Gene Ween | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Gene Ween Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sat., Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. 2009

One of the strangest things I’ve witnessed in my years as a music fan has been Ween’s career arc. In the late 80s their schizophrenically demented, hilariously adolescent lo-fi pop detritus was so weird that even some open-eared college-radio kids couldn’t get into it, but now Gene and Dean—having long ago committed to material that’s at least straightforwardly genre driven, if not exactly straightforward—are among the prime movers in the jam-band universe, enjoying a sustained mass popularity unprecedented in their career. Almost as startling is the fact that they’ve put out hardly any bad music during that time (aside from deliberate atrocities like the slop-rock marathon “Poop Ship Destroyer”), even though they’ve made daring leaps between genres as diverse as countrypolitan, hardcore, and prog rock. They’ve done an admirable job not repeating themselves, at least musically, though their long-standing lyrical preoccupation with disease and deviance (roughly equivalent to R. Kelly’s booty fixation) is still going strong. This is Gener’s first real solo tour—till now he’s only been doing the odd concert here and there without Dean—but he’s hardly trying to escape the band’s gravity. Early reports from the fascinating bizarro world of Ween message boards suggest that his sets consist mostly of Ween songs, with a few covers tossed in. —Miles Raymer

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