Painting the Town Brown: Ween Live ’90-’98


As good as this live disc is — a double disc, mind you — it’s only about 17.3% as good as the actual live Ween experience. It’s not that Ween explode into gory festoons of special effects (because they don’t), but that the band is so totally fucking into it. As far as they’re concerned, they’re eight bowls into the evening at the practice space, and you’re just the lame band from next door come to see them jam.

Disc one starts with “Mushroom Festival In Hell” and then proceeds to careen over Ween’s discography, which is so long now that I feel appallingly old. Familiar pieces like “Voodoo Lady,” “Bumblebee,” and an eight-minute “Awesome Sound” are presented alongside rarer tracks like “Cover It With Gas and Set It On Fire” and “Ode To Rene.” “I Can’t Put My Finger On It” includes tranced-out middle eastern lapses in reason, bathed in a lovely Moog solution, for almost nine minutes of sonic jihad.

The second disc consists of three tracks, “Poopship Destroyer,” “Vallejo” (another rarity) and “Puffy Cloud.” The first two take up most of the disc — we’re talking twenty, thirty minutes each — while the closing “Puffy Cloud” is brief but effective, like a good jab of thorazine.

Sound quality? Purists will be shocked to hear that the entire record came from audio cassettes (presumably board tapes) taken from nine years of relentless touring. Ween fans won’t even hear the difference over the gurgling of the water.

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