Portrait of the Boognish as a young spaz
“We must’ve been really good last time we were here,” Dean Ween cracks as he and brother Gener take the stage. “Half as many people here.” Perhaps audiences just didn’t know what to make of Aaron Freeman, Mickey Melchiondo Jr., their funny voices, stage names, and drum-playing DAT machine. Over 75 minutes, the duo pops between contemporaneous undergrounds: thrashing grunge (“Tick”), jam-bandy teases of Hendrix (“You Fucked Up”), lo-fi sludge (“Demon Sweat”) and The Jerky Boys. Predominant, though, are Gene/Freeman’s winning melodies: glam falsettos (“Captain Fantasy”), good-natured surrealism (“Marble Tulip Juicy Tree”) and naked hurt (“Birthday Boy”). Deaner/Melchiondo shreds, too. Nearly a decade old by the time of this recording, this diverse foundation of influences and styles helped Ween become one of the most consistently underrated cult acts of the ’90s. No need for multiple camera angles on the 45-minute home-video bonus DVD (different tours, similar material)—it’s just Ween at work, tweakishly over-gesticulating. Audiences got it soon enough.