Mr. Bungle• w/ Melvins & Spotlights• May 17, 2023• The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson
On Wednesday, May 17th Mr. Bungle brought their Geek Show tour to The Union Event Center. They were joined by supporting bands, Melvins, and Spotlights. Talking with fans before the show, I was told that Mr. Bungle’s concerts are known for taking their fans on a wild ride. I should expect the unexpected.
First up for the night, was Brooklyn-based band Spotlights. The band is made up of husband and wife duo Mario Quintero (guitar) and Sarah Quintero, (Bass) and drummer Chris Enriquez. Their set was short but impressive. They set the tone with their dark and moody rock songs. The fans enjoyed their sound, and the night was off to a great start.
The grunge and sludge metal band Melvins were up next. The band consists of lead singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne, (aka King Buzzo) Dale Crover on drums, and Steven Shane McDonald on Bass. Melvins have been around since the 80s. They are known for their influence on grunge music and bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden. They were an impressive group, and the crowd really loved their set. I was especially impressed with their cover of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. They invited the opening band Spotlights back out to join them for a song. Together they did an excellent job.
The energy in the room was at an all-time high, as metal music lovers, anticipated the moment Mr. Bungle would take the stage. The band brought in a fairly large crowd. While those in attendance were all fans of the band as a whole, the individual band members also attracted their own set of loyal followers.
Fans of the band Faith No More were eager to see lead singer, Mike Patton. Known for his eclectic style, and unmatched vocal range, Patton has been entertaining crowds as lead singer in both Faith No More and Mr. Bungle for over 35 years. Scott Ian is well known as one of the best rhythm guitarists in metal music, and co-founder of the band Anthrax. After being a long-time fan of Mr. Bungle, Ian recently accepted Patton’s invitation and joined the band. Bringing with him a large number of Anthrax followers. Adding to the band’s talent was another well-known name. The legendary drummer, Dave Lombardo. Best known as the cofounder of the band Slayer, was another recent addition to the band’s lineup. Guitarist Trey Spruance and bassist Trevor Dunn are the other two members who have been with Patton since the band was formed in 1985.
Although I had already been warned to expect the unexpected, I was still surprised when the band stepped onto the stage and began playing a cover of John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back”. The theme song from the 70’s era TV show “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Their cover of the song was not a metal version, and stayed surprisingly true to the original. This allowed Patton to show just how versatile he is with his vocal talent. It was a hit with the crowd and a really fun way to start their set.
Their second song, “Bungle Grind,” a riff-heavy piece from their newest album starkly contrasted their first. Throughout the night, the crowd would hear multiple songs from their 2020 album, The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny Demo, including “Spreading The Thighs Of Death,” “Eracist,” and “Methematics.” Behind the band was a backdrop displaying the same Donnie Darko-esque rabbit skull that is also featured on the album’s cover.
Mike Patton jumped around the stage performing with an endless supply of energy as he seamlessly transitioned from smooth vocals to guttural screams. Attempting to match the frontman’s energy, fans in the crowd joined in with head-banging. Occasionally a fan would make their way over the barricade and into the pit. During their hardest-hitting songs, a circle mosh pit would form in the middle of the crowd.
With Lombardo on drums, it probably wasn’t too surprising when the band began playing a cover of Slayer’s “Hell Awaits.” However, I was caught off guard when their Slayer song transitioned into a cover of “True” by Spandau Ballet. I was again impressed with Patton’s vocals and appreciated his unique arrangements.
Between songs, Patton would engage with the crowd, even inviting fans onto the stage a couple of times. It was at the end of the night when one member of the audience accepted his invitation and stole the show. During their second to last song, a cover of Sepultura’s “Territory,” Jerry from the crowd joined the band on stage. He jumped on stage to dance, sing, and strip. It didn’t take the brave guy very long to ditch his clothes. He gave the crowd a show they probably weren’t anticipating. While he decided to keep his boxers on, he wasn’t afraid to pull them down and give the audience a view of his butt as he danced around. His performance was actually the perfect segue into the band’s final song for the night, “My Ass Is on Fire.”
Mr. Bungle, Melvins, Spotlights, and even Jerry, gave the audience an unforgettable show. The Geek Show is a tour unlike any other, and one any metal fan won’t want to miss.