Dean Ween Group plays the Top Hat Sat., July 7, at 9:30 PM. $30 advance. All ages.
It would be easy (and lazy) to dismiss the Dean Ween Group as Ween Lite, but the absence of Gene Ween’s distinctive voice alone makes DWG a different animal. When Ween went on hiatus in 2012, Dean marched into his studio, hit the “record” button and hasn’t stopped tracking songs, except for when he’s on the road with the reunited brothers of Boognish. This collection of songs culled from Dean’s recording sessions circa 2016 is a guitarist’s dream. Lots of wah-wah breaks and scratchy rhythm pump the funk on several tracks, and there’s a Guitar Center’s worth of tones throughout.
Like Ween, the band pinballs violently between genres. “Fingerbangin’” is a hilarious surf tune reminiscent of Los Straightjackets, and Dean resurrects “Don’t Let the Moon Catch You Cryin’” from Ween’s 2011 album Caesar Demos, fleshing it out with layered guitars and entirely new lyrics, although the chorus remains unchanged.
My favorite track is “Yellow Pontiac,” which sounds uncannily like KISS circa Dressed to Kill, right down to the Ace Frehley licks on lead guitar. But we’re talking Ween-style humor here, and Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons can only wish they could come up with a lyric as great as, “In a fight I would not have your back / ’Cause you drive a fuckin’ ugly yellow Pontiac.”