Boston turned brown on Friday, as hordes of Ween fans descended onto House of Blues, filling the room’s every square inch in a manner that might make a fire marshall’s head spin. On the front rail were people who journeyed in from North Dakota and Chicago, and as Ween only played a handful of shows this year, I’m sure others were making pilgrimages that entailed crossing multiple state borders. It’s kinda hard to pin down Ween’s audience, but not nearly as hard to pin the band down.
This is a band that’s more flexible than most Olympic gymnasts, one who can realistically ape the style of bands ranging from Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, Jimmy Buffet, Pink Floyd, Prince, and so on. After a brief hiatus that ended a few years ago, Gene and Dean Ween (brothers in the same sense as the Ramones) have been tapping back into the absurd, not really sure if they are serious or not songbook that has been meticulously crafted over the last several decades. Though they are often lumped into the jam band scene, the only thing remotely cogent about that label is the fact that they mix up the set lists considerably; of the scant seven shows they’ve played this year, a whopping 113 different songs have been played, out of a total of 205. No wonder die hard fans aren’t worried about booking flights and hotel rooms and being subjected to the same songs night after night.
Whatever potential acrimony might have lingered after the abrupt stoppage a few years ago seems to be far in the past, as there was plenty of laughs and smiles shared among the band. Ranging from epic, stiff upper-lipped prog (“Buckingham Green”), the unvarnished crassness of “The Blarney Stone” fashioned as an old Irish sea shanty, the cross-eyed silliness of “Touch My Tooter,” and the breezy C&W workout of “I Don’t Want To Leave You On The Farm” – the paces, they were put through. How many bands can boast a thoroughly brawny riff monster like “The Final Alarm,” a song that’s at least a dozen years old but has never seen an official release and lives as a fleeting live experience. And that’s really the best reason to go see a a band; anyone can play or stream a song but there’s something entirely different about seeing the glow of well-oiled band playing their songs as you’re shoulder to shoulder with a room full of strangers all there for the same reason.
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