Review: Gov’t Mule – ‘Bring On The Music’

Legendary guitarist Warren Haynes formed Gov’t Mule during a period of downtime from the equally legendary Allman Brothers Band. Twenty-five years later, Mule are still going strong, and still gaining more respect with each passing year. When you go to a Gov’t Mule show, expect the unexpected. You are not going to get a cookie-cutter setlist. Haynes likes to keep the fans on their toes, and this stunning multi-media package serves as a gentle reminder to other acts that mixing it up is good for the soul.

The all-important details; ‘Bring On The Music’ is a brand new live CD/DVD package filmed at The Capitol Theatre in New York over two nights last April. “Yeah, so what?”, I hear you say, “Loads have bands have released a live package”. Here’s where it gets interesting. On the 2CD/2DVD package, the double CD is from concert one, while the double DVD is from the second concert… and the money shot? Both have different set-lists. Therefore, if you splash the cash on this version, you get, well, too many different tracks to mention. Put it this way, you would run out of fingers and toes if you were trying to count. Value for money is a phrase often associated with bundles from Mascot/Provogue, but on this occasion, they really have surpassed themselves.

Freed from the confines of a recording studio, the live setting is always the best place to catch an improv act like Gov’t Mule. Plus, with Warren Haynes at the helm, Gov’t Mule were never going to be short on fireworks of the six-string kind. ‘Bring On The Music’ has them by the shed-load. Check out the twelve minute jam that is ‘Thorazine Shuffle’, or Haynes’ blistering work on the rather aptly named ‘Larger Than Life’. More soul and grace than a thousand speedsters combined. Check out his gorgeous tone on ‘Forsaken Saviour’ and cry tears of joy. Haynes is known as a player’s player, and with each note you will realise why.

His warm, lived-in, vocals hint at a hard life on the road, best summed up on ‘Traveling Tune’. “This one’s for the fallen ones who didn’t make it through. This life’s challenges and pressures. We gotta keep on rising and singing in their honour”. Fittingly, the track both opens and closes the main part of the show. In between, there are too many highlights to single out, but you might want to start with the slamming, bass-heavy ‘Mule’, the pacey ‘Mr Man’, the foreboding ‘Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground’ (with perhaps the best guitar tone you are as likely to hear this year). Hell, there really are too many to list.

‘Bring On The Music’ is available now as a standalone 2CD version, as well as double vinyl which features a selection of tracks from both gigs. The deluxe version that also houses the visual aspect of the shows is released July 19th. At £18.99, it is truly a steal.

More details can be found here.

Review: Dave

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