Where to begin. Where to begin indeed.
It was imperative to grab some dinner before picking up the cameras and snapping away. Driving around, Mark and I decided that Popeyes is the place to be. After standing in line patiently waiting my turn I walked up to the counter and ordered a 2 piece meal and for my side I went with the mashed potatoes and cajun gravy. I tend to bounce back and forth between the mashed potatoes and the cajun rice – bonus when I get the 3 piece meal because then I get to have both sides. Tonight I chose to go a little lighter and got the meal with one less piece of chicken and one less side. As I was ordering I couldn’t help but notice that the guy behind the counter was fluctuating between looking down at my shirt and up at my face, needless to say I was puzzled. My first thought was that I had spilled something on me,but I quickly realized that couldn’t be the case because I hadn’t had anything to eat that I could spill in me between putting on my shirt and standing in front of the curious employee behind the counter.
With my order placed the inquisitive Popeyes guy turned around to start assembling my meal for the evening. With his attention diverted I stole a glance down to my shirt to figure out what was so interesting and distracting to him. Aha! The shirt of the evening was my Captain Spaulding’s Fried Chicken and Gasoline – “it’s just tastes so damn good!” Yeah, I went to a chicken place wearing a shirt advertising a gas station and chicken stop for the movie House of 1000 Corpses. I turned to Mark, pointed at my shirt and said “I didn’t even realize” and we had a brief chuckle about it.
Between the spicy fried chicken and the fluffy and buttery biscuit, Popeyes has ruined fried chicken for me. It is a very rare place that can compare to their offerings – and Astro Donut’s fried chicken sandwich with an Old Bay donut bun is one of those rare exceptions. The first thing I always do is mix the potatoes and gravy up and then start dipping the biscuit in the mushy goodness. Once the biscuit has been devoured I then finish off the rest of the potatoes before digging into the chicken. The first victim On the chicken front is always the drumstick, food with its own handle, genius! After that I finish the meal off with the thigh. A complete and tasty meal as always.
You are probably asking yourself what this has to do with Puscifer and the concert, I’m getting to that.
Not unlike many shows these days there was a quest before the music started for people to not take pictures, video, or audio of the show – your humble photographer excluded from his request, at least for the first two songs. I was pleased to see that people overwhelmingly held tight to that request, aside from a random person. It was nice to see people actually enjoying the show and fully engaged rather than living the concert experience trapped behind their cell screens.
The opening act was off the stage and it was time for the main event. The requests for not recording made, it was music time.
Attending a Puscifer concert is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the ears. To say that the band sounded good or tight is a complete understatement. The audience was woven into the music from one song to the next. This is not a show where every few songs the audience is addresses, no time for chatting because there is a performance to be had.
Split into three acts and an encore the audience is guided along the discography of the band, a surreal landscape. While it felt odd to be in a seated venue I do think that it was the best location for the show. People didn’t have to shuffle from one foot to the other or push their way to the front. We collectively were able to focus on the experience the band was creating without the distraction of being pushed or squeezed by several hundred of our closest friends. I’m not saying every show should be like this, far from it, but I think it was the right choice for this group.
Usually at shows I don’t really have to worry about seeing the action on the stage. Standing over 6 feet I can typically see over or around people easily enough. Seated shows, for the right band of course, means that your height isn’t going to be an issue. I also like the idea that I don’t have to be self conscious about standing in front of someone shorter and then blocking their view. I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ and for this show I wasn’t.
There were things happening I was completely surprised about. I knew that given the history of Puscifer and how they are in concert that I shouldn’t expect a typical concert and boy was I right. I was amazed at the performance and the how everything went together. This isn’t a type of concert to hoot and holler during the songs. This is a concert where you sit back, open your ears, eyes, and brain and soak in as much of the experience as possible. Puscifer on stage that night was not a show that will be tossed into the memory banks under the same category heading as most shows, it was an exploration of the fantastical.
Is this review not really going as you expected? I know the thoughts going on in your head right now ‘but Joshua, by now you are breaking down the setlist, talking about the lighting, giving little bits of insight into shooting shows’ and then some. Near the end of the concert and just before the encore, Maynard addressed the audience. As he was starting to talk he did see someone pull up a phone. After pointing that person out, he made a plea to that individual and any others that felt they didn’t need to heed the request of the band, “please don’t post the pictures and video. You paid money to see this show and saw things you didn’t expect. Don’t spoil it for anyone else. Let them be surprised on their own with everything that goes on.” When I heard that I immediately thought ‘ well hell, how do I do a write-up of a show he is asking people not to spoil for others?’ I figured why not just take a page from the Puscifer handbook and give you something you didn’t expect. I will, of course, show the images from the show because, well, that is my task of the evening. Just because I’m showing images doesn’t mean I have to give everything away – I’ll let the images stand on their own.
Bottom line, go see Puscifer whenever that is an option, grab some dinner beforehand and prepare yourself for something…different.
Puscifer – Strathmore