CONCERT REVIEW: Mr. Bungle – Melvins – Spotlights live at House of Blues Las Vegas


One day after spending 13 hours baking in the hot Las Vegas Sun at Sick New World Fest and watching two of tonight’s main bands, I should have been in my hotel room asleep all day. But often being more ambitious than my body and brain can handle, I ran around town like a jackass but had the time of my life. I culminated my crazy weekend in Las Vegas by seeing The Geek Tour featuring Ipecac Recordings bands Mr. Bungle, Melvin’s, and Spotlights. Sadly, Spotlights did not perform at the festival, but the two headline acts tonight killed it yesterday in the hot sun. Easily one of the most talked about bands of the talent-packed festival, before and after they played, was the return of Mr. Bungle. Most fans at this festival had not ever seen the band live that I talked to,  and several were convinced on the strength of the 30-minute performance to come out the next night to see the band headline. I promise them they would be in for an even weirder time to be sure.

After running around all day doing several music-related activities, I arrived early at the venue to interview Mario from Spotlights. We hung out more like friends than interviewer and subject, since we have a history of chatting and me covering the band all over the world. He seemed very relaxed and extremely strong on how the tour had been going. Look for that coming soon to our podcast. It was cool being in the venue watching the behind-the-scenes stuff and the sound checking etc. It was pretty cool. Returning to the venue a few hours later the quickly filling room of House of Blues Las Vegas, it seemed very impressive with a lot of fans I talked to over the moon about this pairing of bands. The merch line was huge and many fans entered the venue with tons of merch posters and vinyl under their arms. I usually think of HoB as pretty homogenous from town to town, but there is not a bad sight line in the entire venue, balcony, or floor and the sound was immaculate. 


Spotlights themselves took the stage as they usually do, to little fanfare and just go about their business workman-like, but always kill it live. Being the opening band on a tour such as this with two legend status bands might intimidate others but not these folks. Playing selections mainly off their new album with a few deep cuts the band talk little to the crowd except towards the end and really put on a stirring performance. Those in attendance already familiar with the band were delighted, but they certainly made their share of new fans on this night.


Melvins live are Melvins live, no matter where, no matter when. Over my 35 years as a fan,  I have been lucky enough to have seen most of the different configurations through the years, and they are all a little bit different, great, and weird. The best dress band in all of metal, which is saying something since drummer Dale Grover basically wears the same uniform of black every show, always hits the stage with the lights on, and more of a chill feeling of warming up at a rehearsal than a show. But that’s just a credit to the vibe of these guys and clearly, the minute the first song starts formally, they are all business. Tearing through a diverse set of songs from across their career, Melvins delighted the crowd who definitely had a ton of heads in the room they’re just to see them. Steven McDonald is incredible and his level of showmanship is unmatched. Buzz Osbourne and Dale of course have a weird telepathy where they seem to just glance at each other and know what they’re going to do next. Highlights of the set included “Zodiac,” an unironic cover of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” a thrashy version of their 1990s hit “Revolve,” and former Melvin’s collaborator and Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn coming out to close the show with two songs: “Duet for Two Basses” and the phenomenal and heavy “Night Goat.” 


Not only was I stoked to be seeing Mr. Bungle again live having seen them return three years ago in Brooklyn, But especially pleased to see Mike Patton live on stage again, especially in light of his mental health struggles last year. Glad to see him back kicking ass on all cylinders, and I hope it keeps on going in a positive direction for him.


I did not think they would be able to top their Sick New World performance just in terms of work ethic and comedic flair, but I was pleasantly surprised. The entire change over music should have been an early clue, all of the finest 1970s and 1980s Yacht Rock. In my section, we were all fighting back tears singing along. Live, the band is a well-oiled machine and just gives and gives to the crowd with their 1 hour and 45-minute set. They played an abundance of recent Bungle jams and a huge amount of covers. I love covers more than the average bear, but you had to just sit back in awe of the strength of the band able to cover John Sebastian’s Welcome Back Cotter theme, hardcore punk songs from COC, 7 Seconds and Crumbsuckers, as well as Seals and Croft, Spandau Ballet, S.O.D, Sepultura, and Slayer. But the true strength of Mr. Bungle in its current incarnation is in the originals and it was a thrill to take it all in, just the spectacle of it all. These five mad scientists of Metal and Punk, all legends in their own right, just vibing together.  Aside from Patton, the star of the show is clearly Dave Lombardo and the band made it a point to gesture to him and spotlight him whenever possible, as deserved. 


Top highlights of the night from an originals standpoint included “Erasist,” “Spreading the Thighs of Death,” “Glutton for Punishment,” “Methematics,” “Raping Your Mind” and “Sudden Death.”


The West Coast tour winding up, but the East Coast leg is booked for the fall, and I just might make the trip for it because it was just that damn good.


A fitting way to end the show to end a hellacious and crazy weekend for me.


Setlist via

Welcome Back (John Sebastian cover)

Bungle Grind


Spreading the Thighs of Death

Loss for Words (Corrosion of Conformity cover)


Speak English or Die (Stormtroopers of Death cover) (changed to “Speak Spanish or Die”)

Glutton for Punishment

Anarchy Up Your Anus


Hell Awaits (Slayer cover) (intro)

Summer Breeze (Seals & Crofts cover)

You Lose (7Seconds cover

True (Spandau Ballet cover) (snippet)

Anarchy Up Your Anus

Raping Your Mind

Just Sit There (Crumbsuckers cover)

Sudden Death




(Sepultura cover) (with band introductions)


My Ass Is on Fire

(with PEP tag)