Instant Death with Ween

"Does it glow?  Will it shine? 
 Does it leave a trail of slime? 
 I can't put my finger on it."
     I Can't Put My Finger On It

Neither can you on Ween's music, since it does everything! In my last Ween concert review, I referred to them as the last beacon of hope for people with eclectic tastes, and this time things have changed: they've gotten better and are incredibly funny.

The opening band was Instant Death, a two-person band which featured a guitarist and a drummer and they churned out some excellent music, in a style similar to Ween, though they did sound a bit like Bad Brains. They were a great opener for Ween. Their songs were short and punctuated and were great to dance to. The last song they performed included Dean Ween and Claude Coleman (the drummer) singing along.

Ween is by far the best band (since Primus made headlines a couple of years or so ago) to show the mainstream a fresh approach to making music. This year has been good for them. Their Chocolate and Cheese album shows a remarkable musical growth. The songs were still as wacky as ever, especially in terms of lyrical content, but the parody is far more intelligent and the music itself, far more complex. And this is reflected in their live show---Ween are better performers but yet remain true to their roots. Not only did they just play music from their 4 albums, but also entertained with crowd with witty banter betWeen songs. The performance was also aided by studio effects (the two voices in Spinal Meningitis for example) and unlike the last show, where everything was just rock, this one did try to capture the songs as they appeared on the studio releases.

The songs they played included Papa Zit (from God Ween Satan), Dr. Rock (from The Pod), The Stallion Pt. 3, Big Jilm, Pumpin' 4 the Man, Touch my Tooter, Poop Ship Destroyer (from Pure Guava), Take me Away, Spinal Meningitis, I Can't Put My Finger on It, Mister, would you Please help my Pony?, and The HIV Song (all from Chocolate and Cheese). The finale was an overextended performance of a song I didn't recognise and then they piled all the instruments and other junk into one big heap before they made their exit.

To defend the fact that they are indeed eclectic: each and every song in Chocolate and Cheese or Pure Guava is different in style. But to be more specific, the melancholic tune at the end of I Can't Put My Finger on It (which wasn't done live), or A Tear for Edie, or Don't get 2 close 2 my Fantasy (which wasn't played, much to my disappointment), matches, say, even the nature of Page and Plant's latest Unledded venture.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the show. I had an extra ticket and was outside the 9:30 club trying to sell them. And these three guys come up and I ask them "do you need a ticket?" Guess who they turn out to be? Dean answers "hey, we're part of the band." And then it struck me who they were. Andrew Weiss is a cool guy. I complimented him on his mixing (which I think is an art) in the last two albums, even though I think Chocolate and Cheese is a bit overdone.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || || November 29, 1994