Concert Review: Gov’t Mule

House of Blues, Nov. 1

Gov't Mule

Photo by Myron Hensel

Warren Haynes is one of the greatest rock guitarists on the planet, but what really separates the Gov’t Mule frontman from most of his peers is his ability to blend his talents into accomplished songwriting. That’s evidenced by Mule’s 10th studio album, Shout!, on which the band included a second disc with different singers, including Elvis Costello, Dr. John and Grace Potter, performing each track.

Although based in hard-rocking blues, Gov’t Mule showed its range over two sets that incorporated jazz, reggae and funk, with Haynes playing no fewer than five guitars over the course of the three-hour show. While Haynes is clearly the man in charge, his soulful Southern growl complementing his seemingly effortless six-string expertise, it is his bandmates who fill out Mule’s powerful sound. Drummer Matt Abts is a rhythm machine, bringing a heavy, Bonham-like stomp to songs such as “Any Open Window” and “Blind Man in the Dark.” Jorgen Carlsson has proven himself a worthy successor to deceased original member Allen Woody five years after joining Mule, providing adventuresome and aggressive bass lines that allow Haynes to stretch out songs in concert, and keyboardist/guitarist Danny Louis has flushed out the band’s sound immeasurably from its original power-trio format.

Mule treated the audience, which filled the lower section of the House of Blues, with a sampling from its nearly 20-year career, closing the first set with a deep-grooving rendition of “Time to Confess,” unleashing an emotional guitar solo that necessitated a break just so the audience could recover from it. The second set was more of the same, highlighted by punk-tinged new song “Funny Little Tragedy” and straight rocker “Mr. High and Mighty.”

One night removed from playing two shows with the Doors’ Robbie Kreiger in Los Angeles, Mule continued its tribute to the classic-rock legends, opening their encore with “Wild Child” before also delving into the Rolling Stones’ “Ventilator Blues.” They wrapped things up by inviting keyboardist Brian Triola of local band Moksha and Las Vegas-based guitarist Chris Tofield onstage for a cover of “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home,” complete with Louis taking a turn on trombone. With Haynes leading the way, Gov’t Mule is one of the rare jam bands that can take its audience on a musical journey within the context of great songs. ★★★★☆

Set 1

  • World Boss
  • Mr. Man
  • Steppin’ Lightly
  • Any Open Window
  • Larger Than Life
  • Which Way Do We Run?
  • Forsaken Savior
  • Whisper In Your Soul
  • Time To Confess

Set 2

  • Forevermore
  • Painted Silver Light
  • I Shall Return
  • Drift Away
  • I Shall Return
  • Funny Little Tragedy
  • Drums
  • Mr. High & Mighty
  • Inside Outside Woman Blues #3
  • Blind Man In The Dark with Riders On The Storm, The End & Eleanor Rigby teases


  • Wild Child
  • Ventilator Blues
  • Wild Child
  • Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home with Chris Tofield & Brian Triola


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