Gov’t Mule’s return to the Columbus, Ohio area on May 29 was a warm embrace by band and attendees alike at Legend Valley’s storied Hookahville festival. Pounding out the opening notes to “Hammer and Nails,” Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson’s sprawling bottom end provided an edgy counterpoint to drummer Matt Abts’ syncopated beats. Guitarist and lead vocalist Warren Haynes led the group through a thickly psychedelic Beatles section of material that included a tease of “Day Tripper” and full versions of “She Said, She Said” from Mule’s Dose recording and the Lennon classic, “Tomorrow Never Knows.” A brutal take on “Rocking Horse” followed with fluid solos from both Haynes and keyboardist Danny Louis. That provided the setup to the evening’s two threshold moments, a prolonged segue into the extended improvised excursions of the powerhouse number, “Devil Likes It Slow,” and a teaming with Ekoostik Hookah lead guitarist Steve Sweney on the riveting duo laden firecracker, “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.” Sweney displayed a natural depth of intuitive understanding of the composition’s dark blues based themes, and both he and Haynes roared with relish during their shared solos, much to the delight of the encamped community at Hookahville. Closing out set one with “I’m a Ram,” Gov’t Mule left the stage to a thunderous ovation. Opening with the fresh licks of “Broke Down On The Brazos” from the 2009 release By a Thread, Warren Haynes and co. began the second set in back to back fashion by returning to Dose with a pulverizing run through on “Blind Man in the Dark.” “Kind of Bird,” “Fallen Down” and a jam on the Grateful Dead’s “The Other One” included teases of Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” and The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Matt Abts conjured up visions of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham with a bruising barehanded drum solo that pounded through the sound system. A return to By a Thread via the battering rock and roll workout of “Inside Outside Woman Blues” led into the ensemble’s closer, an inspired romp around the jazzy strains of “Going Out West.” Returning to encore with Van Morrison’s ” Into The Mystic” and the gospel based marvel, “Soulshine,” Gov’t Mule gave the faithful at Hookahville a heavy “dose” of their amplified electric jazz/blues/rock gumbo. It was a meal well worth sharing.
Set One: Hammer and Nails, She Said She Said-Tomorrow Never Knows with Day Tripper tease, Banks of the Deep End, Rocking Horse, Devil Likes It Slow, Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home with Steve Sweney, Patchwork Quilt- I’m a Ram with Shakedown Street tease
Set Two: Broke Down on the Brazos, Blind Man in the Dark, Kind of Bird with The Wind Cries Mary tease, Fallen Down- The Other One Jam-with Gimme Shelter tease- Drums- Any Open Window, Inside Outside Woman Blues- Going Out West- Bang a Gong- Going Out West
Encore: Into the Mystic, Soulshine with Gospel Intro