Bathed in darkness like the mysteries of the night he graces the stage with those familiar and inimitable vocal chords resonating through the amphitheatre. A unique voice among the many. All are spellbound and zen in the Zénith, as the stage is set with minimalistic tones. The atmosphere, which only Maynard – demi god – Keegan could emanate from his being, is infused with decades of Tools genre breaking, polyrhythmic melodies. The songs of A Perfect Circle generally have a slower metre but sustain the same fervency; with mysterious, oft sombre, sobering, and shadowy subject matter. The sonic resonance teeters, dips its feet and then bathes in the darkness as one would meet an old friend – familial and pacifying.
The contrarian, what an interesting word. Its lyrical content is ominous and scathing, intensely captivating and unnerving. It is an unequivocal warning sign about demagogues – crucial in the current climate – but it also exists in a space which predates this time and place. The band was born in the 90’s and in many ways, they still reside there. In this brooding winter cave, there is no facial recognition, Maynard’s existence emanates from his voice and emotional ardour. Phones are not allowed, so we all become intensely aware of sound.
A Perfect Circle, unlike so many others, do not pander to current ideals of today’s music “industry”, which is characterised by auto tune superficiality, overly polished production and bands saturated with branded imagery.
The darkness envelopes me in that quiet standstill; a chamber-like room infused with isolation. In disillusioned I notice the poignancy of the uplifting melody juxtaposed with lyrical disenchantment– this is a song characterised by its converses. The set builds in intensity, and the bannisters can no longer support my weight, I’ve broken free of gravity in Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums. This deliverance calls into question humanity’s collective madness / disparity / oppression. We – the hearers- are compelled to question our own moral compass and our own complicity.
From the shadows and with unassuming conviction Maynard speaks:
“The world out there is pretty crazy at the moment, everywhere there is a lot of madness, but not in here, not with us.” And with that, we are brought together in a collective experience – we were never an island. For those precious hours in the darkness, we find a little solace. I no longer want to keep the darkness at bay. A Perfect Circle makes the darkness comforting. It makes the darkness ok.