Gov’t Mule at the Fillmore Auditorium, 9/13/12 (photos and review)By Candace Horgan | September 14th, 2012 | 1 Comment »
After spending last year playing in the Warren Haynes Band, taming his trademark solos and leaning on a horn section, Haynes’ guitar tone was back at the Fillmore Thursday night in all its overdriven, wah-infused, power-trio-based glory with Gov’t Mule. The distorted, singing sustain dripping from his fingers through his Gibson guitars and pair of loud amps swirled around in the rafters at the Fillmore, seeming to go right through the listener’s ears and bypassing the brain, hitting somewhere deep in the gut that responds best to loud, live music.
Back in 2009, Reverb writer Jason Blevins called Gov’t Mule “the best cover band on the planet.” While that has certainly been in evidence in some past Mule sets when Warren and company have leaned on classic rock by the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, at the Fillmore Thursday, the nimble foursome preferred teasing familiar covers instead of flat out exploring them. The one exception was in the middle of the first set when Mule ripped into a wah-pedal-drenched, heavy, off-the-wall cover of the Band’s “The Shape I’m In” that the late Richard Manuel and Levon Helm could never have imagined.
Mule, which had played a show at the more intimate Gothic Theatre the previous night, seemed to spend most of the first set settling into a groove, whether it was the mellower “Lay Your Burden Down,” with Haynes coaxing long, drawn-out notes from his guitar over the silky smooth keyboard playing of Danny Louis, or the funk-infused “Unring the Bell.” The set-closing “Kind of Bird” hinted at more of what was to come in the second set, as Haynes, fresh off a few shows with the Allman Brothers, took the classic instrumental for a harder turn.
All the bottled-up energy was unleashed from the moment the band returned from setbreak, beginning with a soulful “So Weak, So Strong.” From there, Haynes and company reached back for a trio of classic Mule tunes, beginning with the always welcome “Rocking Horse.” During “Thorazine Shuffle,” Haynes teased Santana’s “Oye Como Va” on his solo over Matt Abts’ drums of doom.
For the rest of the set, the teases came fast and furious. After sandwiching “Hey Joe” into a loosey-goosey “Effigy,” Haynes started into the familiar guitar solo from “Folsom Prison Blues,” with bassist Jorgen Carlsson providing a perfect foundation for Haynes to take the classic Johnny Cash song on an instrumental spin.
Having riffed on the Allmans earlier, Hayne paid tribute to another of the bands he plays in with an instrumental take on the Grateful Dead’s “The Other One,” somehow weaving in lyrics from the Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter” on top of it toward the end.
By the time Haynes and company bathed the audience in the familiar notes of the almost always played “Soulshine” on the encore, it was clear Haynes was back on his game, the solos seeming to linger long after the band left the stage.
1510 Jam > Bad Little Doggie > Lola Leave Your Light On, Lay Your Burden Down, Brand New Angel, Unring The Bell, The Shape I’m In, Captured, Kind Of Bird
So Weak So Strong, Rocking Horse, Temporary Saint, Thorazine Shuffle (with Oye Como Va tease), Effigy > Hey Joe > Effigy > Folsom Prison Blues Jam > Drums > Effigy, Fallen Down > The Other One Jam with Gimme Shelter Lyrics, Blind Man In The Dark (with My Favorite Things tease) > Afro Blue > Blind Man In The Dark, E: To Love Somebody, Soulshine > To Love Somebody Reprise > Soulshine
Kit Chalberg is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.