The Best Time At Your Party
J.I. is well aware that the extremely brown sounds of Ween are not beloved by all. So if the Pennsylvania duo isn't your bag, feel free to stop reading. If you want to know why they slayed the sold-out crowd at the first of two nights at New York's Terminal 5, stay with us.
How about 32 songs in a two-and-a-half hour set that hit most of the high points of the group's massive catalog, as well as several unexpected rarities and some of the greatest guitar playing J.I. has seen east of Eddie Van Halen a couple weeks ago? Add to that about a dozen good buddies, plenty of beer and assorted wacky individuals and you have a fine night out indeed.
The boys really got cooking during "Voodoo Lady," the seventh song of the set. Other outrageous jams enlivened the "X-Files" soundtrack gem "Beacon Light" and the ultra-creepy "Zoloft," an endurance tester that often separates the true fans from the casual observers. Guitarist Mickey Melchiondo was on fire most of the evening, taking the mic for the sing-a-long "The Blarney Stone" and the ultra-uncommon "Strap on that Jammypac," a trademark awesome/annoying oldie.
We also have to shout out to keyboardist Glen McClelland for his truly demented solo during the middle of "Pandy Fackler." What started out sounding like music from a Holiday Inn cocktail lounge in 1982 wound up in outer space, with Ween expertly returning to the main theme without a hitch.
Oddly, there were only three songs from the new "La Cucaracha" ("Your Party" suffered for the lack of the saxophone from the album version). But we'll be back again tonight. Dare you?
UPDATE: On Saturday, judging by the show of hands when Melchiondo asked how many people had been to the gig the night before, 80% were repeat customers. And they were rewarded handsomely: only one repeat from the night before (the fake game show theme "Fiesta"), and it was naturally played to both open and close the performance. Saturday night treats included a sick jam on "Roses Are Free," a four-song acoustic set led by "Tried and True" and "I Don't Want It" and a brain-frying main-set closing take on "Fat Lenny."
Backstage afterward, Melchiondo insisted that one day the Philadelphia 76ers would be good again, although he was more interested in making it back to his local bar in New Hope, Pa., for last call.
My So-Called Nineties Indie Rock Lovefest
There are a few things J.I. is not jaded about. Puppies. Sassy Magazine. Classic rock radio (childhood memories overshadow any potential for snark). And of course, My So-Called Life, the best television show ever produced. To celebrate the deluxe DVD that is sitting on the J.I.'s desk and tempting us to blow off work and watch, we thought we'd do some digging and find out what the indie rock stars of the show are doing in 2007.
Animalbag: According to a blog post by a â€œfriend of the Bag,â€ two members are working on an unnamed band, another is affiliated with a band called â€œTaterâ€ out of North Carolina, and member â€œBooâ€ Duckworth passed away in June of 2006.
Jawbox: The band was dropped from Atlantic in 1997, and split shortly thereafter. J. Robbins is in Channels, and spends time caring for his son Callum, who was recently diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. Drummer Zach Baracas plays with Minneapolis band The Millions, and Bill Barbot and Kim Coletta run DeSoto Records.
Bettie Serveert: They continue to tour, and their cover of a Bright Eyes song was featured on The OC. Their last record was 2006â€™s â€œBare Stripped Naked.â€
Buffalo Tom: The band was on hiatus from 1998 to 2005, returning with a live CD. They played South By Southwest and toured this year, as well as releasing a new record, â€œThree Easy Pieces,â€ on New West Records.
Toad the Wet Sprocket: Toad broke up in 1998, but continue to do things like â€œreuniteâ€ to play full US tours. Lead singer Glen Phillips has released a number of solo records that J.I.â€™s dad seems to like, and the other members have been involved with a band called Lapdog.
Juliana Hatfield (pictured) : Juliana left Atlantic and has been prolific, putting out a number of solo albums, but never quite recreating the commercial success she had at the time of â€œMy So-Called Life.â€ Sheâ€™s still a compelling live performer and her later work is criminally underappreciated. A mutual love of her work is how J.I. met our excellent friend Kelly. Hi Kelly!
Lemonheads: J.I. interviewed Evan Dando a few years ago after a solo show. Dando was so addled he could barely answer questions like, â€œSo, howâ€™s the tour going?â€ Apparently Dando did a lot of drugs in the nineties. The Lemonheads reunited in 2006, released a self-titled record, and toured.
Madder Rose: The band split in 1999. Lead singer Mary Lorson sings for Saint Low.
Archers of Loaf: After splitting in 1998, Eric Bachmann joined Crooked Fingers, Matt Gentling went on tour with Superchunk, and Eric Johnson went to law school.
Urge Overkill: UO, the band the J.I. always thinks about when people talk about Okkervil River, had a monster hit with their cover of â€œGirl, Youâ€™ll be a Woman Soonâ€ on the Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, then broke up. They got back together in 2004 and are preparing a new album.
Afghan Whigs: They disbanded in 2001, but recently reunited to record some new material and put together a greatest hits comp. Greg Dulli fronts the Twilight Singers and continues to be one of the dirty-sexiest men alive.