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Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) and Nik Greeley @ Ardmore Music Hall.

January 19, 2015

1.16.15_JUMP_GeneWeen_ArdmoreMusic_DarraghDandurand_35Text by Brian Wilensky. Images by Darragh Dandurand.

Boognish smiled upon Ardmore Music Hall on Friday as Aaron Freeman, formerly known as Gene Ween, took the stage. The near-capacity crowd welcomed him back to the area with rowdy cheering at nearly every available moment, whether it was between or during Freeman’s stripped down versions of Ween’s stoner rock classics.

He appeared to be quite comfortable on stage all night, particularly during “Chocolate Town,” off of Quebec, and La Cucaracha’sYour Party,” when he let out a satisfied, “Oh yeah,” mid-song and the crowd sang along.

Next, Freeman – or Gener as he’s best known among Ween’s cult-like following – played “The Argus” with such noticeable fervor that the crowd quickly contained themselves. It was a special moment, as if they’d all realized they best pay close attention. Freeman, accompanied by guitarist Joe Young, complimented himself – but without a hint of arrogance.

“That was a good ‘Argus,’” he stated

Later on, Freeman took a request from someone close to the stage for “Covert Discretion,” the revealing opening track to last year’s Freeman. Surely with a bit of irony in mind, he followed that with “Never Squeal,” a Ween flagship tune from their seminal first album, GodWeenSatan: The Oneness, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this month. Freeman shared that he and Young got their fill of scrapple since they were in Philly, as Freeman now lives in Woodstock, New York. Before playing “Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese,” Freeman mentioned that they got cheesesteaks at Steve’s Prince of Steaks and, of course, pork roll from The Pod.

Nik Greeley and his soulful acoustic funk band opened the show. Their minimal instrumentation was was highlighted by swirling trumpet solos and thumping bass coming from the drummer’s cajon. “She’s Gone,” a rain-cloud-over-your-head ballad was among their stand-out songs and can be found on an EP coming out this spring.

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