Running hot and strong for 20 years, Govâ€™t Mule shouted out their love of blues fueled rock with all their friends “A Squared.”
Govâ€™t Mule defines hard-working rock chiseled from the bedrock of blues. The Michigan Theater was full of die-hard fans ready to spend some quality time with a band known for multiple sets of songs with extended jams. Quite a few people had Farmer shirts in honor of the late Brian Farmer who was Warren Hayneâ€™s long time guitar tech and had passed away in August of 2014.
Out of the gate, the Mule played â€œBrand New Angelâ€ with its chugging rhythms that let Matt Abts (drums) and Jorgen Carlsson dig in while Warren and Danny Louis (keyboards and guitars) traded licks. Dark and dirty blues snarled on â€œMother Earthâ€ where Warrenâ€™s guitar cut the crowd down to the bone with lines that sigh softly and then howl with hellish fury.
â€œBroke Down On The Brazosâ€ offered up jams by Haynes with Carlsson and Abts effortlessly laying down a groundwork of pulsing beats. This song segued into â€œTributary Jamâ€ which was the springboard for a cover of Bob Marleyâ€™s â€œLively Up Yourselfâ€. From their tenth studio album Shout!, the audience was treated to â€œWhisper In Your Soulâ€ which sounded like something the Beatles could have written and the sensual funk of â€œStoop So Low.â€
The first set of the night closed out with an extended version of â€œMuleâ€ where Warren Hayneâ€™s slide guitar set the stage on fire. The band also gave us a teaser of Van Morrisonâ€™s â€œIâ€™ve Been Workinâ€ that sounded very much like the version Bob Seger did back on Live Bullet.
The simmering and smoky â€œNo Rewardâ€ started off set number two. The jazzy jive of â€œSco-Muleâ€ had people in the aisles ready to dance and provided plenty of opportunity for Haynes and Louis to riff and roll. â€œForevermoreâ€ was exquisite in it is sorrowful caress as Warrenâ€™s voice and guitar cried as one.
The rock returned with â€œMaybe Iâ€™m a Leoâ€ full of sweat and swagger. The band sat out for a bit as Matt Abts took his drum kit for a ride. It was amazing how smoothly he can swing that kit. A Mediterranean mood hovered in the air as â€œDolphineusâ€ swam into â€œPainted Silver Lightâ€ with all its aching beauty. Excellent playing by every member of the band was exhibited as they wrapped up the second set with â€œThorazine Shuffle.â€
With the crowd coming to their feet and screaming for more, Govâ€™t Mule returned to play â€œSoulshine,â€ which put a huge smile on everyoneâ€™s face as they held hands up into the air and celebrated the gift of music.