Home > Concert Photos, Metal, Rock & Pop > REVIEW: A Perfect Circle @ the Schnitzer (Portland, OR – 6/29/11)

REVIEW: A Perfect Circle @ the Schnitzer (Portland, OR – 6/29/11)

1st Jul 11 (Fri) Leave a comment Go to comments


A Perfect Circle [APC] is a beautiful collaboration between music-writer Billy Howerdel (Tool guitar tech, Ashes Divide frontman) and lyricist Maynard James Keenan (Tool & Puscifer frontman, winemaker).  Their first album, Mer de Noms, took the artistic approach that is also in Tool’s world into a more mainstream hardrock setting.  They dug deep into addiction-themed lyrics on their follow-up, The Thirteenth Step, and then got really politically bent on eMOTIVe (which was released on the day we failed as Americans by electing George W Bush for a 2nd term).  WTF!?  Anyway, sorry for my personal injection… here is their oeuvre to peruse if you are unfamiliar:

Their last full-length studio album (the aforementioned eMOTIVe) also showed less songwriting and way more covers… Lennon, Costello, Marvin Gaye, Zeppelin, Devo, Black Flag, Joni Mitchell, Depeche Mode, and more.  Its political nature was maybe a last “rock the vote” push in the 2004 Presidential election?  Well, the peace and war and political conflict from 2004 is still here in 2011.  It’s different, but alas it’s still here.  I think that album is still very relevant… while APC plans on releasing some new material in the near future (digital format initially), the first thing I noticed when I showed up at the Schnitzer on Wednesday night was their stage setup: camouflage curtains, ammo boxes, and military-like gear littered the stage.

This was their first show of the six-week tour… Was the show going to be a musical battle-zone?  Maynard has been quite theatrical with his live shows lately (see my Puscifer Nov ’09 review links below), but APC tends to be a different beast… Maynard in Puscifer is the outgoing one, in APC is a bit reserved, and in Tool is many times cloaked and hidden for 75% of the show.

Before digging into APC’s set, the opener…

The opener was a Japanese noise-pop hardrock trio Red Bacteria Vacuum.  The reviews I’ve read have really dissed them.  I’m a fan of this type of thing (poppy Tsu Shi Ma Me Re & noisy Melt Banana); so I dug them plenty.  Plus they were cute a button when exchanging words with the crowd… “please… to… eat you.”  Nice 30-minute sugar punk from Japan.  I didn’t have my photo pass issue sorted out for their set.  Photo above courtesy of Meats Meier.

Well, the 90 minute set from A Perfect Circle seemed less like a battle zone than the stage lead us to believe.  Not as much energy as the props suggested (a generally more subdued Maynard sticking to his perch, etc).  As far as song selection, they played a decent mix of their originals material, but the night was really heavy on the covers.  While I like their “making the song theirs” in the approach, I was hoping for more of the rawness and angst from their original tunes…

Setlist: 90 minutes

  • Annihilation [Crucifix] (false start)
  • Imagine [John Lennon]
  • Weak and Powerless
  • The Hollow
  • What’s Going On [Marvin Gaye]
  • People Are People [Depeche Mode]
  • The Outsider (lyric flub)
  • (What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? [Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello]
  • When The Levee Breaks [Led Zeppelin]
  • The Noose
  • 3 Libras (All Main Courses Mix)
  • Gravity
  • Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie [Black Flag]
  • Orestes
  • Passive
  • Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums
  • The Fiddle and the Drum [Joni Mitchell]
  • By and Down [new song]
    No encore

I was hoping for “Judith” and perhaps the Failure cover “The Nurse Who Loved Me,” but it was still a highly enjoyable night.  While there were a few flubs, it was their first tour date in a while, and they pulled off quite an entertaining show.  Maynard explained, “I’m closer to 50 than 40” in an attempt to get some forgiveness.  The band didn’t talk much, outside of a few brief apologies from Maynard and the band introductions.  The band was Maynard on vocals, guitarist/co-founder Billy Howerdel, guitarist/keyboardist James Iha, bassist Matt McJunkins, and drummer Jeff Friedl (filling in for Josh Freese who is currently out with Weezer).

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of Maynard’s bands.  This year promises some new music & tour from Puscifer, some new music from A Perfect Circle, and potentially some Tool (they’ve been in a writing phase, but they take longer).  If APC is hitting your next of the woods, do your damndest to make it out to the show…

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Portland Cello Project at Alton Baker Park / Art & the Vineyard on 7/4.

~Dan – np: Klezmerson – Siete

all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld / Pacificlectic,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

APC 2011 Tour Dates

  • May 22 – Columbus, OH @ Rock on the Range
  • June 29 – Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
  • June 30 – Kent, WA @ Showare Center
  • July 2 – Gibbons, AL @ Boonstock Festival
  • July 4 – Winnipeg, MB @ Centennial Concert Hall
  • July 6 – St. Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium
  • July 8 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
  • July 9 – Toronto, ON @ Edgefest
  • July 12 – Boston, MA @ Bank of America Pavilion
  • July 13 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
  • July 15 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
  • July 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing – Festival Pier
  • July 17 – Washington, DC @ Constitution Hall
  • July 19 – Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre
  • July 20 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
  • July 22 – San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum
  • July 23 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre
  • July 25 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
  • July 28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gibson Amphitheater
  • July 29 – Sacramento, CA @ Memorial Auditorium
  • July 30 – Berkeley, CA @ The Greek Theatre
  • August 1 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kingsbury Hall
  • August 2 – Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  • August 8 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion at Riverbent
  • August 9 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
  • August 10 – Wallingford, CT @ Oakdale Theatre
  1. Squirt
    1st Jul 11 (Fri) at 11:17 am

    Maynard’s concerts are the best!! And Bush was the best President I’ve ever seen.

  2. Craig
    1st Jul 11 (Fri) at 11:35 am

    I was at this show and I would describe it as sloppy. They blew the opening to the very first song and had to start over, Maynard forgot the lyrics to The Outsider almost singing none of the first verse, and I heard a few guitar mistakes from Billy. Billy also seemed to have a lot of guitar troubles in one song, using 3 different guitars over the course of a single song. There was also a drum mishap (broke the snare maybe?), but that happens occasionally. The drumming was actually very solid, perhaps one of the high points of the band’s performance.

    To top it off, nice dick move of leaving the lights low and letting the crowd beg for an encore for a few minutes, only to have the lights turned on without an encore. If you don’t want to play an encore, fine, but don’t tease us by leaving the lights low and us cheering to nobody.

    Song selection was not what I hoped for. It was very heavy on eMOTIVe songs. A tweet from APC the week before the show called it the eMOTIVe tour. Really? A tour to support an album 7 years old? Nobody wants to hear eMOTIVe – we want to hear Mer de Noms and 13th Step.

    The one bright spot of the show was The Outsider – fantastic song that was even more powerful live. Gave me goosebumps at the ending.

    I have a lot of respect for Maynard and Billy – I’ve seen Tool 4 times live and those shows have been nothing short of phenomenal. I love what Billy has done with Ashes Divide and saw them play in Portland a few years back. But this show just seemed sloppy and the band did not seem prepared for it. Sure it was the first show of the tour, but that doesn’t mean it’s the practice run.

    • 1st Jul 11 (Fri) at 11:41 am

      Yeah, definitely sloppy on Annihilation and The Outsider, but I didn’t get a “sloppy” vibe overall. I’ll echo your comment fairly well, but I still quite enjoyed it. Sure, not the show I was hoping for, but still a great band. I missed Ashes Divide when they came through… I hope they tour again.

  3. cook
    1st Jul 11 (Fri) at 12:57 pm

    So strange that the setlist was that heavy on covers. Not quite as excited about seeing them in a month, oh well.

    Also, Josh Freese is touring with Weezer, not Ween.

  4. Martin
    4th Jul 11 (Mon) at 8:24 pm

    I find it interesting that they only announce “after the fact” that it’s an eMotive Tour and not when the tickets were sold.

    This seems like a bait & switch to me?

    I’m not sure tickets would have sold so fast had it been an eMotive tour from the start. I also wonder if there was a change to the plan when Josh dropped out and this was the easiest route to take.

    Whatever. Tickets are bought. Still seems a bit scammy.

    Oh well.
    We’ll find out

  5. 5th Jul 11 (Tue) at 7:39 am

    OMG. I don’t think any of you, including the ridiculous “journalist” realize this is their eMotive tour. This album never had a tour and this is it. THAT’s why they’re mostly playing songs off of it. As for not stating that before selling the tickets, it was OBVIOUS as that was their last album and there was no tour. If you wanted to hear the other songs live, you’d have flown to one of the five cities where they played the entire albums from start to finish each night like I did.

    I can’t believe none of you freaked out over being the first group of people to have listened to a new song. As for Maynard fucking up the lyrics? Guess what? It happens! When you have three bands and have to memorize 10+ album’s worth of material, it happens. As much of a God we thing MJK is, he’s still a damn human being. Trent Reznor fucked the words up to Terrible Lie in Chicago during their Wave Goodbye Tour in 2008. GET OVER IT.

    I have seen APC 9 times, one of them being late May at Rock on the Range, I have tickets to Detroit for Friday, for Lollapalooza and VIP for Cincinnati and I’m STILL really psyched I get to hear ANY songs they play live because it’s a privilege to see this band. They tour very small venues and very sparingly and that helps make it really special. APC is not a bar band. If you want to hear Judith live, look up your local rock bands that cover it and go watch it, or put your iPod on repeat. APC is about delivering a message, an outstanding performance and good energy. Also, any TRUE APC fan knows that encore’s don’t exist. Get over it.

    • 5th Jul 11 (Tue) at 9:33 am

      To be fair, I don’t hold myself out to be a “journalist,” but rather a music fan who goes to tons of shows and likes to document it. I liked the show PLENTY. I also give MJK the benefit of the doubt on the lyric flubs. Sorry if it didn’t come off that way.

      I also think the people complaining about a “bait & switch” seem silly. It’s still APC, a GREAT band. I still would have bought my ticket had I known it was an eMOTIVe tour. Because it’s APC. :)


  6. larry
    5th Jul 11 (Tue) at 3:57 pm

    whatever, we were put togeater (tricked). lets face it, had the masses knoe it was an emotive tour, the tickets would NOT have sold out so fast. Emotive sucked. And you all know it. Their worst album. If you want to talk about going to bars to listen to bands play covers then this is what we get. I can pull albums from the 70’s or put them on my ipod to listen to “when the levee breaks, or whats going on”. We were tricked. we(the true fans) are once again sold out by a band that we supported and made millionares. Its unfortunate but APC sold us out.

    • 5th Jul 11 (Tue) at 4:11 pm

      That’s quite ridiculous. I’d consider myself a true fan, and I still quite enjoyed the show (regardless of its eMOTIVe bent). Sure, more MdN & 13Step would have been nice… but I would have bought my ticket just as fast had I known in advance. I find it funny how you consider yourself a “true fan” that doesn’t like all of their work (covers or not). Maybe you just wanted to hear APC play “Sober” (I saw APC in Cincinnati and some idiot yelled out for that song and Maynard gave him a snarky comeback).

  7. larry
    5th Jul 11 (Tue) at 4:30 pm

    SOBER would be great! But seriously, this band made huge money and a huge fanbase from MdN and 13Step. If Emotive would have been their first album then I GUARANTEE YOU they would not be nearly as big. I havent seen the show yet. Im going to the show in Atlanta on the 20th. But seeing a great band does not make a good show. Seeing a great band performing great songs makes a good show. What you are saying is if APC shows up and plays all covers of Barry Manilowe(or however you spell it) songs, then we should be happy. Thats crap and an easy way out for the band. They should play songs that made them famous and made people like them. The setlist should require a technical diffuctly of more than 3, like this show. And I should get my moneys’ worth. Its people like you that allow bands like this to get away with doing this to the fans. “just be happy to see them”. thats garbage. And thats why we are all getting garbage shows. If we didnt stand for it, it would not happen. I dont see why you dont realize that.

    • 5th Jul 11 (Tue) at 6:20 pm

      If eMOTIVe were their first, their fans (and “fans”) would have been set-up for a different vibe in the band. Not everything has to rock hard to be good. Playing Barry Manilow and playing the covers on an album they released is way different. Their current tour is still good… but I guess if you don’t like eMOTIVe, you may want to sell your ticket to save yourself some gripes later. I don’t think eMOTIVe is garbage, nor do I think this tour is garbage.

  8. Tanya
    7th Jul 11 (Thu) at 11:54 pm

    I appreciate this review and also Craig’s analysis. I’m also puzzled by David’s strong reaction but its to be expected online I guess. In anycase, I’m here because I’m wondering if anyone can please tell me about how long the opener played? And how long for the set change? I’m coming home from vacation the night of a show and *might* be able to make the Boston show Tuesday with another hour of time. Otherwise I might suck it up and swing down to NYC the next night. Love to see APC before heading off to South Korea for an indefinite amount of time. Please let me know about the opener if you can. Thanks!

    • 8th Jul 11 (Fri) at 6:48 am

      The opener played 30 minutes (~8-8:30), and APC went on at approx 9:00 (played til 10:30).


  1. 6th Jul 11 (Wed) at 6:59 am
  2. 8th Nov 11 (Tue) at 10:06 am
  3. 27th Dec 11 (Tue) at 5:46 am
  4. 15th Mar 12 (Thu) at 12:12 am

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