A few months ago, I stumbled across a video released by Agent Dick Merkin of the Pusciforce TMZanon division. Agent Merkin revealed that they were picking up signals from a series of electromagnetic bursts that have been occurring across the continental United States since the fall of 2015. He went on to state that a pattern of unique signatures had emerged, and that these signatures were directly related to counterrotating fields of interdimensional starlight that form, in his words, “what can be best described as, a briefcase”. After compiling data from several sources such as, shallow space satellite feeds, unexpected celebrity breakup announcements, and social media hashtags involving extra-terrestrial probing, the members of the Pusciforce TMZanon division then ran this information through a special algorithm of their own creation. By doing so they discovered that there was a coded message contained within these bursts. The team then translated the message which read as follows: “An Existential Reckoning Is Imminent”. Using a combination of Delaunay triangulation and Uber Eats delivery tracking software they were able to construct a predictive model mapping out specific coordinates of where future sightings and appearances of these electromagnetic bursts would occur. When I saw that Las Vegas was on the list of future appearances my heart began to race. Questions swirled through my head, what would I find there? How would I be affected by the electromagnetic fields that these bursts created? And even more so, would I face my own existential reckoning if I were to witness one of these events? I knew that the only way to get the answers I sought was to travel to Las Vegas and experience it firsthand. I wanted my Existential Reckoning…
The coordinates I received from Pusciforce led me to The Smith Performing Arts Center in Las Vegas. This structure is quite the work of art. A hulking white-stone edifice with a single 17-story bell tower, crowned with a combination of stainless steel and glass, rising from the northeast corner. This beautiful establishment boasted class from outside in. The interior walls and columns were lined with Rojo Alicante marble from floor to ceiling. Massive chandeliers that hung from the ceiling illuminated the lobby where fans gathered to buy drinks, merch, and top wait for the doors of the performance hall to open. At 7pm sharp the doors opened, and the seats began to fill. The Reynolds Hall Theater holds upwards of 2.050 seats divided among one five different levels including the main floor, and four wrap around balconies. Half an hour later, the lights went down, and a screen on stage began to play…
The screen began with a bee working on a flower, I really couldn’t tell you what was played on that screen for the rest of the performance because I was absolutely enthralled by the trio of musicians that had taken the stage. The lighting was extremely dark and all you could really see was a red outline of the three performers, a drummer, a guitarist, and a vocalist. The name of the group was Moodie Black, and they put on a show the likes of which I had never seen before, I can tell you now that this theme held throughout the night. As images flashed and clips played in the background, vocalist Chris Martinez (aka Kdeath) not only stole the show she demanded your attention. MB’s style of noise rap is quite different from anything I had ever heard before, it was downtempo, but aggressive and in your face all at once. Instead of over produced beats and melodies, their music was made up of live drums, guitar feedback, pick scrapes, and much more, It reminded me somewhat of Rage Against The Machine in a way. That rebellion against conformity to societal standards, and the anger directed at the oppressive establishments that attempt to dictate our lives. It was refreshing to see a performance like this at a time where people are placing the upmost faith in the institutions that uphold and create the very same artificial constructs that are meant to divide and conquer us. Kdeath made her way from one end of the stage to the other, screaming, rapping, and overall giving one hell of a performance. The end of the set ended with the very same bee on the screen with which it started….and with that, the existential reckoning began.
30 minutes later we were presented with yet another screen, this screen displayed an announcement from the very person that persuaded me to journey 150 miles through the desert to witness this electromagnetic happening; it was Agent Dick Merkin, Agent Merkin went on to warn the audience that anyone caught filming or taking photos of the concert would be taken from the audience and used to make Spam. That’s right Spam. You know? That delicious, nutritious, borderline gelatinous, mystery substance that comes in the square dark blue can? Yeah. That stuff. After the video played the screen was raised high above the crown until it disappeared into the rafters. Then the theater went dark. You could barely see but five feet in front of you but if you paid close enough attention, it was almost as if the air began to vibrate. Then a dim blue light illuminated the stage, and Dick Merkin made his way to front and center. Merkin was accompanied by agents Carina Round who took her place beside him, Matt Mitchell, Gunnar Olson, and three pale, bald, unnamed agents. Each agent was dressed in a plain black suit, white button up, black tie, and dark wayfarer style sunglasses. As they took their spots, an electronic, synthesized tune began to ring out. Merkin began the lyrics to “Bread and Circus”. The one line that continued to ring through my mind was “here we are, in the middle of our existential reckoning”. This was it…this was what I was here for. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, this is exactly what the world needs right now. The song “Bread and Circus” comes from a Roman writer who used the phrase to describe the decline in heroism and autonomy after the Roman Republic ceased to exist. The quote was “Two things only the people anxiously desire – Bread and Circuses”. Just as today, society has lost its way, we have all become servile to the status quo, to the superfluous and the superficial alike. People are more concerned with what they are wearing or what they are posting on social media than with that life really is, what horrors and atrocities are happening around us, or even what it means to be alive.
At the end of the second song, a person was caught crouched up by the stage taking a video of the performance with their cellphone. Agent Merkin immediately started yelling “SPAM! SPAM! SPAM!” as two of the nameless agents on stage rushed forward, a spotlight was shown upon the violator. The agents reached down, seized the subject of interest, and promptly carried him off stage like a sack of potatoes. I can only assume what the process is for making Spam, but I imagine it to be a long, grueling, and torturous process. I feel sorry the lost soul that did not heed the warnings of Agent Merkin at the beginning of the show. My only question now is this: are the cans of Spam that contain tis individual put onto the shelves in the supermarket, or are they kept for Pusciforce consumption only?
I would like to break away from our story for a moment to take a brief dive into the band that is Puscifer. This is not a “normal” group of musicians here to play your favorite songs for you. Puscifer puts on a show that not only gives you phenomenal music to get lost in, but they also put on a show that transcends the typical “concert” world and ventures deep into realm of Performance Art. Everything about this show was about the performance. From the costumes to the characters, to the choreography, the props, all of it I meant to bring you much more than just a “concert”. One thing that I personally believed brought this show home and filled it with so much more meaning on a human level for me was that I had previously read Maynard James Keenan’s biography, “A Perfect Union of Contrary Things”. In his biography Keenen talks about his love for the performing arts. Ever since he was a kid, he loved to perform in plays and even went as far as to say that it was thw only place he felt like he was able to be himself. If you watch interviews done by MJK you’ll notice that he is a very quiet and almost stoic individual. This is quite the juxtaposition to who he becomes when in costume and on stage. This individual becomes his character through and through. From the way he speaks, to the way that he moves. His mannerisms change, his posture changes, he almost becomes unrecognizable. It was amazing to witness this normally calm and collected individual acting like a goof and going about the stage in a high stepped run trying to grab his mic arm that had drifted out of his reach. Watching someone do something that they utterly enjoy, something that they are proud of, is an experience in and of itself, if you have the chance to read his book before seeing their performance live, I highly recommend doing so. It will greatly enhance your experience from beginning to end.
And now…back to our story: After playing about 8 songs, some of which being “Fake Affront”, “Vagina Mine”, “The Underwhelming” and “Theorem”, the screen once again lowered itself from the rafters to bring another message from Agent Merkin. This time there was no Spam, no, this was what can only be described as a “debriefing” of the information that Pusciforce, specifically the TMZanon division had gathered while on their search for the truth. Merkin went on to talk about celebrity cloning projects and their effects on the population. He went into great detail on this topic, listing off celebrities, and the clones that they have created from each of them. It was quite fascinating to consider that these beings could in fact be extraterrestrial in nature and how they are being used to distract the masses from the truth that is constantly swirling about them, always close, but just out of reach.
After the video, the screen again disappeared into the ceiling. Puscifer went on to play another 6 songs, including “The Remedy”, “Personal Prometheus”, and “The Humbling River”. Watching the crowd get into these songs was an experience that I will never forget. People were completely lost in their own worlds. It was almost as if the electromagnetic pulse that we were witnessing had somehow caused them to experience some sort of trans-dimensional astral projection. People were swaying in spot with their eyes closed, some had their hands held to the sky with upturned faces, others held their heads down and let their bodies feel the vibrations and the various waves caused by this electromagnetic pulse. I don’t think that I have seen a group of humans being so present as they were that night. I believe that the “No Phone” policy was put in place as part of this “existential reckoning”. When people are confronted with an existential crisis, or even anxieties, or qualms, of daily life they tend to turn to their phones, or devices. It is difficult for people to suit with themselves these days even when they are in attending an event. I have witnessed people spend the entirety of a concert on their phones. I have seen people view and entire performance on little screens, even as the event unfolds before them, they choose to view the entire thing through this virtual buffer instead of being completely present and enjoying the experience that they paid for. After the six songs I had mentioned, the screen reappeared and this time it was not Agent Merkin, but Billy D who made an appearance. I’d leave some of this show up to your discovery…so let’s move on to the last bit of the show.
After the screen did its thing, Billy D made his way out on stage. I have no idea where Agent Dick Merkin went but I was happy to see Mr. D. He came out to perform the last few songs, which included “Bullet Train to Iowa”, “Man Overboard”, “Flippant”, and “Conditions of My Parole”. After his short performance, the group made their way off stage, only to return a few moments later with a special announcement. As we know, Billy D isn’t one for the rules, so he told the people that they were allowed to pull out their phones for the last song. The band played their hit song “Bedlamite”, which is the final track on their album Existential Reckoning. I would like a take a moment and note that Carina Rounds vocals through this entire performance was amazing. Her vocals were not only beautiful, but paranormally flawless. Every member played their part perfectly as a group of extraterrestrials, which I assume were the very same Extraterrestrials that abducted Billy D in a desert in the southwestern united states, made their way onto the stage during the final song. Fog filled the stage, and the E.T.’s crept about performing what I can only assume as a dance of sorts while Billy D and Hilde sang their song from high above on a platform. The show ended with one final appearance of the screen. I would like to leave this bit of hilarity for you to experience on your own, but I will tell you that it contained a clip of Agent Merkin preforming what looks to be herculean task that would require anyone to have some sort of paranormal, or superhuman, ability.
As with everything that Puscifer does, this entire show will be left up to your own interpretation. The existential reckoning that I came face to face with will be both the same, and wildly different from what others experience. I implore you to come to terms with your reckoning. I urge you to see what it is inside you that needs to be examined further. This how was not just a group of musicians preforming their hits on a stage this was a true performance, by tried-and-true artists. A performance that not only drew your attention to the stage but deep inside yourself as well. It brought to light things within me that I felt needed to be addressed. Maybe not now, maybe not right this second, but things that absolutely required a deeper and more thorough examination. Are you ready? Do you think you could handle your Existential Reckoning? If so, I desperately encourage you…buy the ticket, take the ride.