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Sweet Old Ween Review


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An altogether typical review, but old. Hope you enjoy.



Monday, 3/4/91, 7th St. Entry

I have seen the future of rock&roll and they are brain dead. As Ween's opening set for Babes In Toyland at the Cabooze drew to a close Saturday night, one barfly who was obviously fed up with the Philly duo's public crucifiction of the sacred cow Rock shrieked, in an almost protective tone, "Get off the stage, you fu©king asshoes!"

Clearly, Ween isn't for everyone.

That fact was made even more evident Monday night at the Entry, which had been packed to the gills for an impressive opening set by awesome local newcomers God's Favorite Band, but thinned out as Ween took the stage to do their thing. Midway through the 50 minute set, several in the crowd decided they didn't get it and split. And hey, I understand that. But you should have stayed. Really, you should have. Because if you did get it- the razor sharp parody, the irrepressible personalities, the freaky world view- Monday night was one of those gigs you'll tell your grandchildren about as you sit around the old rockers' home inhaling nitrous oxide out of balloons.

Which is what Ween did Saturday at the Cabooze. Periodically, a roadie would saunter up on stage with big red balloons full of laughing gas, which the twosome sucked down like mother's milk. It was wierd. Almost as if they needed it. You know- Kieth and smack, Rod and Jack, Ween and N2O. There was no laughing gas in sight Monday night, but it was apparent that over the years, the damage has been done. Electric guitarist/tape deck operator Dean and singer/acoustic guitarist Gene moseyed up onto the Entry stage in their socks and announced "We're Ween and we're in Minneapolis." Gene proceeded to repeat the line several times throughout the night, to remind himself. Other times, their minds wandered and just never came back.

Backed by a cheap tape deck that filled in bass, drums, and keyboards, the Weenies mixed bad '60s folk with bad '70s disco and bad '80s thrash. Spazzy dancer Gene's vocals alternately aped Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, Pee Wee Herman, Terence Trent D'arby and Digital Underground. They dedicated the set to their savior the BOOGNISH and did all the hits from their Twin/Tone LP GodWeenSatan- The Oneness: "You Fucked Up"; "Tick"; "Papa Zit"; "El Camino"; and "Puffy Cloud", which offers valuable insight into Ween's World: Float away on a cotton ball/ We write songs about the clouds/ My brain is dead from too much pot/ 'Cause Gene and I smoke too much pot.

They introduced "Weed Whore" by saying "This is about the woman upstairs- she sucks." The lights came down low for the eminently romantic "Let Me Lick Your Pussy," which cops a line from Prince's "Lovesexy" and takes the little guy's "Head" to its natural conclusion. (Truth be told, sexuality never looked so docile.) They did "Purple Rain" sorta straight, sorta respectful. And the between song banter was at least as priceless as the music itself. At one point, Gene stopped, collected himself, and said, "So... how are you guys?" like he was genuinely concerned. At another, he proclaimed, "Okay, we're Ween. Remenber the good things that you love. That is my message." About now, I was ready to mount a campaign to get Dean and Gene spots on Mount Rushmore.

It'd be easy to call Ween's short legacy something cute like "Revenge of the Nerds," but that implies too much covert anger. There's nothing forced or calculating about their buffoonery; it's very sweet actually, and they're bona fide Grade A goofballs. They spawn from the same obnoxious bad seed that gave us the Beastie Boys circa Licensed to Ill, the Replacements circa Hootenanny, and Spalding the bratty nephew circa the original Caddyshack. They come off like a couple of spoiled kids who have way too much time and drugs on their hands, and some will undoubtedly write them off as a gimmick. Serious musicians and PMRC-ers will despise them. Serious rock critics, too. But behind all the shtick, Ween are too sharp, too dumb, too fresh, and too damn good to be denied. If you can make that long leap of faith into their world, yours will never be the same. -Jim Walsh

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