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Bungle Fever

[whitespace] Palookaville
David Espinoza

Sax and Violence: John (left) and Tim of Estradasphere work out at Palookaville.

Palookaville hosts a surprise set by newly mellow Mr. Bungle

By Matt Koumaras

MR. BUNGLE MADE a surprise visit July 12 to Palookaville in support of its new California release. I missed the first 30 minutes of the set, but everyone seemed pretty blown away by it. A friend of mine said it was "like an eggbeater to his melon." The songs I did manage to catch were a little different than the sexually deviant avant-jazz circus music Bungle played in yesteryear. Mike Patton cranked out some mellow, Beatlesque stuff on his Roland keyboard while managing to act out the role of ass by screaming to the sound guy about the monitors. I'm glad Palookaville gave him the sandwiches with small slices of bread backstage before the show or it could have gotten ugly.

Estradasphere was worth the wait between bands. The band's theatrical "death metal meets '50s doo-wop" opener, "The Unholy Chugs of the Fallen Earth Angel," featured an Alien C-section emerging from the stomach of John, their lead vocalist and saxophonist. Playing what the band described as "sax and violins" (as opposed to sex and violence), the band was hypnotizing yet sharp. Tim's incredible acoustic bass solo on "Hunger Strike" put a bucket over my head and hit me with a big mop. George, who spent the entire set on stage reading; a sexy gorilla; and the free yoga lessons all made me strip off my soccer jersey and dance around in my Nike sports bra. Some of the band's epic passages had neat Middle Eastern rhythms to them. I also dug the Tesh-like cliffhanger solos and chunks of vibrato too.

Peter Noone, of Herman's Hermits fame, played the Boardwalk last Friday and turned out to be quite the comedian. His dead-on impersonations of Johnny Cash, Ricky Martin and Mick Jagger were improv-worthy. One of the funnier moments came when Noone mentioned that he still gets fans throwing underwear at him onstage--"It's just that the underwear's a little bigger now." The opener, "I'm Into Something Good," suffered from flat backing harmonies that had me pleading to his band mates to check their sneakers because they must have stepped into something--and it didn't smell good. The brilliant "Mrs. Brown, You Have a Lovely Daughter" had the crowd in rapture from the opening fragile guitar strums; the verses grew awesomely creepy coming from someone decades past puberty. Noone's spirited delivery of "Henry the Eighth" remains undeniably punk rock--even the Ramones stole the "second verse, same as the first" and welded it into "Judy Is a Punk." You have to appreciate a singer not afraid to play his set while wearing baggy Scooby Doo boxers that someone threw at him onstage. "End of the World," "All Over the World" and "Wonderful World" rocked the beach-blanketed crowd's worlds. Even the American Sign Language interpreter giving me the middle finger between verses couldn't erase the fact that Noone had the tunes and took the time to put on a dynamite show.


On Wednesday, New Jersey's Kid Dynamite, Kill Your Idols, the Great Divide and Second Coming play the SC Vets Hall ($7); also Wednesday, the What-Nots play really quiet at Callahans with T-Mama and the L.P.s; Sunday, Riff Raff is at the Cactus Club; Tuesday, Herbert and Vincent's Ear members show up on the Idle Hands show on Free Radio-SC (96.3FM), 4-7pm.

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From the July 21-28, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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