Fall shows with Gov’t Mule

 

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Gov’t Mule embarked on a lengthy fall tour with Grace Potter and the Nocturnarls as support.  Here are a few reviews from Honest Tune contributors around the country. 

 

Gov’t Mule / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Madison Theater
Covington, Kentucky
October 27, 2007 

Words by Bill Whiting 

Something was in the air at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky when Gov’t Mule settled in for a three hour show.  Warren Haynes could feel it, and the rest of the band picked up on that, delivering the goods in bombastic fashion as Mule centered it’s set around tightly-woven improvisational blues and thick, power chorded rock and roll.

Beginning the show with "Streamline Woman," off of 2006’s stellar High & Mighty, Haynes, Matt Abts, Danny Louis and Andy Hess coalesced around the tune’s forceful rhythms, striking out towards unknown musical parameters at will.  "Bad Little Doggie" featured a revved up and smiling Haynes, tearing through slicing leads as Abts’ jarring stick work reverberated throughout the renovated facility.  Danny Louis pushed his inspired flow of keyboard laced structures front and center on the graceful, melodic "Beautifully Broken." And, Andy Hess provided the bottom end on bass as the band launched into the classic Steppenwolf sing-a-long, "Don’t Step on the Grass Sam."  Even opener Grace Potter got into the act, sharing the stage and microphone with Haynes on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young pairing, " Find the Cost of Freedom" and "Ohio."

Set two found the quartet offering up positive vibes on "Brighter Days" before steering the direction towards the highlight of the evening.  A three song sandwich that began with The Band’s "The Shape I’m In" found Haynes and Hess switching roles to accompany each other’s fiery jams.  From the heart, Haynes’ serenaded the sold out throng with a riveting "Soulshine." Plus, Danny Louis and Matt Abts stole the spotlight as "Trane" gradually led into one of Abts’ fierce drum clinics. The rest of the group retook the stage to huddle musically around a bruising "Three String George" before ending the set with the appropriately classic, "Thorazine Shuffle." 

An ecstatic, bellowing audience produced a mighty encore that included the Staple Singers’ "I’ll Take You There" grooving in amongst the heavy artillery of Haynes’ and Abts’ fireworks on a resilient "I’ll Be the One."  It was the right number to end what seemed to many a perfect night of soul stirring rhythm and blues and the rip snortin’ rock that Gov’t Mule provides it’s listeners night after night.


Gov’t Mule / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
The Fillmore
San Francisco, California
November 10, 2007 

Photos by Susan Weiand 

 


Gov’t Mule / Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Moore Theater
Seattle, Washington
November 16, 2007 

Words and photos by Candise Kola

wfh.jpg If Seattle fans of Gov’t Mule came out to the annual northwest visit from the band to get rowdy with rock, they were all in for a surprise: the band seemed to have a different style of show in mind.  Of course, a steady dose of rock is always present at any given Mule show, but this evening’s entertainment seemed to keep a lid on the Pandora’s Box of boisterous jams that front man Warren Haynes always has a firm hand on when he entertains.  

The show started promptly at 6:45 to accommodate the looming long haul east to Bozeman, Montana for the last show of the Mighty High tour.  Jokes were made in the theater lobby (by the people fortunate enough to have researched or caught word of the early start time) that the show time was no where near “nocturnal” for vocal powerhouse Grace Potter and her band.  A 40-minute set was played in front of a half full venue of fresh GPN fans, andt he audience enjoyed the gospel -rock energy that Potter brought to the stage.   

Gov’t Mule started before 8:00, much to the shock and dismayof many late arrivers.  Perhaps knowing that people were arriving late, Mule seemed to save the harder rocking parts of the show for later.  It’s certainly not that the music was bad, or that the show was lacking in integrity in any way, but a mellower message was definitely being sent out from the stage than one might usually see on any given night of a Mule tour.

Highlights of the evening included the robust guitar jam of "Brighter Days" and Potter’s guest appearance on the first set closer, "Take Me to the River."  It was obvious that Grace and Warren had, by this point in the tour, developed a comfortable stage chemistry.  Potter put clearly enjoyed having the seasoned rockers backing her up, not hesitating to take the song where she wanted it to go, while the band seemed grateful and proud to oblige her spotlight. 

After a very brief set break, the second set began with a slow reggae version of with "Play With Fire."  Haynes didn’t hold back on the singing for this and seemed ready to kick things up a notch when he called for guitarist Scott Tournett of the Nocturnals to join him for the classic jam "32-20 Blues."  Sadly, the guitar slinging action was missed on Scott’s part – he seemed timid as he very lightly glossed over the string pass off from Warren.  Of course, the band was alert and picked up the ball.

 

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The entire evening’s entertainment was definitely worthy of praise and full of gorgeously executed slower guitar solos.  However, it did leave a lot to be desired.  The silver lining was that it was the kind of show that makes you anxious to go back again to see them get it right next time.

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