Show Review: Puscifer’s Existential Reckoning Tour at Stage AE in Pittsburgh

Photos and Review by Jeff Lasich

After touring with his other band, Tool, in the spring, Maynard James Keenan stopped in Pittsburgh again with his other band, Puscifer. The band is touring off their last studio record, Existential Reckoning, which came out in October 2020. I got to the show about 20 minutes after the doors opened and the line still seemed endless. I wasn’t sure how the turnout was going to be, but it was packed!

The show was opened by LA noise rapper, Moodie Black. The stage was lit with dark red lighting, with a video screen in the middle. On each side was a drummer and guitar player. The vocals started prior to Kristen Martinez’s entrance onto the stage. She paced the stage from end to end while dropping lyrics that oozed emotion. The 3 piece held the audience’s attention for their entire set, which is always a challenge when the crowd is there for a different style of music.

Prior to Puscifer hitting the stage, Agent Dick Merkin appeared on video to remind the crowd to leave their phones in their pockets or the run the risk of being turned into spam. The lights went off and the band appeared on stage that featured an elaborate setup. Lots of lights and scaffolding let you knew you were in for something different. The band is theatrical rock, and the definitely set themselves apart from other bands. Maynard and Carina Round share vocal duties, while Gunnar Olsen, Matt Mitchell and John Moreau. The band gives off X-Files/Men in Black vibes, which goes well with the underlying alien theme. You can tell everyone in the band is having a great time, and it infects the crowd. There are several “acts” and characters during the show. Keenan is way different in this band than he is in Tool. He is able to be weird and quirky without being annoying or irritating. And it works. Even if you’ve never heard Puscifer and they are coming near you, I highly suggest you checking the show out. It is a very entertaining two hours.

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