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Live Review + Photos: PRIMUS and The Dean Ween Group at The Enmore Theatre, Sydney on 6/4/18

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If you thought the nineties era of music was over you were dead wrong, because tonight the perfect team of nineties superstars have teamed up for one unforgettable night. If you grew up in the nineties and Ween doesn’t ring any bells or you are left saying “I Can’t Put My Finger On It”, you are either referring to the 1995 hit or have missed out on an important part of your youth.

The brains behind Ween, Mickey Melchiondo (Mr. ‘Dean Ween’) himself, backed by an incredibly talented group of musicians, tore the roof off the Enmore Theatre tonight. Kicking the set off with a new instrumental piece, “The Ritz Carlton”, taken from the piping-hot newbie, Rock2 (2018), the band were faultless from the get-go.

Making up the core of Ween, both drummer Claude Coleman Jr. and bassist Dave Dreiwitz were standouts throughout the set. Coleman Jr. hit the sticks with precision as Dreiwitz provided the chugging bass on a personal favourite, “Finger Banging”, another new track.
Introduced by Melchiondo as “a song about finger f*@ing”, smelling his finger each time the band would chant in unison, “Aaagh Finger Banging.” The humour is still there, ringing back to the controversial lyrics of Ween, now eleven years old “You’re just an object to me. You’re just a piece of meat and I am the butcher”, taken from “Object” off La Cucaracha (2007).

Melchiondo lets the excited audience know it’s been ten years since the band has been down at the very same venue. It is also good to see tracks from the debut, with the funk riot of “Mercedes Benz” showcasing the bass groove of Dreiwitz.
Inspiring guitar work from Melchiondo and Parliament Funkadelic’s Michael Hampton, on instrumental “Garry”, is captivating, to say the least, with the ballad dedicated to Garry Shider, also from the iconic funk outfit.

Introduced as, “a song about guys into fitness who wake up at five in the morning and go running in the rain”, the humour of “Exercise Man” is a fun sing-a-long. Not leaving out the punk attitude of the Ween classic, “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night”, covered in all its glory. Melchiondo tells Dreiwitz that, “it’s about time he sang something”.

“Waste Station 9”, was another good choice from the latest effort. The group could have played longer as they were on fire tonight. The set sadly came to an end as Melchiondo was given the cut-off sign. “Up next we have Primus,” the frontman yells, to an uproar of ecstatic fans.

Tonight would be the equivalent of a cartoonists’ wet dream, with the wackiness of Les Claypool, projected both off the screen and from the explosion of sound from a stellar line-up. The unique guitar style of Larry “Ler” LaLonde and drum expertise of sticks-man, Tim “Herb” Alexander prove why they are masters of their class and have stuck around and are here for the long haul.

An amazing set list saw a variety to please the avid follower, starting with “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers”, off Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991) and mixing straight into “Last Salmon Man” off Green Naugahyde (2011) Claypool teases the crowd saying they are going to play all the new songs and it’s going to be great, with the crowd booing, before jumping into “Groundhog’s Day”, from the debut Frizzle Fry (1990).

Only two new songs from The Desaturating Seven (2017) are played tonight, with the seven goblins lighting up the screens for “The Seven” and “The Storm”. This a nice surprise as other shows from the ‘Ambushing the Storm’ tour have had to sit through the entire album, which can tend to bore die-hard fans who want to hear the greats.

After seeing Primus on stage many times it’s great to see a good mix, rather than hearing “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” over again and missing out on other great tunes. Tonight that song wasn’t played, as the band have many to choose from. The song is like what “Smells like Teen Spirit” is to Nirvana.
“Over the falls”, shows some love from The Brown Album (1997) however no “Shake Hands with Beef”, tonight, but you have to give and take with such a consistent back catalogue.

On the plus side, what was the definite highlight, saw “Sgt. Baker” mashed into “Too Many Puppies”, and a medley of sorts, with “Mrs Blaileen” combined into “Welcome to this World”, with the pounding bass of “My Name is Mud” merged into “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”.
After a short encore the band came back with vengeance, blasting through, the mesmerizing, “Southbound Pachyderm”, from Tales from the Punchbowl (1995), “Here Come the Bastards”, from “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” and “John the Fisherman”, from the debut, closes what was the tightest of sets.

Tonight had been an amazing light show full of memorable cinema, featuring bouncing elephants, goblins, westerns, horrific monkey men riding bikes and endless cartoons, only from the mind of Primus. Both bands sound great on record but witnessing them on stage is so deep it’s a wonder the crowd didn’t sink into a black hole of sound.

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