In the ’90s, Ween were sort of like Phish’s creepy older brother: Phish got your sister high to expand her consciousness, while Ween had more devious intentions.
Nevertheless, Phish and Ween share certain similarities: eclectic songwriting, a Frank Zappa touch for jokes and a buzzing jammy quality, whether the buzzing comes from cheap beer or top-notch weed.
Vintage Ween track “Baby Bitch,” off 1994’s Chocolate and Cheese, both mocks and honors the earnestness of Elliott Smith. “Bananas and Blow” (White Pepper, 2000) features corny Jimmy Buffet-style steel drums with Gene Ween singing “Stuck in my cabana, living on bananas and blow.” Ween were hardly ever serious, but the band took its sarcasm, and musicianship, seriously.
These days, the other Ween brother and sometimes member of the Moistboyz — Mickey Melchiondo, Jr. (aka Dean Ween) — tours alongside other members of Ween in the Dean Ween Group.
The Dean Ween Group plays Ween covers and assorted originals. Notable covers include “Piss up a Rope,” from Ween’s 12 Golden Country Greats (1996), an album of country music because, well, why not? It is Ween, after all.
Often instrumental, Dean Ween Group tends toward heavy and stony guitar work. But don’t get complacent — just when Dean Ween coaxes you into a drowsy, hippie haze, he shocks you back to consciousness with a spikey punk riff. While the original Ween group focused on absurd musical punch lines, Dean Ween Group ranges from spacey and psychedelic, occasionally recalling Pink Floyd, to the kind of ceaseless musical exploration for which Dean Ween is known.
Dean Ween Group plays 9 pm Monday, Oct. 12, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; $20 adv., $25 door. 21-plus.