Gov't Mule :: 11.10.04 :: The Fillmore :: San Francisco, CA

"Warren Haynes is the man!"

Warren Haynes :: 11.10 :: Fillmore
I heard this said numerous times at the November 10 Gov't Mule show at The Fillmore in San Francisco. No one commands as much respect from both his musical peers and fans alike as Mr. Haynes. If there is a jamband nation, Warren must be the king! Not only is he a great singer, but he shreds on lead guitar as well as anyone in the southern-rock infused genre. He has appeared on stage with everyone from moe. to Widespread Panic to the Funky Meters to Trey Anastasio to anyone else who has room for him and his guitar on the stage. As a member of Phil Lesh & Friends, The Dead, the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule, at one point playing with all four simultaneously, Warren is often regarded as the hardest working man in the jamband business.

Anyone who has paid the least bit attention to the music scene over the past few years is aware that the Mule has undergone some big changes. When original bassist (and best friend of Haynes) Allen Woody died in 2000, the surviving bandmates Matt Abts and Warren played with various bass players, recording a few CDs called The Deep End Vol. 1 & II and a DVD concert The Deepest End. Now the band seems to have settled on a permanent lineup with the addition of Andy Hess on bass and Danny Louis on keys. Once just a power trio, Gov't Mule is now a funkier quartet thanks to Louis's keyboards and vocals which really compliment the band's gritty, guitar heavy sound. Abts is a hard hitting rock drummer and Hess is a thumping bass player (who toured with John Scofield prior to getting behind the Mule) who groove together to form a solid, yet shifting, rhythm section over which Haynes can really soar.

Matt Abts :: 11.10.04 :: Fillmore
On November 10 in San Francisco, the band delivered a solid and very rocking show. They came out of the gate focusing on material off of their latest studio release, Deja Voodoo, opening with "Mr. Man," "About to Rage," and "Bad Man Walking." A gorgeous rendition of The Beatle's classic "She Said, She Said" followed and segued into a psychedelic "Tomorrow Never Knows." Warren seems to have a great affection for covering the Liverpool lads. His honey-whiskey voice and heartfelt delivery is perfect for Beatle's covers and the slower blues ballads which appear on most Mule setlists. Old favorite "Rockin' Horse" had the house jumping while "Devil Likes It Slow" had them grooving to the slow blues. The first set ended with a high energy version of "Slackjaw Jezebel," which is the single off of the new disc.

After a short break, the second set opened with the optimistic, bluesy "Hammer & Nails," followed by "Larger Than Life" and then dropped into the syncopated jazz fusion instrumental "Sco-Mule." As the set moved on we were treated to the debut of another Beatle's tune, "I'm So Tired," during which Matt Abts took the spotlight for a middle segment drum solo. Solid versions of Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues" and the soul-drenched "Time to Confess" led to the set closing band anthem, "Mule."

Warren Haynes :: 11.10.04 :: The Fillmore
Haynes' guitar style is sprinkled with the influences of Motown, hard rock, 80's rock and always heavily steeped in the blues. He often likes to quote the melody of other songs in his solos, highlighted in San Francisco with a definite Santana "Oye Como Va" section in the second set. The guitar playing was so inspired that I almost thought we would see Carlos himself step from the wings to take the stage. Despite rumors of Phil Lesh or other local musicians showing up, there were no special guests that night, just straight up Mule. And that's a good thing, because as we all know, Warren is the man!

Words & Images by: Susan J. Weiand
JamBase | California
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[Published on: 11/19/04]

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