Concert Reviews

Gov't Mule at Fillmore Auditorium, 9/13/12


About two hours into Gov't Mule's epic three-hour set, the Warren Haynes-lead quartet kicked into the a deep and slow groove of "Effigy," which then morphed into "Hey Joe," with Haynes substituting a line for, "Going way out west, way out to Colorado. Way out west, where I can be free and smoke some weed." With the intensity building as the band segued back into "Effigy," drummer Matt Abts launched into a fast country shuffle, cuing Haynes to fire out a mean and tasty county solo before playing an instrumental take on Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

See also: Slide show: Gov't Mule at Fillmore Auditorium

With the crowd going totally nuts, Abts took a solo and then the group made its way back into a faster rocking take on "Effigy," with Haynes absolutely shredding at the end. It might have been the most powerful fifteen minutes of the night. Right after the song, a guy next to me said, "Now you know why I keeping coming back." Not to say the rest of the show was any less, but goddamn, that whole medley had some serious fire burning under it. With moments like those, it's pretty damn easy to see why folks keep coming back to see Gov't Mule time after time.

Although the first set, which was a little over an hour, had its share of high points, like "Lay Your Burden Down," the Band's "The Shape I'm In" and the badass instrumental "Kind of Bird," the guys really stepped things up after taking a break and coming back for the second set. While the energy in the place had pretty much shot through the roof with "Effigy," it was a good thing the band reeled it back a bit and eased into "Fallen Down."

But as the guys segued into the instrumental "The Other One Jam," the energy gradually ramped back up again with Abts banging the hell out of the drums. Haynes closed the tune with a slowed down snippet from the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Abts then dug into a slow, thumping tom-heavy beat to start "Blind Man In The Dark," and after a few verses, the four-piece notched it up again and kicked into one of many hefty grooves of the night, in which Abts and bassist Jorgen Carlsson completely locked in.

A few minutes later, Abts doled out a jazzy rhythm on the ride cymbal while Danny Louis, surrounded by various keyboards, delivered one of many stellar key solos. Sure, Haynes had already shown what a versatile guitarist he was early in the show, but he also showed off of skilled jazz chops. After soloing for a bit, he played the chorus of "My Favorite Things" right before playing the melody of Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue," both songs the legendary jazzman John Coltrane used to work into his live sets.

It was getting close to 1 a.m. by the time the band came back to play soulful take on the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" during the encore before closing out the night with the Allman Brothers tune "Soulshine," which Haynes wrote. The rousing gospel-tinged tune, fueled by Louis' organ playing, was damn fine way to end the show.

Keep reading for more photos, Critic's Notebook and Setlist.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon

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