Every musician makes homework tapes, the kind made screwing around in bedrooms, invoking silliness and creating parodies that never see the light of day or another human’s tapedeck.
Not so with Ween.
The New Jersey-based duo arrived at the Whisky to showcase “Pure Guava,” its new Elektra album. Rife with in-jokes, absurdism and a heavy-handed take on ’70 s-style pomp, Ween is thoroughly hilarious.
Shambling on stage to a brief warm-up tape, the brothers Ween swung into their act with “Freedom of 1976,” complete with BeeGees/Philip Bailey creaking falsettos and soul-lite choruses.
Luckily, the band doesn’t indulge in the prop schtick one would expect: polyester suits, platforms and the like.
They’re like a pair of collegiates larking on the dopey seriousness that characterized the disco/glam era.
When the Ween brand of satire works, it works devastatingly. The ersatz “Too Close to My Fantasy” sends up Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie with a frightening accuracy, even copping a few chord changes from “The Ballad of Ziggy Stardust” to boot.
As is the nature of joke bands, the shorter the set, the better to avoid making the jokes more grating than great.
Eventually, Ween wore out its welcome, and the reactions to the band’s bits got less and less excited.
Opening act Failure makes powerful music on record, but its live act doesn’t reflect that. Oppressive slabs of powerchord fury, with a nod to dissonance, are the Slash recording trio’s signature. Yet the band’s on-stage demeanor is so laconic, they become dreary.