Have you ever sat down and asked yourself “where can I find SpongeBob fans, hackey sack enthusiasts, people who will stress the differences between Indica and Sativa, and those who love driving 8+ hours for a 3 hour concert?”
The answer is simple: Ween shows.
Founded in 1984 and led by two men who have dubbed themselves as Gene and Dean Ween, Ween has managed to effortlessly blend together almost every genre imaginable, from the Spanish influences on “Vallejo”, the campfire anthem “Piss Up A Rope”, the trippy-psych “The Mollusk” and the educational “Loop De Loop” that appeared on SpongeBob SquarePants to help teach children how to tie their shoes properly. Ween is one of those rare bands that manages to have at least one song to appeal to anyone who listens to them.
They are also the biggest testament to how COVID has affected the Boise music scene. Ween’s original performance at the Botanical Gardens was slated for summer 2020, only to be rescheduled again to summer 2021, to June 2022, and finally landing in Boise on July 5th following a positive COVID test within the band— nearly 16 years after their last show in the Treasure Valley. While the show’s turnout may have been mild due to the countless number of fans who travel far and wide to see Gene and Dean, nevertheless Ween puts on an impressive three hour performance that leaves even the most stoic concert-goer smiling at the enthusiasm of both the band and the crowd.
Not only was MM208 lucky enough to have two team members in the crowd [myself and out stellar photographer, Ryan West] but Ryan was also kind enough to share with me his experiences as a Ween fan. “I’ve been listening to Ween ever since I saw them on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball back in 1993,” Ryan says. “I’ve seen Ween in Santa Cruz, San Francisco a handful of times.” Ryan also went on to share he’s also seen Ween in Hollywood, a few times at the High Sierra Music Festival, Denver, Red Rocks, Las Vegas, and the Bonnaroo Festival.
“There’s so many memorable moments. That’s why myself and so many others keep coming back. The live show is always something different and last night’s was easily most family-friendly show I’ve ever seen, minus ‘The HIV Song’.” You know, the song where the whole crowd alternates between yelling “HIV!” and “AIDS!” over a slick beat? That HIV song.
And Ween’s entanglement with COVID delays wasn’t just here in Boise— “One of the most recent special moments was when they played three nights at the Brooklyn Bowl in Vegas last October,” Ryan says. “The shows were postponed many times due to the pandemic and shutdowns. When they finally happened, there was so much emotion, built-up frustration and fears that disappeared the moment they took the stage and waved to the overjoyed crowd. The heaviness of what was seemingly on all our shoulders for 18 months was palpable and the feeling when it lifted is something I will never forget. Pure joy.”
With Ween’s seemingly endless persistence, keeping a band going for this side of 4 decades, a 4 year break-up and sobriety, COVID-19 and travel restrictions, maybe they were right with the opening lyrics of The Stallion Part One- do you know who you’re fucking with?
Written by Brandy Blush Photos by Ryan West