The Dean Wean Group
January 17th at The Sinclair
By: Spencer LaChance
Tuesday night at The Sinclair, Mike Dillon opened the show for the renowned and longstanding Dean Ween. Mike Dillon is a singer and percussionist who had an array of exotic drums around him, but his main instrument of the night was an electric vibraphone. He was joined by a guitarist, a bassist with both electric and upright basses as well as a synth, and a drummer on a traditional set. It was really a sight to see, especially Mike Dillon with his frizzled white hair and half-buttoned shirt. A multicolored blur flew around Dillon, who struck the vibraphone with incredible speed and force. Mike Dillon’s set had elements of hard rock, ska, jazz, and Latin music. Highlights include when Dillon soloed by wiping the inside of a drum into the mike and when Dean Ween’s drummer, Claude Coleman Jr. joined the band for the last few songs. Dillon’s yelling backed by powerful instrumentals left the crowd antsy for more.
After a rather long break, the Dean Ween Group took the stage. The group consists of four members: Dean Ween on guitar, Dave Dreiwitz on bass, Glenn McClelland on keys, and Claude Coleman Jr. on drums, plus Bill Fowler from Sound of Urchin on guitar as well. Dean Ween’s demeanor when he walked on was much more humble than the guitar playing that followed. They started with the song, “Garry” off of The Deaner Album, a powerful instrumental guitar ballad in honor of Funkadelic’s guitarist, Garry Shider. Their Funkadelic tribute continued with the P-Funk-influenced “Mercedes Benz”, also off their latest album. The Dean Ween Group him most of their albums, taking one song from Pure Guava, The Mollusk, White Pepper, Quebec, and La Cucaracha each. The Ween songs that they chose were more aggressive with the only exception being the spacey “Pink Eye (On My Leg)” which featured McClelland’s mesmerizing keyboard playing and Dean Ween’s groaning vocals.
Halfway through the set, Mike Dillon came back to perform the unreleased song, “The Ritz-Carlton”, which Dean Ween said he came up with while hanging out with Dillon. I never got sick of the vibraphone, it added a really nice, jazzy flavor to the group. Dave Dreiwitz stepped up to the mike to sing “It’s Gonna Be A Long Night” followed by the crass “Fingerbangin'” whose only lyric is its title, which was said after the band members all impishly smelt their fingers. These songs were both high energy, and yet there was no mosh pit throughout the show. Perhaps the crowd was too old, many of them I presumed to be Ween fans from the nineties. One of the most electrifying performances was of “Dickie Betts”, the first song from The Deaner Album and a homage to Dickey Betts, guitarist and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Naturally, the song was extended into an epic jam that would have made Dickey proud. The band ended the night by bringing Mike Dillon back to perform “Pandy Fackler”. During the jam that followed, Dean Ween gave the audience a mere wave and the band walked off the stage, leaving Coleman and Dillon to finish it out. After some wild drumming, the spotlight was put on Dillon for another exhilarating drum-wipe solo that closed the show with a bang, though with no encore unfortunately.