Mr Bungle

Nottingham Rock City

September 9 2000

You don't need me to repeat myself again. Patton is a legend. He's the man. I may go through the old motions of imagining myself on stage at home sometimes. Sometimes it's guitar, sometimes bass that I'm playing (in which case it's Steve Harris - oh the irony of that statemet in this gig review!) - hey, we all do it, we all have our moments, don't lie to me and tell me you don't. But if it's vocals I'm doing, then it's got to be Patton. Just knowing how incredible he is, the range, the skill, the invention. The ability to croon, to scream, to holler, to come up with strange fantastic noises, he can just do everything it seems, and that's what I'd like to be able to do. Luckily those kind of moments are performed behind closed doors, and not seen by the public - which is lucky for you let me tell you!

So yeah, this is going to be good. It's probably going to be the gig of the year before they even step on stage. I know I know, shouldn't prejudge and all that, but this isn't prejudging. This is going to be the gig of the year. Fact. Probably. Yep, anticipation is high. I still don't get Disco Volante, but I've kicked myself way too hard and way too often for not going to see them on that tour up at the Duchess in Leeds. I've waited best part of 12 years to see this band, ever since the OU818 demo (the first demo I ever did buy. Tsk, nostalgia)

Apparently I was told before the gig, there were 28 instruments on that stage. Was it 8 or 9 people? I can't remember. The place is surprisingly full. At a guess, 3/4 full. Really surprised. It's good that they're playing in front of a decent crowd, but it's not uncomfortably full. You pick your spot, and you can see. It's nice. I wonder though how many know why they're here. Partly cos at the bar before it started, I did hear someone say something like "so is it Mr Bungle up here tonight?" Mate, if you've got that much money that you can spend a tenner to get in to something you've no idea about, then let me know. I know a few "worthy causes" that you could help out.

And so they appear. Patton is centre stage, behind a bank of possibly keyboards and mike effects. He's swamped by musicians either side. "Tonight's show is cancelled" he says. Bugger. I leave. Ha, yeah right. "It's cancelled for 2 reasons. One I just shit my pants, and the other is because we have Shaquel O'Neal on the mixing desk". Hey, it's an American things, so if I spelt Mr O'Neal's name wrong, sorry. They play. Awwwwwwwww, words?! Ah, sheeesh. Magnificent. If you know the Bungle sound, then you'll know it appears to the untrained ear (ie, mine) to be a complete mess, all over the place, so many, maybe too many things going on. Yet somehow they're just about the tightest band I've ever seen. It's difficult to know if some of it is spontaneous improvisation or if there really are musical minds that work this way.

Of course it's the Californian material I most want to hear. Air Conditioned Nightmare and None Of Them Knew They Were Robots - they spazz, they twist and contort. Patton holds the centre stage, switching between about 4 different mikes, each with a different effect, yet it's still his voice, it's still his strength and power.

Patton appears relaxed, chatting with the crowd. There's a guy there. "There's someone with an Iron Maiden t-shirt on looking at me." he says as he launches into a solo version of Begin The Beguin (or however it's spelt). Half way through he offers a Bruce Dickinson version, foot on monitor, throwing out the devil signs, "get down from there girl" he tells one girl sitting on someones shoulders, "we have another singer - wow" he dryly throws out the sarcasm to one person before returning to the Maiden man, "ah yeah, I remember where I was now" he says before launching into a pitch perfect note. It takes some balls to do something like that solo, knowing that any tiny mistake is going to be obvious and magnified as a result. He doesn't make one. Awesome. God how I wish I could sing like that. How I wish all the vocalists in rock could sing like that, it would make things so much more interesting than they currently are.

The songs continue, the sound of summer that is Sweet Charity, My Ass Is On Fire, more from Disco Volante that cos I'm such a fake I never knew the names of. There's a few cries for Girls of Porn. And by my left there's a guy. He has (or makes) 2 calls on his mobile during the set. Uh, wake up, go outside, do damage to yourself. I mean, how stupid, how thoughtless is that. Wonder what the reaction would be if someone in a band did that onstage. "Yeah, sorry, I'm in the middle of a gig. What? What? Can't hear you, there's 2000 people shouting. {turns to crowd : please be quiet, I'm on the phone.} Yeah, yeah, I'll ring you back in 30 seconds when we've finished the song". You'd be pissed off wouldn't you? Yeah, well don't fucking have phone calls in the middle of gigs. Pink Cigarette, introduced as Field Of Dreams and dedicated to the original man of Nottingham, Kevin Costner, is incredible. Well, you didn't think it would be anything but did you? Shame on you if you did.

There is one disappointment tonight. Goodbye Sober Day has that middle bit, the chant dropped. It's the part I really really wanted to hear. It's still great, it's just it could've been, wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa kind of thing, you know what I'm getting at. "How ya doing Iron Maiden? Why don't you go and cry in the corner, just stop staring at me like that", he's on top form. So relaxed. I shouldn't draw parralels I know (specially when I can't spell them), but I remember the first time I saw him, Cardiff '88. Virtually no interaction with the crowd - it's a big transformation. But of course this isn't about Patton. It's Bungle. As I said, the musicianship is incredible. As they come back for the encore, the guy who's looking for a transvestite tonight (not his choice!) picks up guitar and rattles off a series of Eddie Van Halen Eruption like moments - well, it's ROCK City after all. Thing is, he's the keyboard player or something. Trevor Dunn (who's been looking resplendent(???????) in his dress and wig) returns the compliment and they dual through a series of metal moments, before there's another cover, a cheese metal song, forget which now. Then there's the chance for our EVH guy to "show what he can do" as they play a more acoustic number. As it ends with Ars Moriendi Patton promises they will "see us soon". You better stick to your word man, because at a time where being honest, I'm pretty depressed by the banality of music at the moment, this was a whirlwind of fresh air. It's not like anything I've seen before, not yer typical rock or metal thing, and it was so good because of it. I don't know how many were really there for Bungle tonight, but I sincerely hope that those who weren't, who were there out of curiosity, have been tempted enough to indulge a little more. Now I want to just see Godspeed You Black Emperor this year. Tonight? Well, really, whatever I write is going to be inadequate. Quite probably the best 10 quid I've spent this year.