Tonawanda News —
Trying to maneuver through the Riviera Theatre on Wednesday night was no easy task. Loyal fans of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan had all come together to see the music legend's newest side project, Puscifer, a band that's genre is almost impossible to identify.
The theater didn’t completely fill up until after the opening act had finished. That was quite a pity as the opening band was certainly worth seeing.
Carina Round, originally from England, is not only a member of Puscifer, but also their opening act. Round came on stage looking like she walked right out of a 40s fashion magazine. She had a sort of classical charm to her that was set off by the heaviness of her music, creating an interesting emotional feel.
Looking at her, it was almost hard to believe the power behind her voice when she sang. She had no trouble making it carry to all corners of the Riviera, never missing a beat or faltering on a pitch. Her voice rang with a soulfulness that made you feel the emotions the stage lights only hinted at. The role of the rest of her band was minimal, doing only what they needed to do. The music itself seemed relatively simple which only served to further showcase Round's skill as a vocalist.
Her solo set was disappointingly short, only playing a small selection of songs, all of which were delivered with the same heartfelt power. Then it was time for Puscifer to play.
Their set started up with a mock airplane announcement that led to a theatrical introduction which featured Round and Keenan dressed as flight staff pretending to serve drinks and throwing what appeared to be small silver pouches of peanuts to the audience. Soon the music started, the ambient, but somehow electronic and industrial sound filled the enormous theater instantly.
Throughout the show there was a feeling of the music pulsating, always alive and dynamic. While the other members of the band were stationary, Round and Keenan moved around freely often dancing on alternating legs, like a sumo wrestler preparing to start a match.
Throughout the concert much use was made of props and large screens that depicted surreal images that were sometimes comical or added a visual interpretation or element of weirdness to the song.
The most interesting props used on stage were two medium sized screens on tall stands. The screens had cameras with wide angle lenses on the back. Round and Keenan would stand behind them and sing from there, making their faces look slightly distorted and adding to the surrealist theme of the performance.
Although it was Maynard Keenan who drew in the crowd, it would be unfair not to consider Round’s performance to be a highlight of the evening. Her strong yet sultry voice was the perfect compliment to the established sound of Keenan’s singing.
Her stage presence both on her own and with Puscifer demanded admiration and made it exceptionally hard to take your eyes or your ears off of her.
Round is a completely independent artist who depends on her fans to help keep her on the road. For more information on her lastest album, visit www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tigermending.