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Friday, August 26
Ween Played it Off Legit and Kept It Real Brown Last Night,
Umphrey'sKilled as Usual and Vulfpeck Made Some New Fans: LOCKN NIght
Ween played a great set with psychedelia, old classics and the first guest appearance with UM, and Vulfpeck put on a great show. Night One of the LOCKN Festival
I didn't catch much of Umphrey's set but I saw them a week ago and know they are playing tight and let's just say it, they never really play a bad show. They kept it tight and stretched out a few songs to fill the time instead of trying to cram in a bunch of tunes. Kudos to them for that. Some bands try to play a bunch of truncated versions of exploratory songs in order to pack a lot in to a short set. One of the highlights was the Gene Ween joining them as to form Godboner for a cover of Billy Joel's The Stranger. The crowd was coming down from Vulfpeck, one of our founder's new favorite bands, and Umphrey's teed them up for Ween who proceeded to go brown and get weird and make Boognish proud.
(thanks to Jambase for the photo)
For those that don't know, Boognish is the demon-god that has appeared three times too and was said to spawn Ween. A kind of Ween-ish "Icculus" if that makes sense. In the headline slot, Ween back together from their breakup in 2012 so Aaron (aka Gene) could get his health back in order, made a great showing of themselves and broke out two great songs they've only played four and eight times, respectively over 25+ years. "Transdermal Celebration" the "Pink Floyd dipped in Ween" sounding psych jam through "The Grobe" into the country great"Mister Richard Smoker". Gene then mentioned they were about to play one of his favorite songs,"Mr, Would You Please Help My Pony?" this is when things started getting really brown. "Happy Colored Marbles" led into the heavy psychedelia of "How High Can You Fly" which they have only played live three times before this version. This is one of the songs that made me really like Ween. I was happy to hear quite a few tunes that I haven't heard in a long time and thought that they came off live wonderfully.
They kept up the energy with possibly my favorite Ween song, and the drug and alcohol struggles the band has gone through have been well documented. I used to read "Baby Bitch" about a girl but now it can read it as an ode to cocaine. Especially since "girl" is an east coast slang term for cocaine but you didn't come for deconstruction. So anyway, it was great to hear it played live. Next up was a handful of songs that would've made the folks at the Arise Festival shit their collective yoga mats. To see Gene Ween exhorting the crowd to singalong to sucking dick and getting blow jobs at the "Boy's Club" was both a little cringy and totally Ween. Boognish was proud. The next few songs followed in the same vein with so many "f-bombs" dropped in a short time, and I don''t mean "fuck" that doesn't matter anymore but the word "faggot" is now more shocking than the original "f-word". These songs were written before the LGBT movement became the juggernaut it is today and you could feel maybe some people would walk away.
(photo courtesy of Jeremy Williams)
After either "Japanese Cowboy" or "Fluffy" both funny and well-played Ween songs, Gene looked out and said," Hey some of you are still here. That's cool" and they played their one "hit" that can't be mentioned without mentioning "Beavis & Butthead" in the same sentence. Over their many years together, they've written so many great songs, this and "Roses are Free" are probably the only ones in the mainstream and one was Ween's only charting hit and the other because of Phish. So after,"Push th Little Daisies" they busted out "I Play it Off Legit" for only the third time as Ween, all in this year. The other five times was played by the Gene Ween Group so technically, it's only been played by Ween this year after being released on Pure Guava from 1992. After a few more tunes, Gener brought out the mandolin for "Ocean Man" from one of my favorite Ween albums, The Mollusk. This tune kicked off "Ocean Man>Poopship Destroyer>Zoloft>Pandy Fackler". Gene said goodnight and left the stage after "Saturday" but came back out for the encore because he was the only one to leave the stage. The band stayed on and after the slow destructo-pysch of "Poopship Destroyer" with some great guitar work from Mickey (aka Dean) who frankly had been killing it all night. His solos were tight when they needed to be and he wasn't afraid to explore either. He's a great foil for Aaron and it was cool to see them together again. I saw my first Ween show in the parking lot of the University of Memphis in 96' or 97' so I've been keeping up with them, not closely, but have had an appreciation of their music for a long time. The always fun song Z-O-L-O-F-T was followed by slow-tempo "Pandy Fackler" and that was it for the first night of LOCKN for Ween.
The second set for Ween takes place right before Phish's first show tonight and "Roses Are Free" is still on the table and Joe Russo played drums in The Gene Ween Band so don't forget that's a possible sit-in opportunity. This festival has so many musicians that have played together it's almost like the musicians themselves put it together. So don't sleep on Charles Bradley for a dose of soul, Vulpeck, and Ween followed by Phish, all tonight for free streamed on nugs.net. The stream was a little choppy but you can't complain, a stronger stream comes from fans.com but they require a FB signin or email/password signup. Either way, last night was a good way to kickoff the proceedings and the next three days are only gonna get better. This is going to be the best festival behind the Desert Trip and this one didn't cost you a kidney. It's gonna be a grateful weekend, so stay tuned to Grateful Music for breaking news and collaborations and all things LOCKN. We already have an interview coming with Vulfpeck so stay tuned....
Written by: Greg Heffelfinger
Umphrey's McGee setlist
1. Nipple Tricks
4. The Triple Wide
5. 2 x 2 >
6. Speak Up >
7. 2 x 2 (reprise)
8. Puppet String
10. The Stranger*+> Puppet String Reprise
11. All in Time
* Billy Joel cover
+ with Gene Ween as "Godboner"
(courtesy of setlist.fm)
The Godboner reunion was captured by j cornell, view “The Stranger” here:
Set: Nipple Trix > 1348, Attachments, The Triple Wide > 2×2 > Speak Up > 2×2, Puppet String, Roctopus, The Stranger* > Puppet String, All in Time