background allowing McJunkins to take the lead.
APC worked their way through a nineteen song setlist. Keenan’s vocals melded flawlessly with Howerdel’s and McJunkin’s on the John Lennon cover “Imagine” and the Brinsley Schwartz cover “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.” The guitars and drums created a rhythmic grind in the politically charged “Counties Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums.” The live version gave me chills.
The band did not take any breaks. Keenan paused only for a moment to introduce the band. Iha took the spotlight for a quick satire on the cold weather in Syracuse and they were right back to the music. They played a two-hour set that culminated with their new single “The Doomed,” followed by “The Outsider” and they ended the evening with the softer melodic tune “Feathers.”