Last November I had the pleasure of seeing the debut solo show for Greg Puciato. After that show was over, I knew that the next time he came through I had to go, it was one of “those shows.” Both his solo albums, Child Soldier: Creator Of God and Mirrorcell have yet to leave my musical rotation since they came out. Live these songs take on a whole new life and the end result is precisely why I had to go see Greg live again.
Before Greg though, there were three openers to get the night going. I arrived as the last 2 songs of Trace Amount’s set was ending. The mix of industrial and noise made for a very tension filled and intense performance. It’s really interesting to listen to Trace Amount and pick out certain little nuances in the programming.
Next up was Deaf Club who I was really stoked to see having been into their albums. Their set was on fire from the get go. One of the things that I really like most about Deaf Club is that while they are a punk band through and through, they add a more technical element to it with odd time signatures and interesting arrangements. Then when you add in a frontman like Justin Pearson, it’s the right recipe for chaos in the best way possible. During their set they did a cover of Nirvana’s “Tourette’s” with their drummer, the drummer from Escuela Grind and Ben Koller of Converge. It was pretty damn cool to see and hear and the topper was all three drummers were in total sync so that sound bellowing through the El Rey was thunderous!
Following Deaf Club was up and comers Escuela Grind. I wasn’t too familiar with them but, a friend of mine who I was there with was and he got super into it. The band combines grindcore, death metal and a bit of hardcore. Their energetic set was heavy and brutal and at the same time quite fun. Their “singer” had so much energy on stage at one point I was half expecting her to breakout into a full gymnastics routine with how much she was running and jumping. Solid set from this band and just the right amount of fire to get the crowd ready for what was to come next.
When Greg Puciato and band took the stage it was ON! From the moment they ripped into “Reality Spiral” you knew this was not going to be just any show. The way the set was constructed was absolutely pummeling in both the way that it was intense and pulled at your heart strings. When you have songs like “Do You Need Me To Remind You,” “Absence As A Presence,” and “Fire For Water,” all within minutes of each other, it still has me without the right words. As the set continued, the crowd got even more into it and the next thing I knew I was right up front for my favorite song “Never Wanted That.” I stayed up front for the rest of the night feeding off the energy that was permeating off stage and next to me. One of my other favorite moments was during the end of “Evacuation” Greg broke out part of INXS’s “Need You Tonight” which was totally rad. Ending the “set” for the evening was the always great “September City.” I believe the crowd was singing as loud if not louder than Greg by this point. This night was special in more ways that one. For the encore it was in the words on Larry David “pretty, pretty, pretty good.” Starting it off was Haex joining Greg for a remix version of The Black Queen’s “Secret Scream,” followed by A Perfect Circle’s Billy Howerdel joining Greg for The Black Queen’s “The End Where We Start” which was absolutely great. Then you had Tyler Bates and Gil Sharone join the fun for “Now You’ve Really Done It” from a compilation for DC Comics. Then it was Ben Koller jumping on the stage for “Roach Hiss” which definitely got the crowd screaming along. And to end it all was an absolutely cool and different version of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s “One Of Us Is The Killer.” It was part acapella in the verses and straight up fire during the chorus parts. I also have to mention the band Greg had on this run. What a killer and tight band. Joining Greg was James Hammontree on guitar of Black Magnet (another band you should really check out), Nick Sadler of Daughters on guitar. It was really great to see Nick up there and hearing that monsterous tone he’s had for years. Jeff Geisser on bass manhandled the low end with such tenacity and finally Noah Taylor on drums right in the pocket!
This show was definitely one of those that I’ll remember for a long long time. Greg Puciato’s solo albums are some of the best releases in the past few years. If you haven’t listened to them, I highly suggest you get on top of that! It’s artists like Greg that give me hope for the musical future. The whole package was interesting and gave bands from different genres a different audience making for an eclectic show. I’m glad I went and had a great time and to go with a couple friends that I knew would enjoy it too made it all that much better. Plus getting to see some other friends out in the crowd was quite awesome. I’m kind of at a loss for words at the moment when it comes to how to properly describe this show. I will leave it at this (unless I have a total epiphany of what else to say), shows like this don’t happen all the time. When the chance comes to go see one of your favorite bands, go do it! Thank you to Greg, Deaf Club, Escuela Grind and Trace Amount for one hell of a great evening!
Greg Puciato Set List:
01) In This Hell You Find Yourself
02) Reality Spiral
03) Do You Need Me To Remind You
04) Absence As A Presence
05) Fire For Water
06) Don’t Wanna Deal
07) No More Lives To Go
08) Deep Set
09) Never Wanted That
11) A Pair Of Questions
12) Creator Of God
13) Evacuation (w/ INXS’s “Need You Tonight”)
14) September City
15) Silent Scream (Haex Remix)
16) The End Where We Start (with Billy Howerdel)
17) Now You’ve Really Done It (with Tyler Bates & Gil Sharone)
18) Roach Hiss (with Ben Koller)
19) One Of Us Is The Killer
Review and Photos By: Brian Lacy