Photos by Vito Ingerto
The Boognish was smiling on Surly Brewing Festival Field Saturday night. Ween poured their special kind of musical joy on an ecstatic congregation of believers, as people danced in the grass or just chilled on blankets. The weather was magnificent, the food trucks stocked and the Surly brew flowed, creating a perfect storm of revelry.
Ween have been around awhile, materializing from the banks of the Delaware River in the ’80’s. Brothers Gener and Deaner, aka Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, honed their craft in bars on both sides of the Delaware. Handing out cassette tapes as they opened for bands such as They Might Be Giants and the Butthole Surfers, the boys grew a cult like following. They have a Minneapolis connection, too. Their first “real” music deal was with Twin/Tone, who released GodWeenSatan : The Oneness at the end of 1990. Eventually signing to Electra, Ween got a big boost when Beavis and Butthead featured “Push th’ Little Daisies”, which lead to more exposure on MTV’s Spring Break. Their current lineup include ridiculous musicians Dave Dreiwitz on bass, Claude Coleman Jr on drums and Glen McClellan on keyboards who have been playing together since the ’90’s. Ween’s music is genre defying, the only thing the band hasn’t tried yet is mumble rap.
The band came on stage around 7:30 and were bathed in the golden hour sunlight as they opened the show with “The HIV Song”. There probably isn’t another place on Earth were a crowd responding enthusiastically to the call “AIDS, AIDS” with an extremely strong “HIV” would be socially expectable other than a Ween concert. The irreverent setlist continued, with the kind of unabashed fervor those ‘down with brown” have come to expect. “Piss Up A Rope”, “Touch My Tooter” and “Spiral Meningitis “ being among them. The band leaned heavily on Chocolate and Cheese and The Mollusk, they also dug deep into their catalogue with selections coming from GodWeenSatan and The Pod.
These guys have been playing together for a long time and are tighter than 2 coats of paint. The band interacts with the audience like they are watching the band practice in the basement. The Deaner is just dag nasty on the guitar, and his extended jam on “Voodoo Lady” was face melting. Contorting as leads drip like molten glass from his Strat, when Dean bends down, its gonna get brown. And Claude freaking Coleman, lord have mercy, he put on a master class on keeping the beat.
In the world of Ween, brown means low down, nasty, obnoxious and borderline incoherent. Ween brought all of this and a whole lot more to Surly Festival Field Saturday Night.
The HIV Song – The Golden Eel – Polka Dot Tail – Piss Up A Rope – Nan – Touch My Tooter – Transdermal Celebration – The Stallion, Part 1 – Birthday Boy – Voodoo Lady – Frank – The Mollusk – Mutilated Lips – Roses Are Free – She Fucks Me – Zoloft – Take Me Away – Stroker Ace – Boys Club – Buckingham Green – Final Alarm – The Argus – Spiral Meningitis (Got Me Down) – Albino Sunburned Girl – Sorry Charlie – Your Party – She Wanted To Leave – The HIV Song