Some Local Paper Issue ? December 1995

Some Local Paper Issue ? December 1995


by Katherine Monk (Sun Pop Music Critic)

Avant-garde or avant-garbage? After an hour of Mr. Bungle, the confusion remained - stuck in the quagmire of sound and noise that never once stretched out a hand.

After a while, the only thing that was clear was the intention to alienate everyone.

Wearing executioner's black head-gear, kabuki-meets-Mardi-Gras masks and intermittently insulting the audience verbally, Mike Patton (frontman for Faith No More) and his entourage put on one of the weirdest shows this city has ever experienced.

Songs would start, stutter and fizzle into feedback. Riffs repeated endlessly, brainwashing the packed Commodore Ballroom into trying to dance to something devoid of regular rhythm.

And still, there was something undeniably attractive in the swirling chaos.

From ear-piercing shrieks and squeals, Mr. Bungle could switch gears in a second, and lay down a tight beat that invited you to get a little closer.

Bossanova layered on top of heavy synthesizers, cymbal crashes and industrial noise sprayed sound in every direction like bullets in a Tarantino movie.

No wonder the crowd was all agog.

The only thing they boo'ed was the final number which Patton introduced as a "World Premiere": a straight-up cover of Loverboy's Working for the Weekend.

Patton is a first-rate rock vocalist. He can climb scales like Spiderman. No surprise, then, that his version of Mike Reno (complete with red headband) was almost too close to be funny.

Again, that was probably the whole idea. Creating a soundtrack of the mind - a mind in the midst of a bad, bad trip - is a nifty trick to pull off. And not as easy as it might seem.

Patton and band are amazing players in the true sense of the word, for they aren't just marching through chords, they're playing with them - like a cat plays with a half-dead bird - pulling at a hook here, clawing at the chorus there, but keeping it alive for the kill.

For some, the spectacle may have been grotesque, abrasive and atonal. But once you realize it's all a game, there's a spooky significance in the way Mr. Bungle play it because they don't care if they win or lose - as long as it make no sense by the end.

Thanks to James Kneip
Source: James Kneip
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele