With six years since its last tour and more than double that since last releasing a record, A Perfect Circle could’ve easily sounded rusty or out of step at the UIC Pavilion. However, the supergroup comprised of Maynard James Keenan (Tool, Puscifer), Billy Howerdel (Ashes Divide), James Iha (Tinted Windows, ex-Smashing Pumpkins), Jeff Friedl (Puscifer, The Beta Machine) and Matt McJunkins (Eagles of Death Metal, The Beta Machine) proved just the opposite while trotting out the both the older tunes and a bold look forward that fell somewhere between alternative rock, metal, hard rock and prog with bits of industrialized electronics.
That relevance leapt up another level come “The Doomed,” a biting social commentary on political, social and spiritual ills, which left little to the imagination when it came to at least one of its probable targets and made it intensely clear that A Perfect Circle is finally ready to roar back with a vengeance.
“The Package” kicked off the proceedings with the notoriously camera shy band performing behind a curtain and members’ silhouettes flashing from the arena’s floor to ceiling. When it dropped towards the very end of the dark and uncompromising track, it revealed an artistically lit A Perfect Circle pummeling through “The Hollow” with an emphasis exclusively on the music rather than the production or anyone’s individual personality.
In fact, outside of a few quirky or topical conversations with the crowd, Keenan spent the night towards the stage’s rear, powerfully directing the group’s vocal course without ever embracing any of the performance antics usually reserved for a front man. But as is the case with so many of his incarnations (accompanied by this one’s strict ejection policy for anyone who dared to snap a shot or video with their cellphone), the unusual method worked in holding the sizeable crowd’s rapt attention with barely any glowing screens popping up in the air.
Whether it was the group’s own icy, progressive tint over “By And Down,” the menacing, murky wallop of “Thomas” or a completely reconstructed cover of Depeche Mode’s “People Are People,” A Perfect Circle demonstrated its vitality time and time again. “Vanishing” cast a ghostly chill over Chicago, “Thinking Of You” was a straight-up swig of alt-rock adrenaline, while the “All Main Courses Mix” of “3 Libras” hissed like a rattlesnake as the drums rang out like gunshots.
Out of the handful of new cuts slated for a 2018 album release, “Hourglass” exploded with gang vocals, a galloping bass, robotic keys and unrelenting aggression. That relevance leapt up another level come “The Doomed,” a biting social commentary on political, social and spiritual ills, which left little to the imagination when it came to at least one of its probable targets and made it intensely clear that A Perfect Circle is finally ready to roar back with a vengeance.
For additional information on A Perfect Circle, visit APerfectCircle.com.
For a list of upcoming Jam Productions shows, visit JamUSA.com.
For a list of upcoming shows at the UIC Pavilion, visit UICPavilion.com.