Concerts

Three Reasons to Watch Puscifer's Latest Streamed Concert (While You Still Can)

Come for the music, stay for the luchador party.
Come for the music, stay for the luchador party. Steve Thrasher


If you didn't purchase access to "Billy D and the Hall of Feathered Serpents Featuring Money $hot by Puscifer," the band's latest streaming concert, before it became available on Saturday afternoon, you're in luck.

You can still access and watch the show until 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 20. And you definitely should.

Puscifer, one of Maynard James Keenan's musical projects, dipped its toe into the water of streamed concerts back in October with "Existential Reckoning: Live at Arcosanti," which featured the band performing its new fourth studio album with the experimental Arizona community as the setting.

For a band known just as much for its for theatricality and visuals as its music, the streamed concert is an ideal format, one that allows Puscifer to be as weird and creative as it wants without the issues of live shows — like echoey rooms and lines of sight — getting in the way.


"I think [a streamed concert] is a perfect forum for Puscifer," Keenan told Phoenix New Times earlier this month. "We’re built for this."

"Billy D and the Hall of Feathered Serpents" just proves his point. The hourlong show is a mix of a comedic narrative and a performance of the band's 2015 album Money $hot in its entirety.

Access costs $25 (and can be purchased on the Puscifer Live website), but if you're still on fence, here are three reasons to watch the show.


1. It's funny.

Sure, the humor isn't the point of the show. But Keenan's public persona as a very serious, very intense musician doesn't usually allow much evidence of the fact that he's a pretty funny guy with surprisingly good comic timing.

At the start of the show, Keenan as Billy D wanders into a bar full of the Mexican wrestlers known as luchadors.

"Is there, in fact, an Underoo convention in town?" Billy asks one of them. "I did not know that Garanimals was making lingerie sets," he comments later.

After provoking the ire of the wrestlers (and the bartenders — excuse us, bartesians — played by Clifton Collins Jr. and Jacob Vargas), Billy D gets knocked out by a mysterious substance, kicking off the concert portion of the event. (Pro tip: Stick around after the credits for outtakes with Collins, Vargas, and Keenan.)


2. It's gorgeous.

Like, seriously beautiful. The setting for the musical performances is Los Angeles’ Mayan Theater, a 1920s revivalist venue featuring artwork by Mexican painter and sculptor Francisco Cornejo. Keenan calls it "equal parts creepy and beautiful," and he's not wrong.

In the early part of the concert, during songs like "Agostina" and "Simultaneous," the band are shot in grainy sepia tones. Keenan and band member Carina Round are dressed in suits and luchador masks; in the background, we can see the intricate Mesoamerican carvings that give the theater its character. It's like a cool nightmare that leaves you unsettled when you wake up.

Once we get to the section where Billy D enters the theater with the wrestlers, the color palette shifts. All of sudden, bright lights and colors are the look. Keenan, dressed in brightly colored suits and masks, is bathed in blue or magenta or red light. The camera pans wildly around the room full of musicians and luchadors in a riot of sound and action and color, making the show just as fun to watch as it to listen to.


3. It rocks.

Money $hot is a great album, full of ambient, haunting sounds, from the melancholy "Autumn" to the romantic "Agostina" and the contemplative "Grand Canyon." In "Billy D and the Hall of Feathered Serpents," we get them all 10 tracks in music video-quality sound.

The cumulative effect is an experience that goes beyond a music video, beyond a concert film into an impressive piece of musical performance art, one that we wish we could watch over and over again.

Keenan says that the band's album Conditions of My Parole will probably be the next LP to get the streamed concert treatment.

We can't wait.
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.