Live Review: A Perfect Circle Perform "Mer De Noms" — Avalon, Hollywood
Tue, 09 Nov 2010 08:56:51
A Perfect Circle Videos
A Perfect Circle built a veritable sonic mythos with their 2000 debut, Mer de Noms.
There's a certain classic rock mysticism surrounding the album's title itself, which is French for "Sea of Names." However, the best way to interpret it is emotionally. These songs are living and breathing entities, and that was instantly clear from A Perfect Circle's utterly transcendent show at Avalon in Hollywood last night. Even though it's been a decade since Mer de Noms first dropped, "Magdalena," "Rose," "Judith," "Orestes" and all of the album's other aural denizens are as alive as ever.
A Perfect Circle kicked off the set with "The Hollow." Frontman Maynard James Keenan stood elevated towards the back of the stage moving along with the waves of riffs from Billy Howerdel and James Iha. Matt McJunkins infused power into the rumbling bass line, playing like his life depended on it. Maynard's entrancing delivery stood encased in the airtight embrace of Billy's swirling notes and propulsive percussion from Josh Freese. Maynard pointed at the band with a sly smile as they locked into an unbreakable tandem. Right before the final refrain, the singer snapped a picture of the packed crowd, and it proved a proper welcoming gesture.
Billy conjured a groundswell of echo, appropriately setting the mood for "Magdalena." Maynard continued perfectly singing with a dark, dangerous vulnerability that flowed with the guitarist's spacey lead. The cheers erupted, making the sold out theater sound like an arena during Freese's speedy bridge beat. The audience willingly drowned deeper into Mer de Noms as the ethereal "Rose" slid through everyone's psyche. Another snaky harmony from Billy curled around the vocals before sailing off into oblivion.
Divine and deadly, "Judith" roared from the dual guitar snap. The audience chanted "Fuck your God" in overpowering unison as A Perfect Circle created a tremblingly gorgeous procession of distortion. One last piercing, primal and pristine howl from Maynard closed out the song.
The frontman then spoke a simple "Good evening," before continuing with "Orestes." The song's ethereal hum seamlessly morphed into a jam of raw textural bliss before "3 Libras" soared to heavenly heights.
Maynard added, "This is kind of a reconnecting tour."
From how airtight A Perfect Circle was, it seemed like the connection had been unbreakable since day one. The band even took some time for a few jokes in between Mer de Noms. James grabbed his mic and said, "Listen to this joke. It's incredibly funny—to me. Where does a penguin keep his money?"
The audience stood quiet for a moment, before he finished saying, "A snow bank! This band fucking rocks."
Stepping in, Maynard smiled, "Now, that's punk rock! This song is the next one."
"Sleeping Beauty" could've scored any of Grimm's Fairy Tales with its creeping bass crescendo and elegantly heavy guitars. From its lullaby-style opening to the green lights and smoke on the stage, "Thomas" felt like a dream come to life, especially with Maynard as its guide. Billy hummed a captivating melody on "Renholdër," as he simultaneously set his fret board ablaze with deft calculated playing. The energy overflowed from the stage on the ocean of riffs and pulsating lights during "Thinking of You," while "Breña" existed in a sphere of A Perfect Circle's own making.
The band breathed new life into "Over," sharpening the song with a heavier edge as it tilted from Josh's tribal drumming and Matt's powerful low end.
For their cover of David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes," Maynard announced, "We have a guest for this next song. It's not James Iha."
Troy Van Leeuwen joined his old band mates on stage and added a stomping frenetic vibrancy to the song. Maynard imbued his own flare into "Ashes to Ashes," giving the song another dimension. Before their take on "Imagine" ended the show, Maynard spoke once more. "Thank you very much for coming to this. We're here again tomorrow doing Thirteenth Step. The future's uncertain to you. We know what we're doing. We're just not telling you because that's how we roll."
They don't have to say anything though because the music does all the talking. Mer de Noms remains a modern classic, and A Perfect Circle performed it with a timeless show.
Were you there? Will you be attending Thirteenth Step tonight 11/9 or eMOTIVe tomorrow 11/10 or any of the other dates?
Read our most recent interview with Maynard James Keenan about Puscifer, Blood Into Wine and so much more here!