Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fruits and Vegetables: Bananas and Blow

Ween: Bananas and Blow


I'm a bit too old for Bonnaroo. Fighting crowds of up to a hundred thousand in the southern heat to hear music until the wee hours is no dream date for a 36 year old dad with waning stamina and a high preference for intimate stageside seating.

But I've been living vicariously though live recordings from the festival since it started, and the 2002 inaugural Live from Bonnaroo CD, from back when the festival was still almost exclusively a haven for jam bands and hippie funk, is as good as it gets: Galactic, Soulive, String Cheese Incident, Jack Johnson, a recently-solo Trey Anastasio, even a Les Claypool cover of an old Jethro Tull tune. Throw in Del McCoury and Norah Jones as a nod to the much broader musical diversity which would soon become the norm at the annual fest, and you've got a recipe for success well worth purchasing, whether or not you even planned to make the trip.

Neo-psychedelic oddballs Ween are technically an alt-rock or "stoner rock" band -- I saw them a decade ago, at an early HORDE tour -- but this fruity tune is a perfect example of what I love about jam band music. From the bass-and-steel drum intro to the sing-along wind-in-the-trees wail, the tune stays light and bouncy through tongue-in-cheek guitar solos and a set of silly drug-referencing lyrics clearly written for rhythmic trip than for any particular narrative sense. It's like being there, but much closer to the stage. And without all the mud, heat, long entrance lines, hilarious patchwork corduroy pants, and bad acid.

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