Ween, Terminal 5, NYC 11/30 & 12/1
Doin that stuff that you do
Were Ween. And well, yes they areoff and running on two nights of 30-plus songs per eve without duplication or a drop in witty cynicism. Ween are a weird and exotic blend of old school, no bullshit rock that have long since escaped the shadows of their influences and forged a profane subculture populated withwell, Were Ween.
Terminal 5 is a three story walkup that seems more akin to a mid-21st century shiny deathmatch than a two and a half hour slugfest filled with 20th century rock n roll. The venue has a wide and expansive floor area, which crams quite a few, but the two adjoining balconies have a better vantage point to take in the sounds and lights. Bars are everywhere and easy to smash in and out of if one is into that sort of thing. However, quite frankly, the venue has disastrous acoustics and depending upon where youre at on the multiple levels, one doesnt always get the best earful. In the end, if roaming around for a few hours to take in the rare NYC Ween gig was the preferred concert travelogue than one was alright. Otherwise, grab a spot on a balcony railing and try to drown out the annoying hipsters talking for three hours at the top of their lungs. Welcome to the DubiousDome. Were Terminal 5 on West 56th. Yeah but unlike Ween, you suck.
The Gig #1
Friday, November 30. Its a big deal for Ween to be playing two nights in New York. They dont do either very often and tickets for both nights had sold out quickly. This was pre-winter Manhattan weather so the vibe getting inside was the normal drunken reverie without a single complaint about waiting for the doors to open. Actually, a fight broke out in line but hey, this is New York, could have been anybody about anything. Other than that, the mood was ridiculously upbeat after news from the road that Ween was on point, thus far, as fairly clean Ween was not such a bad thang after allat least on stage.
The first night is all fire and intensity and some killer guitar work from Dean Ween while Gene Ween held it all together on gloriously witty vocals. Lots of songs about dicks, what one does with dicks and what one does afterwards after doing what one does with dicks with the various psychos one meets when aforementioned dicks are involvedPiss Up a Ropecountry, the way its meant to be playedand Voodoo Lady are early thrash gypsy funk meltdowns. Waving My Dick in the Wind and Touch My Tooter has everyone singing every syllable like some deranged middle school sing-a-long (and hey, dont get me wrong, I LOVE this shitjust sayin). Even If You DontWeens ear candy factor ala XTC with strong keys from Glenn McClelland.
Mr. Richard Smoker and Zoloft continues the dicks n drugs loop with a smidgen of country twang that is prominent in the Ween mix and the band is incredibly tight at this pointnot adhering too closely to the studio versions but also not taking anything way too far afield as the band isnt even remotely interested in extended jams on any songs, rather Deaner will take a brilliant solo and the band will kick his ass from behind.
Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony is one of many that have me laughing every time as I also dig the bent melody of the song. You Fucked Up, Mollusk (bloody fucking beautiful) and Pandy Fackler are also crazy/funny/psychotic examples of that Ween lyrical genius wrapped around a surreallyuhfucked up rhythmespecially so in the formers case. Reggaejunkiejew is an unexpected surprise late in the set and pretty much blows away any doubts that the cats didnt bring the top drawer to the Big Apple. The encore seals the classic deal as the lead track from The Pod, Strap on That Jammy Pac is tossed out to a fantastic response while La Cucarachas opening track Fiesta appears to put a bookend on their entire studio career. Booze Me Up and Get Me High and Blarney Stone offer sage-and-fucked brain advice in case you hadnt quite gotten the point after two-and-a-half hours.
In short, was a solid rock masterpiece without an ounce of dullard flab.
The Big Apple
The Chelsea Hotel has housed a crapload of famous artists, writers and homicidal maniacssometimes all in the same person. I had to add my own metaphysical two cents to the place and the location is, indeed, pretty fucking fantastic in a way that needs no explanation other than it is very Paris in a New York sort of honest way. I loved the dad telling his daughter that she couldnt open up a Hanukkah gift just yet and had it stored near the legions of old school mail slots behind the front desk.
Pizza and Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and St. Patricks Cathedral with the legions of wandering tourists making a racket in the center of a holy place and taxi cabs out of nowhere inch/speeding back and forth in the slow holiday traffic. Fuck itwalked about 30 blocks on a brisk Saturday afternoon back to the Chelsea after a long and gorgeous visit with some friends because that sort of thing isnt out of place in say, the Big Apple as opposed to El Lay where one wouldnt even think of walking half a block anywhere.
Ohand the rest of Manhattan is still the Best City on the Planet. Nuff said.
The Gig #2
The second night at Terminal 5 was the tour leg closer in more ways than one as Ween played a well-rounded and fluctuating tempo set that included a five song acoustic set that was pretty coolBirthday Boy is always welcomehowever, it was placed at a time in the set where momentum was already flagging and the show sagged rather briefly before things shot right back up with a rousing version of Roses Are Free and later, another lyrically hilarious stretch that included Stroker Ace, Dr. Rocka personal favorite from _The Pod_and the country honk Powder Blue and the sweet Gabrielle before ending the set proper with a shit-kicking Fat Lenny for the ages. Even a set like this is a step well above the rest of the rabble and Ween went out on a fine long note of experienced dexterity. Are they a great live band? No question. Ween hold themselves together with an odd sense of graceful beauty which serves to celebrate the rough edges.
Ween was on top of their game as they finished up this leg of the La Cucaracha tour. New York came out with its familiar sharp critical weight and Ween conquered the sick beastdrained and spent, if one wasnt worn out after these two shows, ya dead, Mistah.
Were Ween. And well, yes they are
Knockin me out with your voodoo