Gov’t Mule Bends Musical Lines with John Scofield

Brooklyn Bowl, Feb. 21


Photo by Erik Kabik/

On surface level, the pairing of jazz guitarist John Scofield with bluesy jam rockers Gov’t Mule shouldn’t work. Mule frontman Warren Haynes’ gruff, soulful vocals and Southern-soaked guitar tone have little in common with Scofield’s funky, angular approach. But even with such divergent styles—just four shows into a collaborative winter tour—the guitarists have had a chameleon-like effect on the other, each man bending his style to compliment the other. Mule opened both of the show’s two sets on their own, dipping into their 20-year catalog with standards such as “Thorazine Shuffle” and “Temporary Saint,” but the addition of Scofield soon changed the dynamic. Songs such as “Trouble Every Day” and “Hottentot” took on a frenetic form as Haynes and Scofield engaged in supernova soloing that seemed to transcend time. They then cooled down the crowd with a soothing “Soulshine” before closing with a cover of Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West,” which also teased the T. Rex classic “Bang a Gong.” Even with a torrent of notes flying around at times, both guitarists were able to maneuver around each other while still retaining their own sense of space, carving out a shared common ground. ★★★★✩

Photos by Erik Kabik/

Thorazine Shuffle
Stoop So Low
Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam
Child of the Earth
Tom Thumb (w/ John Scofield)
Wabash (w/ John Scofield)
Trouble Every Day (w/ John Scofield)

Scared to Live
Temporary Saint
Devil Likes It Slow>Flip Wilson>Devil Likes It Slow (w/ John Scofield)
Hottentot (w/ John Scofield)
Soulshine (w/ John Scofield)

Going Out West>Bang a Gong (Get It On)>Going Out West (w/ John Scofield)