Ween Paints The Cap Brown (Concert Review)

Paintin’ The Cap Brown

The Reviewimg_20161125_225949

If you’ve used Vine at all (Or are a SpongeBob obsessed stoner) you’ve probably hearda song called “Ocean Man.” It’s catchy, it’s weird, and it’s got a great guitar sound. I doubt though, you know who recorded that song. Even if you knew of them, you may not be aware of their importance to music history. Their name is Ween, they’ve been at it since 1984 and up until 2012 had been one America’s most eccentric jam bands. Ween reformed this year to play a handful of shows, including some festival all over the United States.

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To cap the first year of touring Ween, performed a three night stand at Port Chester’s Capitol Theater. Performing a total of 82 different songs among the three sets. Each one a distinct affair that both showcased obscure gems and crowd favorites.

Not only was the November 25th show the band’s debut at the Cap. It was my first time seeing the legendary New Hope band. For reference, I do like Ween quite a lot, but I am by no means a die hard. I have my personal favorites and I’ll shout them out. However if none of those songs are played it wouldn’t be an issue.

Ween is band that has a wealth of non-album tracks and can play a 2 minute song for 30 plus minutes live. So for the amount of song I know by the band there is an almost equal amount of material I don’t know. That’s never been a issue before, because as much Ween isn’t the jam band Phish is they’re still a jam band.

Maybe they just gives more of a shit than others because every time a song was called out, it was played. No exception. Now perhaps this is just some fabled hippie dream. But for a band to bring out a song they’ve only played 13 times in almost 10 years that has to go beyond just being on a setlist. It’s the band’s energy, they want to be there as much if not more than every diehard there. 

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Useless Subheading 1

Some Historical Context

The band’s mix of sounds is distinctly an American affair. Their catalog puts both the Dead’s and Phish’s field of works to shame in terms of variety. That doesn’t even account for the band’s stones, which Ween has wheelbarrows full of. Think of band who’d record a country album, with only sessions who’ve played with people like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and George Jones? Does that same band write songs called “Piss Up A Rope” or call their touring band for that album, “The Shit Creek Boys”? There’s only band like that for my knowledge and it’s Ween.

Almost Weens

In 2014 I went to the Lockn’ Music Festival in Virginia for a day, it was supposed to a weekend but things didn’t work out. I got to the festival somewhat late and the band playing sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place where I knew the music from. The singer was agitated as he announced himself as “Freeman” and I knew he was singer when he went into their next song, “Freedom Of ’76.” My next run in with Ween, was again not Ween itself. In 2015 I saw Modest Mouse play Brooklyn with the Gene Ween Group (I believe a separate from Freeman.) Yet I feel like I’ve been aware of Ween all my life and seeing them live only confirms that. They’re still not my favorite band, but they’re a great band.

The Verdict

Ween is perhaps in the truest sense of the word, the coolest band on the planet. They may be getting older, but hey they’ve been at it since Reagan’s second term. There is still no better singer for Ween than Gene Ween (Aaron Freeman.) Nor a better guitarist for Ween than Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo). Sure they performed with the same set of instruments throughout their set creating high potential for bum notes, they did so in stride. Ween is one of the only bands to accept their brown notes not in jest, but with pride. So much so that they put out a live album with the title, “Paintin’ The Town Brown.” To one up that, during their shows this year the band sold shirts that said “Make America Brown Again.” 

A fine way to end a year of music. If you don’t know this band already, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The setlist was varied, but the energy consistent. An on point display of ragged power. Oh yeah and they played for almost 3 hours, with one short break and no opener.

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Setlist For 11/25/2016

  1. Exactly Where I’m At
  2. Flutes of the Chi
  3. Spinal Meningitis
  4. Happy Colored Marbles
  5. Nan
  6. Take Me Away
  7. Object
  8. Tick
  9. My Own Bare Hands
  10. Sorry Charlie
  11. Roses Are Free
  12. Now I’m Freaking Out
  13. Gabrielle
  14. Tender Situation
  15. Push th’ Little Daisies
  16. What Deaner Was Talkin’ About
  17. Pandy Fackler
    (Deaner Intros Band)
  18. I’ll Be Your Jonny on the Spot
  19. Laura
    (Without Glenn)
  20. Demon Sweat
    (Gener plays Keyboards & Glenn on Tamborine)
  21. Encore:
  22. I’m Dancing in the Show Tonight
  23. Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)

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