Toronto Warehouse

[a]Ween[/a] have once again conquered - not that anyone had expected any less...

“This is a song about cocaine and lying around on the beach,” says an almost straight-faced Dean Ween of the Jimmy Buffet-style piss-take, ‘Bananas and Blow’. With the crowd erupting to the cheesy, faux-Calypso beat, Dean and partner Gene Ween grin knowingly at their flock. It would seen most surreal to an uninitiated observer – technically, the song is really bad. But this doesn’t phase the surprisingly large audience of bowl-smoking crusties. They are Ween fans. You needn’t explain the word ‘irony’ to them.

There is also no denying that the group is in top form, despite the perennially bad sound at Toronto‘s Warehouse. The three-hour, 30-song set would leave other acts crippled, yet this duo merrily weaves through its entire catalogue – from 1990’s ‘GodWeenSatan’ to the newest, ‘White Pepper’ – with nary a complaint or an intermission.

A safe, disarming version of ‘What Deaner Was Talkin’ About’ opens the show, no doubt allowing the mixing bloke to fine-tune the cavernous sound. But at Gene‘s behest, the volume is suddenly cranked up another five notches. Unaffected by the din, the two Weens deftly lead their incredibly tight band through countless, diverse tracks. Gene‘s Jekyll and Hyde voice is as versatile as ever, while Dean‘s army of guitar effects is both deafening and scary.

There are too many musical left turns to mention. Dry ice-drenched prog epics ‘Buckingham Green’ and ‘Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)’ contrast with quirky ditties like ‘HIV’, ‘Reggaejunkiejew’ and ‘Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony’. Not to let anyone off easily, Ween also throw in numerous heavy thumpers, such as ‘Dr. Rock’, ‘Awesome Sound’ and ‘You Fucked Up’. There are even a couple semi-hits – ‘Push th’ Little Daisies’ and ‘Piss Up A Rope’ – for any non-diehards that might inexplicably be in attendance.

It’s a seemingly endless set – the encores alone take almost an hour – but Gene finally bows out during the fiery Let Me Lick Your Pussy. Like true warriors, the rest of the band plays on, taking extended solos (including a scary vocoder exercise by Dean). When the 2,000 exhausted yet satisfied fans finally exit, only the bootleggers are still complaining about the shoddy acoustics. Ween have once again conquered – not that anyone had expected any less.