A Perfect Circle at the North Shore Events Centre

By REBECCA BARRY

If you're going to literally shy away from the spotlight, perhaps you're in the wrong vocation.

And while there's no suggestion A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan should give up his day job, he made a contradictory statement when he appeared on a raised platform in the centre of the stage, then remained in darkness for the entire gig.

Rare glimpses of his bedraggled wig and loping movements were reminiscent of the dead girl slinking out of the TV set in The Ring.

But it was unfair he deliberately obscured himself.

We might not be Americans but we still need proof the dude at the front is actually singing.

Fortunately he was engaging in other ways, that distinctive voice taking on a gentler passion than his work in Tool, particularly in The Package where it soars to unexpected heights and in the eerie, down-tempo cover of The Nurse Who Loved Me.

The between-song banter - "This song sounds better with your pants off" - lightened up what were otherwise some pretty introspective moments as the band lived up to their supergroup expectations.

Drummer Josh Freese - whose work stretches back to sessions with Guns N' Roses - was a formidable presence on the skins, relentlessly pummelling unsettling rhythms and using a broad range of textures, the distinctive hollow sound created by whacking the metallic rims of the drumkit.

The new bass player, former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, creates a fuller sound than Paz Lenchantin ever did while ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist Jeordie White and Tool guitar tech Billy Howerdel - obviously influenced by his time as a guitar tech for Nine Inch Nails - filled in the gaps.

When their counter-melodies worked, they worked brilliantly - the ethereal play-off between them creating the kinds of epic harmonies that should have come from shimmering pianos.

The music did seem, at times, a tad one-dimensional, a point hammered home by the indulgent and aimless soundscapes of Forever.

As they plugged their way through the majority of tracks from their two albums, Mers de Noms and Thirteenth Step, A Perfect Circle were not as aggressive, macabre or psychedelic as the Tool-shirted fans may have hoped.

But they still delivered a knock-out show, regardless of the frontman's odd wish for anonymity.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 24 Jul 2014 17:26:24 Processing Time: 711ms