Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’

REVIEW: Puscifer @ Paramount Theatre (Seattle, WA – 11/7/11)

8th Nov 11 (Tue) 15 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW are at the BOTTOM

A 6 week tour from Puscifer with no Oregon date?  Well, pack up and drive to Seattle is what I’ll do!  Seeing as Conditions of My Parole is vying quite strongly for one of my favorite albums of 2011 (and a marked improvement on Puscifer’s already strong work previously), I wasn’t going to miss this one.

This was only my second time to the Paramount Theatre (first time was for Spinal Tap Unwigged in 2009).  It’s a really gorgeous venue.

I opted for the “VIP” plan; so 99 other rabids & I got to see a special “VIP Soundcheck” performance… stripped down acoustic on both songs – “The Chain” [Fleetwood Mac] and the personal favorite “The Humbling River” (with Carina Round on banjo).  Maynard flubbed the lyrics slightly to the Fleetwood Mac song and joked about needing to google the lyrics later.  After their short warm-up, Maynard talked about what they were trying to do with Puscifer – small, indie, sustainable.  He joked about that with their small distributor that “even Hot Topics won’t take their call.”  He thanked us for our support and then they left…

Also, being a sucker for Maynard, I also opted for the wine tasting session… For those not in the know, Maynard is an artist.  He started with Tool.  Branched out with Billy Howerdel on A Perfect Circle.  But then he found his creative juices flowing with his boutique Caduceus Cellars / Merkin Vineyards in Jerome, Arizona.  He makes fantastic wine with Eric Glomski and much help from his local friends… I’ve nabbed a few bottles in Ohio when I lived there, had some tastings at the 1st night Nov 2009 Puscifer show in Portland, and finally was able to direct order some at a local bottle shop in Eugene, Oregon (thanks, 16 Tons!).

Last night, we had the Merkin Vineyards’ The Diddler (2010) & Chupacabra (2010) and the Caduceus Cellars’ Sancha (2009).  The Diddler was a nice white, primarily California Viognier, Arizona Pinot Grigio/Chardonnay/Malvasia Blanca blend.  It was floral aromatic and a sweet in the nose, dry with a little sweet on the tongue.  I’ve had the Chupacabra before (2005 & 2006).  As a shape-shifter, it changes with each vintage.  The 2010 had caramel and toffee on the nose.  It was a deep, rich Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah blend with all California grapes.  The final wine was special, the 2009 Sancha was a gorgeous all Arizona grape Tempranillo blend (with Garnacha).  Dark, deep fruity nose, slightly chalky tannins (thanks to the host for pointing out chalkiness in some tannins).  I love Tempranillo!  Maynard came up to the room we were in near the end of the tasting and flashed us the peace sign and said “thanks.”  Much less interaction than two years ago, but he’s a busy guy.

“Drink responsibly… even at a rock show!”
-Puscifer road manager

I missed the front end of Carina Round’s opening set due to wine tasting and needing to run to my car to get my camera.  Her short (30 minute?) set struck me as a singer-songwriter turned rocker.  I like her sound, and I have enjoyed some of her singles in the past.  Her latest is the 2009 EP – Things You Should Know.  She also has a new exclusive video for “The Last Time” on AOL Music.  Despite her shortish set, I knew we’d see her shortly, as she’s in the band…

The Puscifer show started shortly after Carina left the stage with the VH1 Behind the Music-esque videos chronicling the honky-tonk performers struggles in life and love and incarceration.  The odd things about the stage set-up was that… there was no stage set-up.  The stage was completely empty when the show-proper started.  At around 9pm, out came a small silver-bullet camper that housed some campfire chairs, tables, and some band members.  Maynard moved the camper into place while talking to us about sustainability and the tour.

Puscifer shows in the past had some complex set design & changes, but the set for this tour was fairly steadily a campfire scene – with of course, an audacious light and video show at times.  The juxtaposition of simple and complex, like Maynard’s nature, was also similar to the juxtaposition of melodic and heavy.  The set was pretty much the entire Conditions album, with some V is for… and C is for… songs thrown in, too.  No skits, some videos (Meats Meier’s and others), no over the top costuming, just a focus on the great music!

Setlist: about 90 minutes

  • Maynard Monologue while setting up camper/stage
  • The Green Valley
  • Tiny Monsters
  • Vagina Mine
  • Dozo
  • Toma
  • The Rapture (Fear is a Mind Killa Mix)
  • The Weaver
  • Rev 22:20 [Carina Round on lead vocals]
  • Polar Bear
  • Indigo Children [2011 Mix]
  • Oceans
  • Monsoons
  • Horizons
  • Conditions of My Parole
  • Man Overboard
  • Telling Ghosts
  • The Undertaker
  • Tumbleweed
  • No Encore

Conditions of My Parole is a brilliant record; so I think you should go buy it if you haven’t yet.  It’s at the top of my pile for 2011 releases (by far).

The 1st night of tour had very minimal hiccups (if any).  Check it out, if you happen to be in the markets they’re hitting on this leg (see dates below).  I was able to shoot the 3rd & 4th songs; so check back for my photos once I have time to get home and edit them.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below the photos.

Next shows for me… a three-day run by Peter Mulvey (11/10 @ Sam Bonds in Eugene, 11/11 @ private house concert in Creswell, 11/12 @ Majestic in Corvallis).

~Dan – np: dredgChuckles and Mr Squeezy

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

(click for larger)

Puscifer Fall 2011 Tour Dates

  • 11/7 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre
  • 11/9 Salt Lake City, UT Capitol Theatre
  • 11/10 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
  • 11/12 St. Louis, MO Peabody Opera House
  • 11/14 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
  • 11/15 Chicago, IL Cadillac Palace Theatre
  • 11/17 Cleveland, OH Lakewood Civic Auditorium
  • 11/18 Toronto, ON Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
  • 11/19 Detroit, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
  • 11/22 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
  • 11/23 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theatre
  • 11/25 Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • 11/26 Washington, DC Lisner Auditorium
  • 11/27 Charlotte, NC Ovens Auditorium
  • 11/29 Knoxville, TN Tennessee Theatre
  • 11/30 Atlanta, GA Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
  • 12/2 Tulsa, OK Brady Theatre
  • 12/3 Dallas, TX Majestic Theatre
  • 12/6 Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre
  • 12/7 San Francisco, CA Palace of Fine Arts
  • 12/9 Mesa, AZ Ikeda Theater (previously listed as Phoenix)
  • 12/10 Las Vegas, NV The Pearl

REVIEW: Maynard James Keenan’s PUSCIFER 1st night @ Roseland (Portland, OR – 11/14/09)

15th Nov 09 (Sun) 7 comments


Wine followed by Maynard’s blasphemous vaudeville show… Wow.

So, I’ve been a fan of Maynard James Keenan‘s vocal since the first utterances I heard from his “main bandTOOL.  I loved his work with his first side-project, A Perfect Circle, especially the first album Mer de Noms.  I was aware of Puscifer a while ago, as it started out as a “joke band” that debuted on a skit on Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’s Mr. Show on HBO (Maynard and Tool’s Adam Jones show up in a short clip).  Never did I think that joke band name would turn into a real alter ego for Maynard himself, he’d release an album and a batch of remix EPs, and then hit the road!

So, for this 1st Portland show, I bought the VIP ticket which included a meet & greet and wine tasting (I didn’t do that for Portland show #2 as I didn’t know I was going to be able to go until a few days ago).  For those not in the know, Maynard has gotten into wine making the past few years.  Back in Ohio, I could order the wine to be shipped to me, and I still have a couple bottles of the 2005 Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra sitting in my utility closet… um… I mean in my “wine cellar.”  I haven’t been able to taste any of Maynard’s recent Caduceus wines, as unfortunately, they don’t have the ability to ship to Oregon (argh, free the grapes!).

The meet & greet and wine tasting started a little after 5pm.  We got shuffled into the back room of Roseland’s downstairs bar.  Todd (I didn’t catch his last name) is Maynard’s wine guy, or at least he’s a touring member of Maynard’s crew who knows a lot about the wine.  He mentioned several times about being involved in the last A Perfect Circle tour – right around the time Maynard was getting started with vineyard purchases / development.  Todd talked for about an hour and fifteen about the various wines, including the one we were tasting – the 2006 Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra (limited to 5,000 cases).  The Chupacabra vintages are designed to be different, similar to the folk legend of the chupacabra.  The 2006 is a blend of 36% cabernet sauvignon, 13% petite verdot, 22% syrah, 14% petite sirah (all sourced from Paso Robles), and 15% of an unknown grape (yeah, I’m an accountant and noticed the missing % on their info sheet).

(click for larger picture with autograph)

The Chupacabra is Maynard’s most “mass produced” wine, and current batches are in the 10,000 case range.  We obviously didn’t get to try any of Maynard’s 20 case batch of very special Judith wines (grown at 5,000+ feet altitude with land spread with his mother’s ashes).  Todd also spoke a little bit about current discussions with Whole Foods to get the wines distributed into Portland.  He also mentioned a documentary, Blood Into Wine, about Arizona wines with a little bit of Maynard, Fairuza Balk, Milla Jovavich, Patton Oswalt, Bob Odenkirk, and others in the footage.  It is expected to hit the Sundance Festival and some select theatres in Feb 2010.

After Todd’s info and Q&A session, he went to go get Maynard, who had just finished sound check.  Maynard came down and walked around the room and individually handed each one of us a signed copy of the Puscifer debut album (V is for Vagina).  He only very briefly chatted with folks.  He asked me if I learned anything from the wine talk, to which I replied “yes, thank you.”  That’s about the extent of my interaction with Maynard, but I thought it was wicked cool to receive a signed copy of the album directly from his hands. :)  Since he’s a busy guy, he took off shortly after making his tour around the room.

I had to leave after the meet & greet to get some grub; so I walked over to my favorite, close-by vegan restaurant (represent!) until show time.

When I got back to the venue, I went over to get my photo pass.  I had free reign for the opener’s set, but only allowed to snap photos for the first two songs of Puscifer’s set (more on that later)…

Sweethead was the opener.  Sweethead is guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure, A Perfect Circle) and lead vocalist Serrina Sims with Norm Block and Eddie Nappi from the Mark Lanegan Band.  They were a good rock group and played about a half of an hour.  I was in a place in the venue (front / center) where the sound usually isn’t the best.  My spot will be likely different for Monday’s show.

I think every time I’ve seen a Maynard band (three times for Tool and A Perfect Circle each), the opener has either been a Mike Patton-related band (Tomahawk, or on his label Ipecac – Isis & The Melvins) or a Ken Andrews-related band (Year of the Rabbit and now Sweethead is connected to Ken via one step with Troy and Failure).  I’m not complaining, as I love Patton and Failure-related projects.  I dug Sweethead… hopefully I’ll get a better feel for their sound on Monday.

Puscifer‘s set started with a video Maynard’s Major Douché character barking orders at us.  Shortly thereafter, with band in place, Maynard wheeled out on a Segway in his horrible comb-overed, bedazzled sweat pants wearing preacher and kicked into “Sour Grapes.”  This kick-off was a not-so-subtle hint that it was going to be a crude, blasphemous vaudeville experience – not your typical rock show.

As I only had photo privileges for the first two songs, I snapped away.  Unfortunately, Maynard was off changing during the second song, “Rev 22:20” – so I resorted to snapping away at the band.  I’m hoping Monday’s set, I get some more non-be-sweatpants‘ed Maynard.  The security guards were quite adamant and nabbing people’s cellphones; so I’m definitely grateful to Maynard’s publicist for getting me the hook-up for these Portland shows.

I didn’t catch all of the band members’ names… but I do know that Carina Round covered the female vocals, and did a smash up job on “The Mission,” which model/actress Milla Jovavich sang on the studio version.  Primus drummer Tim Alexander handled drums.  Also in the band were two guitarists, an electronic & keyboards guy, and a percussionist.  During the songs, if any individual band members wasn’t performing, they’d sit on the sofas or wander around and drink wine (which was laid out all over the stage) and munch on fruit, cheese and crackers.  Also roaming around the stage was a cameraman dressed up as a ninja – which was later announced to be the one and only Meats Meier, Puscifer’s official CGI music video madman.

Here’s what they played…

Setlist: 90 minutes or so [compare sets with Night #2]

  • Sour Grapes
  • Rev 22:20
  • (Video Break 1)
  • Dozo
  • The Undertaker
  • Drunk With Power
  • (Video Break 2)
  • Momma Sed
  • Indigo Children
  • Vagina Mine
  • (Video Break 3)
  • Potions
  • Polar Bear
  • Trekka
  • Queen B
  • The Mission (featuring Carina Round)
  • The Humbling River
  • No Encore

I had heard some rumblings of people being disappointed in the past Puscifer shows.  I think if you go in thinking it’s going to be a rock show (or a Tool show), you’re in it for the wrong reasons.  I got to hear an hour and half of fun music and crazy ramblings, and I was thoroughly entertained.  Monday promises to be different… I expect some country hee-haw may be on order…

more live photos at the bottom

You can get Puscifer’s music via the pictures below:

You can grab some of Maynard’s wines (if you are lucky to be in the shipping area) via this:

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out the Puscifer tour dates below.

~Dan – np: The Swell SeasonOnce

all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Higher Resolution (10 pics)

Limited to 1200 pixels wide or tall (49 pics)

Tour Dates

  • 10/29/09, Las Vegas, NV (The Pearl, Palms Casino)
  • 10/31, San Diego, CA (Spreckels Theatre)
  • 11/1, San Diego, CA (Spreckels Theatre)
  • 11/4, Oakland, CA (Fox Oakland Theater)
  • 11/5, Oakland, CA (Fox Oakland Theater)
  • 11/7, Stockton, CA (Bob Hope Theatre)
  • 11/10, Seattle, WA (Moore Theatre)
  • 11/11, Seattle, WA (Moore Theatre)
  • 11/13, Vancouver, BC (Centre For the Performing Arts)
  • 11/14, Portland, OR (Roseland Ballroom)
  • 11/16, Portland, OR (Roseland Ballroom)
  • 11/17, Salt Lake City, UT (Capitol Theatre)
  • 11/18, Salt Lake City, UT (Capitol Theatre)
  • 11/20, Denver, CO (Paramount Theatre)
  • 11/21, Denver, CO (Paramount Theatre)
  • 11/24, Dallas, TX (McFarlin Memorial Auditorium)
  • 11/25, Dallas, TX (McFarlin Memorial Auditorium)
  • 11/27, Houston, TX (Jones Hall for the Performing Arts)
  • 11/28, San Antonio, TX (Majestic Theatre)
  • 12/1, El Paso, TX (Abraham Chavez Theatre)
  • 12/3, Phoenix, AZ (Orpheum Theatre)
  • 12/4, Phoenix, AZ (Orpheum Theatre)
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