It has been over 20 years since Mr.Bungle last toured together. Entire decades have passed since the bands split after their 2000 tour. With the craziness in the world during the pandemic, there were very few things to get excited for. However a positive was the reforming of the band amidst the chaos of late 2020.
Mr.Bungle would go on to re-record/re-release some of their greatest albums including The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo (2020) and The Night They Came Home (Live) (2021). After a few reunion shows here and there, the band finally announced that they would be going back on tour for the first time since the split. The Fall 2023 tour announcement was followed by a wave of excitement and hype, which the band would be sure to live up to.
By great fortune, the opening show of the tour was Baltimore, MD; The venue being the incredible Rams Head Live!. The opener Battles would kick off the night with an enthusiastic and intense experimental set. The duo includes Ian Williams (guitar) and John Stanier (drums), who truly put their heart and soul into every track they performed. As the audience watched what almost felt like a glorified garage jam session, it was clear the band was authentic and driven to create a sound that was something other than the traditional expectations. While the band members have had separate success outside of Battles, this feels like a more personal experience that allows for a true freedom for everyone involved. They worked up a sweat and the crowd made sure to reciprocate support of that hard work. If there was one downside it was the placement of Stanier’s drums, which along with the elevated stage, hid his body for most of the set. He still gave off high energy, it was just a tad difficult to see the amazing work he was putting in.
As Mr.Bungle took the stage, the venue was overcome with cheers. Lead vocalist Mike Patton brought all he had to the stage as the band opened with “Grizzly Adams”, followed by an all in performance of “Anarchy up Your Anus”. Alongside Patton, original members Trey Spruance (guitar), and Trevor Dunn (bass), welcomed new members Scott Ian (guitar) and Dave Lombardo (drums) with a “full steam ahead” mentality throughout the night.
In Mr.Bungle fashion, we simply cannot have one style for too long. So after going mental for a few songs, the band took a step back to play with the crowd and get smooth with a cover of 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love”. This of course was followed by possibly the most intense and wrath filled track of the night, “Eracist”. It really is an amazing thing to watch as the crow and Patton went from an almost avante-garde jazz to an extremely up tempo metal, death growl. This of course is exactly what the fans came to see. The unpredictable genre of Mr.Bungle is what popularized their music all the way back in the late 80s and early 90s. Throughout the night, the band stayed true to their roots and the amazing crowd work of Patton enhanced the experience for everyone involved.
As the performance ended, there was only one thing the audience wanted. “ENCORE!”…
The band returned so graciously as they covered Timi Yuro’s “Satan Never Sleeps”. A physical sway was produced from such a swinging tune. However, this is Mr. Bungle we are talking about. Sure enough, the band would crank the energy back to 100 with the final act of the night, “My Ass Is On Fire”. Ending the night on a high, the masses got wild one final time before a final grand applause for the return of a legendary band and an extraordinary night!
Anarchy Up Your Anus
Spreading the Thighs of Death
I Don’t Need Society (DRI)
I’m Not In Love (10cc)
Hypocrites / Habla Español O Muere
Hell Awaits (Slayer)
True (Spandau Ballet) / Cold War (Siege)
Raping Your Mind
Satan Never Sleeps (Timi Yuro)
My Ass Is On Fire
Gallery (Photos by Mike Amodei):