Mr. Bungle’s The Night He Came Home Virtual Live Concert: Thumbs Up Would Recommend
Well, here’s a bit of a dilemma: I’m supposed to be reviewing The Night He Came Home, Mr. Bungle’s “virtual live concert experience,” which debuted earlier today, and remains streaming for the next 72 hours (give or take, depending on when you’re reading this). Thing is, the event is so packed with fun surprises — from celebrity cameos to cover song selections to the way they handle the absence of a live audience to the very setting of the performance, which was not announced beforehand — which I don’t wanna spoil for you. That makes it hard to say much more than “THUMBS UP WOULD RECOMMEND.”
So let’s talk about something that shouldn’t be a surprise: the performance itself is top-notch.
Mr. Bungle are living every teenager’s dream: they grew up to be successful, so now they’ve enlisted two of their heroes and re-recorded their original demo to make it sound they way they always hoped it would. That resulted in the most excellent The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo, which was released yesterday on Ipecac, and around which Night‘s setlist mostly centers (as I said, there are some covers… but don’t expect to hear anything from Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante, or California).
This version of the band is comprised of five musicians (original members Mike Patton, Trey Spruance, and Trevor Dunn, along with need-no-introduction new additions Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo) who are all highly accomplished outside of this particular endeavor, and have somehow managed to survive in this business for decades without getting lame. That they sound tighter than Mike Pence’s asshole is to be expected. And Mike Patton is Mike Patton for a reason — he’s one of the most hypnotic frontmen in rock history. So yeah of course they put on a fun concert.
Still, it’s striking how the whole group — new and original members alike! — bring a high school band’s energy to this show, even while maintaining the decades of skill they’ve acquired. Their vibe is sophomorically-provocative and snottily-iconoclastic, but never in a way which seems churlish or forced. They have somehow melded their adolescent brains with their middle-aged bodies. Like I said, they’re living the dream.
Also not surprising: The Night He Came Home is pro-shot and multi-camera, so it looks and sounds great. The lighting is akin to what you’d experience in most clubs — theatrical but not distracting or invasive. Just thought I’d mention it in case you think you’re paying to watch a Zoom stream or something.
Also also not surprising: in addition to a ten-minute, highly entertaining series of pre-show interviews with band’s members (without giving anything away: Lombardo takes the MVP spot here), there’s an opening set by stand-up comedian and frequent Patton accomplice Neil Hamburger. That set includes some roast-style jokes about artists like Kiss, Britney Spears, The Police, and the Foo Fighters that will make you literally LOL. It’s worth the price of admission unto itself.
As for everything else… did I mention THUMBS UP WOULD RECOMMEND? Don’t let anyone tell you anything. Just watch and enjoy.
You can buy a virtual ticket and actual, exclusive-to-this-event merch here.
You can check out some more non-spoilery photos from Mr. Bungle’s The Night He Came Home below (all photos by Jack Bennett). Below that is the setlist, although maybe don’t look at it ’til after you’ve already watched? As I said, there are some fun ones in there you might not see coming, especially if you weren’t fortunate enough to catch one of their reunion shows earlier this year.