We recently caught up with Black Map bassist and vocalist Ben Flanagan to discuss his favorite-ever show – seeing Mr. Bungle in 1999 at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. This puts the band about six months out from releasing California, and under one year until they would break up.
"The show that still sticks in my mind at the very top of the mountain is seeing Mr. Bungle for the first time," said Flanagan. "I was 17, and it was 11.11.1999 at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina. I had just started playing in my very first band and went to the show with my bandmates. We'd all been introduced to Mr. Bungle the previous winter while we were recording an album in New York. The engineer had heard our music and thought we might enjoy this 'weird experimental band' out of California featuring the singer of Faith No More. He was right. As a band, we were already leaning towards the eclectic and adventurous, and the mere existence of a group like Mr. Bungle validated our own impulses.
"I believe the show had no opener, which I remember making sense after I made my way to the front and saw their impossibly complex and sprawling stage set up. Once they took the stage, the band went to a place I had never seen before. Just complete ownership over what they were doing.
"Mike Patton commanded the room with a confidence level that seemed superhuman to me at the time. The band would switch seamlessly from speed metal songs in Phrygian mode, to Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys-sounding numbers, to Italian opera, and to places I didn't know existed yet. The pure ambition of their set and more importantly their fearlessness in doing exactly what they wanted to do was ultimately the thing that stuck with me the most. They seemed beholden to no one other than themselves, manifesting exactly what they wanted to manifest, and that, even more so than the virtuosic musicianship, is the thing that has stuck with me the most throughout the years."
Check out the show below, and check out Black Map's new album that just dropped today Melodoria here.