Ween | 11.24.07 | Philadelphia

Words and Images by: Jake Krolick

Ween :: 11.24.07 :: Tower Theatre :: Philadelphia, PA

Ween :: 11.24
Thanksgiving pulls out the best in family dysfunction - your uncle says something wildly inappropriate or perhaps your sister's boyfriend gets too drunk and pukes on the centerpiece. With bins of turkey still in crammed in the fridge, it was the perfect season for Ween to host their own homecoming party laced with steaming new songs and heaps of improper actions to delight their wonderfully dysfunctional "family." Whether you traveled across Philadelphia to Upper Darby or trekked in from some other hole-in-the-wall, it was well worth grabbing a seat at this table. Ween served its guests a monstrous helping of La Cucaracha, their shining Rounder Records debut. The performance of these latest songs not only reflected the band's beginnings it also piled on the rebellious varieties of sound Ween fans celebrate.

Tucked in the back alley across from the Tower Theater is a classic dive bar, the Waterford. Walking in Saturday night was like reliving the night before Thanksgiving from another era. Drinks were in high demand as the musty smelling bar was filled with laughter and a who's who of fans from across the Delaware Valley. The brown liquor was finished fast as smoke started to rise from the stage inside the Tower. Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo and his musical cohort Aaron "Gene Ween" Freeman flashed grins and grabbed instruments before they each snagged a stool. The acoustic opening suited the evening well and gave the homecoming a nice, sentimental feel. Dean's patience and timing carried the solo on "Mutilated Lips." His tweaked pick strum ladled up a bit of David Bowie weirdness as he let his guitar free flow through the chords.

Ween :: 11.24
The odd sight of seeing notoriously rowdy Ween fans sitting didn't last for long as Gene snatched his electric axe midway through "Golden Eel." The song combinations were as tasty a pairing as mashed potatoes and gravy. "Learnin' To Love" was the first of eight new songs played from La Cucaracha. This thumping little country shuffle offered the kind of spirit that ignites farmer's daughters. It was only fitting that Ween defile her with a rousing version of "Piss Up a Rope." Glenn McClelland was spirited and smiling as he ripped us apart with a honky-tonk piano solo before he tossed the rope back to Gene and Dean.

The fine light show bathed bright colored spots from floor to ceiling giving the crowds' intoxicated senses an extra boost. Once you made it past the show's extensive external distractions you found musical mastery and meticulous skill. It's not some secret joke that you have to be in on to understand. With Ween, you listen to it and you either love it or you don't. The Boognish possessed Dave Dreiwitz (bass) and Claude Coleman Jr. (drums) as they shook "Spiritwalker" with some serious thump and bump. Coleman and Dreiwitz locked horns all evening and their exchanges kept building the show's momentum. Gene put down his guitar to pursue the life of a lounge singer from "Take Me Away" until "Transdermal Celebration." The not-quite-Vegas performer wobbled and strutted across the stage as Deaner washed down a multitude of beers. A lighter ironic side of the evening emerged with the disturbingly natural sequence of "Bananas and Blow" and "Your Party." Gene took his time letting his tongue examine each line of "Your Party," the Peter Sellers styled dinner party where "candy and spices and tricolored pastas" are served as a meal.

Ween's wide-ranging tastes and grubby humor appear to be an extension of who they are and what they enjoy listening to. The evening oozed with flavors of Van Halen, Parliament Funkadelic and Prince. Dean's solos were extraordinary and dripped raw power as he slaughtered our senses and destroyed his guitar during "Roses Are Free" and "My Own Bare Hands." The Tower's version of "My Own Bare Hands" was a tad faster than the album take and was received with sheer delight. Its heavy licks, punchy singing and nasty ending solo were so tremendous that this take will be the point of comparison for all future versions. Lyrics like "I wanna be your lawn mower and cut your fuckin grass" turned our cheers to screams.

Ween :: 11.24

Dean Ween never let up as he wailed on his guitar, his hands acting at masturbatory speed while he ripped the skin off during "Johnny On The Spot." La Cucaracha displayed a bit more of its fantastical entertainment during the duo of "Shamemaker" and "Fiesta." Gene performed "Shamemaker" in all his glory, running through a gamut of faces and gestures. These glimpses into Gene's mind offered us views of something similar within ourselves.

The five-song encore spread the Philly accent on thick as a fiery "Pork Roll Egg & Cheese" paid homage to the city. The energy released during the march across "Touch My Tooter" and "Dr. Rock" could only be rivaled by an Eagles home game. The power ending made fists pump and the band grin wide as they bowed goodnight. Gene's quote of the night was, "Billy Joel is the iceberg lettuce of rock 'n roll." It's only fitting to say that if Billy Joel is rock's iceberg lettuce then Ween is the spinach that makes rock stronger.

Ween at the Tower Theater

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[Published on: 12/3/07]

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Comments

All Loving Liberal White Guy starstarstarstarstar Mon 12/3/2007 03:54PM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

All Loving Liberal White Guy

Krolick is a machine!!!!!!

matthau Mon 12/3/2007 06:45PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

These guys are tighter and rock harder then anyone on the scene. If you have never seen these guys, now is the time. This is a band completely at the top of their game...ain't no holes in this lineup. I went to my first Ween show last week in Boston and I was seriously floored at how talented and tight these cats are. Seriously, I haven't seen a guitarist playing with the electricity and precision of Deaner in a long time. My god is he good. The Boston show was one of the best rock shows I have ever seen, and I have seen my share. Skip the Widespread Panic or the Gov't Mule show and go see some real, dirty rock n' roll people. Ween is some epic shite !

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Mon 12/3/2007 07:44PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Chaloupka

Yeah Ween!

mrkrinkle6884 starstarstarstarstar Mon 12/3/2007 07:54PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mrkrinkle6884

I love WEEN. But honestly I can really only digest "Object" and "Blue Baloon". Maybe I need to let the album grow on me. But same thing with Shinola, which I love alot more than La Cucaracha. They have the means necessary, it just seems they dont put forth the effort. But I may be wrong, maybe they have just run out of shit....Doesnt mean they dont rape your mind live.

Chaloupka Mon 12/3/2007 09:52PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Chaloupka

Does Ween have a live album?

Window Tue 12/4/2007 05:40AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"his hands acting at masturbatory speed while he ripped the skin off"

All Loving Liberal White Guy Tue 12/4/2007 08:31AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

All Loving Liberal White Guy

Ween has a double live album called "Painting the Town Brown"

j-bizzle starstarstarstar Tue 12/4/2007 09:33AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

j-bizzle

Good review - easy read. Ween also has "live in chicago" which definitely kicks ass.

Nice work Jake

blower starstarstarstar Tue 12/4/2007 09:48AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Ween rocks! But I'll still go see Panic and Mule as well thanks. No reason to set limits on oneself.

rulosa01 starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/4/2007 11:01AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

new album is way more solid than i originally thought. on first listen i really only dug blue balloon, but i would have to say there are a number of great tracks. shamemaker, my own bare hands, your party, woman and man... it grows on ya. live ween owns faces.

AZ~*Droo* starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/4/2007 12:56PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

AZ~*Droo*

hmmm...never heard a lick of these guys but boy do people rave about em!

D-Line Tue 12/4/2007 01:07PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

you wanna see a "jamband" you go see mule and panic, you wanna see a real ROCK AND ROLL band you go see WEEN, case closed. p.s. for all you newbie jamheads ween plays a differnt setlist every night, so do two nights and get your brown on. p.s. the new album kicks major ass, blue ballon, object, learnin to love, with my own bare hands, fruit man, woman and man your party, and BAG OF FAT, instant classics

crawf Tue 12/4/2007 01:45PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

there is no better band right now. none. please save contrary dopey comments for the wsp/moe/disco boards. nah, just kidding, everybody gets their free speech--just go check out this band if you want to see something other than the same backbeat/neverending solo.

sleewell starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/4/2007 03:39PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

sleewell

probably my favorite band right now. saw them at the wiltern a few weeks ago. way different than east coast shows i have seen, not nearly as rowdy but still fun. one of the best live acts out right now and i think they just freaking rule.

FreeHawk Tue 12/4/2007 04:07PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

FreeHawk

WEEN Rules Mule Rules , panic and the word jambands has been kind of old since 2000 get with the program newbies. Boognish!

blower starstarstarstar Tue 12/4/2007 04:32PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

mmimluv and Matt-what ever rookies! Who do think your talking to? Everybody else is a noob becuase you just discovered how good Ween is? Yeah they are great and so is Mule and WSP and they all play Real Rock and Roll so you point is rediculous. Besides Ween only plays a slightly different show every night. The songs are done the same way and they pretty much play their same bunch of classics every show. Deaner kicks ass!

pitopuffer starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/5/2007 01:14AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

ween fucking rules, the east coast leg was sick. mosh pit in new york ! what a strange fanbase we are. i want to thank everyone who purchased one of my chocolate town t shirts outside of the shows . it made the tour possible for me and my homie . p.s. got one to ween with my info. ween give me a t shirt design job! i'll do you proud

breadloaf starstarstarstar Wed 12/5/2007 05:50AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Chaloupka, in addition to the Brown live album, get the Live in Chicago DVD, which also has aa audio CD to match. The CD has less tunes than the DVD, but some classic Ween gems on it. Sounds like a lot of folks are just discovering the Bros. Was anyone at the Northampton show? Deaner said it was a very obscure night. Must have been fun.

nomemory starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/5/2007 07:39AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

nomemory

anyone know if they've played blue balloon live yet? Me likes.

manlejo Wed 12/5/2007 10:08AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Live in Chicago is allright, better idea of what they might sound like these days, but Paint the Town Brown is seat-of-your-pants bizarre and amazing. Recorded on sub-par equipment, at shows that wigged out foreign venues that may or may not have had any idea what they were into. I would say that either one is worth picking up, but Paint the Town would be my choice. If for nothing else, than the half-hour Poopship. Hard to listen to, I recommend mushrooms...

shadeballone starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/5/2007 02:01PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

HANDS DOWN, the best RnR band touring right now. If you have the chance, don't miss them. Just announced Southeast dates from DC to FL. They bring the heat live, nothing like any cd/dvd you can buy. If you have to choose, spend your money on a ticket and gas.

And no Blue Balloons has not been played, YET. Although, I feel I'll get it in Myrtle Beach or ATL. Thant's right bitches, I called it.

--Shaaady

rulosa01 starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/5/2007 03:09PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"If for nothing else, than the half-hour Poopship. Hard to listen to, I recommend mushrooms..."

shit mang that is a dangerous dangerous concept. Only people with exceptional Brown experience and who have completed multiple tiers of Boognish meditiations should attempt this exercise!

Jukebox Hero Thu 12/6/2007 12:50AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Jukebox Hero

Ween kicks serious ass both on record and live, but I can't agree that they are the the best rock 'n roll band around right now. That crown must go to my Louisville brethren My Morning Jacket. If you haven't seen them, do yourself a favor. They're not on tour right now, but a new album is in the works and will surely be followed by some heavy road action. Straight up boot shaking rock with the kind of soul that hits you deep. Nobody out there is putting out records and putting on shows like these guys.

DevinKlein Thu 12/6/2007 10:01AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I just wanted to add that anyone who says that Ween doesn't jam, was obviously not in Calgary on Nov 16 when they pulled out a half hour L.M.L.Y.P. encore. Ween is my favorite band to go see that's touring right now and I'd recommend anyone with the means go check them out.

shadeballone Thu 12/6/2007 10:21AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Yeah, MMJ is a PRETTY good rock band, but no one strattles the imaginary line of genre to genre in each and every song. THAT my friend is a true RnR band. MMJ's got a lot of talent but are somewhat one dimensional--don't get me wrong -they kick ass-but NO ONE is rockin like the brothers Ween right now.

All Hail the mighty Boog!

Also, the last two shows I saw were 3 1/2 hours plus -no set break- who the fuck else can do that night after night?

manlejo Thu 12/6/2007 11:19AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

rulosa1: I came for your avatar (that IS Sammy Davis, right?), but I stayed for your humbling comprehension and masterful understanding of the Tao of the Boognish. Truly, sir, you are a man amongst men.

paulygparty Fri 12/7/2007 12:33AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Ween's great. I have caught them the last couple times they ran through the SoCal area. They really are just rocking their fucking asses off these days. I wish more chill people came to Ween shows, but the more they play, the more that will happen.

You can find the Wiltern shows on archive. Start here, http://www.archive.org/details/ween2004-10-16-shnf .

bigchris starstarstarstarstar Fri 12/7/2007 01:11PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

great review!

Ween is the TOP rock n' roll band in the U.SofA these days, you guys are right. They killed on their recent NorCal shows, especially the Warfield which was off the hook! I've seen most of the big acts out there, and none are as dynamic musically as the Poopship. They are on fire right now. Check out the review too in this Mondays NY Times(12/3) on the cover of the Arts section. Brown for all. Ween will conquer the universe someday soon, I can feel it happenin'

Boognish Provides.

cliftonhanger420 Fri 12/7/2007 08:01PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i've been into ween for about 12 years. they are a great band, but i would never tour with them. WSP, MULE, PHIL, and WEEN rock. why the bullshit comparisions. as long as it isn't that bisco crap.

Bysshelley Sun 12/9/2007 07:18PM
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ween shows on posted on archive.org

mackadocious Mon 12/10/2007 11:32AM
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mackadocious

I think these two guys make special music. Some say that they just mock other genres and that may be true to an extent, but I think their sound is totally original. Quebec was fire and the new CD is no different. No other group could've written Spirit Walker. Man and Woman sounds just like moe or umph jammin' out.

weenhead420 starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/11/2007 07:09AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

weenhead420

Ween Also has the live album Live in Chicago which can along with the DVD!

weenhead420 starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/11/2007 07:11AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

weenhead420

Go Ween, Then Panic, and Mule can suck it.

grflded2002 Wed 12/12/2007 06:44PM
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grflded2002

also ween has there own torent tracker it is at www.browntracker.net i believe might be dot org or dot com i forget but most shows are available there