Mike Patton & company were intensely entertaining along with opener Battles
During Easter 1986, Mr. Bungle recorded their demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, a year after the band formed in Eureka, CA while the band members were still in high school. The group would go on to release three albums, before disbanding after the release of their third album, California, in 1999.
In late 2019, the band announced they would reunite for a few shows, including two in Brooklyn on February 10th and 11th, which sold out quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic would shut the world down only a few weeks later, and Mr. Bungle released a live video during that time called: Mr. Bungle: The Night They Came Home, which featured live performance at the Eureka public library with appearances by Buzz Osbourne (of Melvins), Eric André, Glenn Howerton, Rhea Pearlman, and others. After this release, the band reconvened in the studio to re-record their 1986 demo to be released on Ipecac Records, the label founded by their vocalist, Mike Patton.
I managed to see Mr. Bungle only once before their breakup. The band was a part of the SnoCore 2000 tour featuring Incubus and System of a Down at Roseland Ballroom in New York, NY in February 2000. The band performed first, came on stage dressed as sailors, and opened their set with a cover of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Burt Bacharach. This was probably the least metal thing they could have done for that tour and I was amused by it; most of the metal fans in attendance that night were not. The band would call it quits before the end of that year.
23 years later, I saw Mr. Bungle perform live for the second time at Terminal 5 on Friday, Sept. 8th in New York City about a 20 minute walk away from where Roseland used to be. I arrived at the venue to hear their debut album being played by a food cart vendor. They are joined on their current tour by NYC duo, Battles (Ian Williams, and John Stanier), who took the stage promptly at 8:15PM and performed for 40 minutes. Battles began two years after Mr. Bungle’s break up (2002), and their latest record was released in 2019. Despite Battles being a local band, it had been quite some time since I saw them perform, and I was extremely pleased that they included “Atlas” from their 2007 debut album, Mirrored, as I haven’t heard that song in a long time and spent much of their great set watching Stanier drumming.
Mr. Bungle’s performance began at 9:15 and consisted mostly of Easter Bunny, with multiple covers sprinkled throughout the night. Guitarists Trey Spruance and Scott Ian were stationed on opposite sides of the stage, drummer Dave Lombardo on a riser in the back, vocalist Mike Patton in the center, and bassist Trevor Dunn was located between Patton and Ian. The highlights of their performance for me were watching a small group of people mosh towards the front of the crowd, Bungle playing the opening verse and chorus of Spandau Ballet’s “True,” performing “You Lose” by 7 Seconds in the middle, and finishing with the Spandau Ballet song. Once those songs were finished, Patton remarked, “You fucking feel better tough guys? That might be the first time someone stage dived to Spandau fucking Ballet!” Mr. Bungle performed “My Ass Is On Fire,” and closed it with the Pepto Bismol jingle. A few dad jokes were shared by the band ahead of the two song encore (“Satan Never Sleeps” by Timi Yuro and “Territory” by Sepultura) before Mr. Bungle ended their first NYC show in three years.
You can scroll below for all the highlights: