Puscifer at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (7/9/22)/The Districts at Doug Fir Lounge (8/28/22)

Written by on October 1, 2022

A couple weeks later my mother informed us we had tickets to see Puscifer at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Puscifer is one of the latest side projects of Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan. As a member of the touring band, my mum’s old high school buddy managed to score us a couple of tickets. As more of a fan of soft rock, I was not really familiar with any of Keenan’s music but free is free. After all, this is the same free-ticket-dealing touring bassist responsible for this classic picture from Katy Perry’s 2011 visit to London’s O2 Arena.

I was surprised by the exact nature of the Puscifer concert. Staged like a dystopian scene involving the band dressed as Men in Black staging a cover-up and energetically running around the stage between every line. Complete with conspiracies and aliens, the band presented their satirical pro-government/really anti-government propaganda message. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments, including OTT dystopian imagery, genuine slapstick moments and bizarre conspiracy interludes with videos featuring Keenan in his Man in Black persona suggesting most celebrities are alien clones, with many hilarious cutaways lampooning pop culture moments. All in all this worked to present a great, professionally done show with some great music, a sinister atmosphere, and some truly humorous moments.

A month after that, we went to see the Districts in the bar of a basement down in the Lloyd district. The bar area had the neon lighting of a cyberpunk film while the stage area looked like the Roadhouse from Twin Peaks. I was not familiar with the band’s music at all but they really rocked the roof down… and in a basement that was quite a worry. They played great rock music. Though the group was composed of young men, the music felt traditional in the way most instrumentation was live and acoustic, and the few electronic synthesizer sounds were also being played live. The band were excited to be performing, as they told us between every song. Everyone in the audience seemed to be having a great time, especially the shirtless guy dancing himself into everybody’s way. All in all, a great show was played and I look forward to catching the Districts the next time they visit Portland.

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