Gov’t Mule played Cardiff as part of their recent European tour.
The venue is literally a former Tramshed that’s been re-developed as an arts centre, and hosts many gigs that’s close to the city centre.
Warren Haynes and Woody Allen were part of the re-formed Allman Brothers band, adding Matt Ebbs from the Dicky Betts band, they formed Govt Mule back in the 90’s. Described by many as a Southern, Blues Rock band, while others refer to them as a ‘jam band’
I caught up with long time fan Ken who resides in America, enthused about Gov’t Mule and told me: I got into the jam band scene in new Orleans and two friends, One in Denmark and in America suggested I listened to them. I love Southern Rock and Jam Bands, the mix of guitar and Hammond Organ. What I particularly like about Warren Haynes is that he can play over 1000 songs and loves to have special guests and cover other artists.
He went on further to tell me: Todays gig is number 14 for me, and yea I’ve travelled 6500 miles each way its the furthest I’ve travelled to see them, however I have travelled long distances often to watch them. I have three more tickets to see them later in the year.
Ken has tickets for a show that Warren Haynes organizes every year ‘The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, a show he puts on annually to raise funds for a homeless charity. The show is held at the Beacon Theatre in New York.
Following the death of original bass player Woody Allen, the band has drafted in other bass players including Jack Bruce who recorded a couple of albums with the band. Also adding in keyboard player Danny Louis to the band many of the followers simply refer to as Mule.
Tonight’s gig was over two and half hours long, and split over two sets. Considering Mule have recently released Revolution Come Revolution Go, the set played was very diverse and showcased a lot of the bands older material as well. For me it was eye opener, but I think it was the following songs in particular that really caught me:
Time to Confess from The Deep End Volume 2, is such a powerful track, at points it felt like reggae meets the blues. As Warren sings ‘you can feel it’, I’m not sure it takes you down, maybe draws you in, the track features fabulous solos first Danny on the keyboards followed by Haynes amazing fretwork it just left the audience captivated.
Revolution Come Revolution Go, starts with Warren and Danny combining together to create a typical bluesy feel. The song develops on to slow a little, change tempo, until it almost bottoms out, allowing for a Hammond to take control, until Haynes comes back and almost feels like the two instruments are talking with each other, but I was not expecting what came next when Louis grabbed a trombone for a short solo.
Set one ended with Stone Cold Rage: this is not the first time I’ve heard the song, as it has had plenty of air play on Planet Rock. The first time I heard it in the car, it grabbed me and drew me in, a fantastic diving song. You can’t help but get goose pimples. It must also be mentioned too that the addition of Hammond Organ adds massively to the texture of the song.
Set two opened with a cover, in all there four but this one’s Pink Floyd’s One of These Days, from their Dark Side of the Mule album. It features some great bass work from Jorgen and coupled with Warren’s own take on the song, taking the guitar work in a different direction, it just worked, I guess it shouldn’t being two different genre’s but it did and so well I was left in awe.
Warren rarely speaks to the audience, he mentioned it was the first time for them in Wales, so we ‘decided to mix things up a bit for you’. He checked with everyone to make sure “ ‘ya’ all having a good time?”.
Travelling Tune (RCRG) slows things down almost Eagles like and highlights some interesting slide guitar work, I’m not sure its ‘just another high way song’, to be fair.
Lola Leave The Light On (Deja Voodoo) is a little different to some of the other songs, a little heavier, and features thundering bass lines, heavy riffs and a strong Hammond presence and with a chorus that saw the band and audience join in together. Once the underlying line of the song gets underway it gives Warren a chance to take centre stage allowing the guitar doing the talking
The second set closed with Blind man, but that wasn’t all, as two of the road crew appeared and dragged another amp on stage.
As the lights went up, Warren Haynes brought guest guitarist Bernie Marsden on stage to play another couple of classic covers, first of which was a sensational version of Aint No Love in the Heart of the City that saw the pair swapping guitar solos, followed by The Allman Brothers Blue Sky.
It had been a great night, I wasn’t expecting two sets, although I’m informed that’s the norm’ at a Mule gig. For certain they are a band I’d love to catch again, but for now, I will have to play that vinyl, just one more time.