Show Review: Mr. Bungle at The Warfield, San Francisco, CA, February 13, 2019
Thursday, February 13, marked the final date of a tour that will go down as one of the best reunion tours to ever hit the stage. Twenty years after calling it quits, Mike Patton, Trey Spruance and Trevor Dunn, the core of seminal experimental metallers Mr. Bungle, announced late last year that they would unite to play their debut demo, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny. After three shows in in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco sold out in minutes, a second show was added in each city and of course those tickets sold out immediately as well.
With Scott Ian (Anthrax) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Dead Cross) filling out the band, and different hand-picked openers for each date such as Ho99o9, Melvins, Cunts, and Possessed, fans were guaranteed a uniquely intense metal show no matter which date they attended. On the final date of the tour at The Warfield in San Francisco, it was comedian Neil Hamburger and death metal pioneers Possessed tapped to affront the audience’s ears.
Hamburger’s off-color one-liners poked fun at various celebrities such as Aerosmith, Brittany Spears, The Eagles and U2, drawing a split reaction from the crowd. While some stood their ground in order to secure a good view of the stage for Mr Bungle, many fans ventured out into the halls to secure more booze or merch. Those who have seen Faith No More in recent years are no doubt familiar with Hamburger’s shtick.
When Possessed took the stage the mood shifted from light hearted fun to full on demonic rage. As the San Francisco natives and death metal pioneers rolled into their first few songs the real fun of the night began. Blazing through tracks from their debut album, Seven Churches, as well as their 2019 release, Revelations of Oblivion, Possessed incited numerous mosh pits and several crowd surfers (including one disabled metal-lover who was hoisted up in a wheelchair). The onslaught of death metal music was a perfect preview of what was to come.
As the curtains finally opened for Mr. Bungle, the iconic fanged bunny floated high above the stage. Being the consummate weirdo that he is, Patton started the set off with a death metal cover of Mr. Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Dressed for the part, Patton scurried around the stage in a red cardigan sweater and pigtails as his vocal prowess shined through.
When a band says they’re playing an entire album on tour, you expect to hear that album from start to finish. But Mr. Bungle have never fit the typical mold and instead sprinkled songs from The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny throughout the night, alongside a dozen or so covers of songs by The Cromags, 7 Seconds, Siege and Corrosion of Conformity, including the set-closer, a rousing cover of “Fuck The USA” by The Exploited. True fans walked into that concert hall with an open mind and the expectation that they would be blow away by whatever Bungle decided to throw down, and that’s exactly what they got.
Although only six Mr. Bungle reunion shows took place on this tour, you can relive the madness through the many fan shot videos on YouTube and through my photos below. If you missed it… well, you missed it. Maybe in another 30 years you’ll have another shot.
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