Live Review : Southampton Guildhall, February 9th
A Perfect Circle are probably the greatest super group in existence today (It’s a lot easier to make that statement now that Down have split up) with the band composed of members of Guns N’ Roses, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson – all of whom have achieved legendary status, transcending whichever genre one would be foolish enough to place them in and if you think that such a synergy of talent would cause an implosion then you would be badly mistaken. They also receive the honor of being the first band of whom I have seen twice. To be honest, I was a little surprised that a band of such stature would even know that my hometown existed, let alone want to spend time in it and even play a gig. The biggest groups we normally get down are Air and Ocean Color Scene. Auf Der Maur, on the other hand, are a new group, fronted by (yes, you’ve guessed it) Melissa Auf Der Maur from Smashing Pumpkins and Hole. So new, in fact, that this was their debut tour. During the Auf Der Maur set Melissa was kind enough to recognize that the audience “weren’t supposed to know the sound of Auf Der Maur, not even a note” and that we “were not expected to dance”. One would also imagine that, given the stature of A Perfect Circle the audience would shit on the opening act, regardless of who it was (even King Crimson were booed when they opened for Tool) but I was very surprised to see the applause ascend above a mood of “yeah, that’s great but we want to see A Perfect Circle now” and the audience actually grow to respect Auf Der Maur in their own right. It seemed like a longer set than usual for a support band but it did more than enough to showcase the obvious talent that the band have. It didn’t really sound like anything I know nor were the group’s influences immediately obvious and I probably need to listen to it a few more times to really “get it” whatever “it” might be.
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A Perfect Circle, on the other hand, could probably play the whole songbook of G.G. Allin and still make it sound good. There was a really cool effect at the beginning of the set in which different shadows of Maynard in different stances were projected onto a screen at alternating times, making it impossible to see where Maynard actually was. However, unlike the tour with Deftones the screen came down after one song and Maynard actually faced the audience and communicated with them. I have come to understand why nobody complains about music in a live setting sounding different from that on a CD; APC played their songs just like they would come off a CD and, because I have listened to Mer De Noms so many times that I can almost play the album front to back in my head, this concert felt like another play through of the CD rather than the music feeling “live” as it did with Auf Der Maur. Perhaps the reason for choosing Southampton as a venue was to avoid moshing, which APC were very keen to avoid, as you could not swing a cat in that place let alone swing an elbow in the face of the person next to you. I certainly have no complaints though, and perhaps I have learnt a valuable lesson about over stimulation. (AW)