Puscifer and the luchadors takeover the Riviera Theatre

Puscifer at Riviera Theatre Chicago. Photo: Chicago Music, Brett Bergen

Photos by: Brett Bergen

In my many years of attending concerts of all shapes and sizes, I’ve seen many things. I’ve seen bands booed off the stage. I’ve seen a singer writhe his way right off the front of the stage. I’ve seen a band give away a toilet plunger to a lucky fan.

But I’ve never seen a rock show conceived as an entire luchador wrestling match.

But that was the case when Puscifer played the Riviera Theatre on Saturday night, November the 21st. With the sub-billing of Luchifer, I expected to see some smaller metal band. Instead, the audience was treated to a full-on Mexican wrestling showcase. Five masked wrestlers tossed and tumbled to cheers, jeers, and full-throttled laughter.

And then the band played, but the wrestlers remained.

Maynard James Keenan is best known for his work with the prog-metal group Tool, as well as for A Perfect Circle. Puscifer, his side project, is something he describes as ‘his creative subconscious’ – in other words, a way to experiment with ideas he’d be unable to explore with his more established acts. The band’s repertoire is hard to categorize – it’s metal, yes, but it’s also performance art, and yet it’s not. And let’s not forget the wrestlers.

When the band took to the stage, they entered shrouded in darkness. Breaking with the conceit of many ‘side-projects’, Maynard was rarely the focal point of the stage. Instead, drummer Jeff Friedl’s kit took center stage, flanked by…the luchadors from the opening act, who would return on multiple occasions (“act breaks”) to liven up the already lively show. As the lights came up, it became apparent that the entire band was clad in luchador-masks, with Keenan sporting a fierce mohawk of his own. (Friedl’s rat-inspired(?) mask was particularly delightful.)

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