I Now Pronounce You

Govt Mule Show Review

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on October 16, 2007

Saturday night I trekked down to the 930 Club to see one of my all time favorite live bands; Govt Mule. For those of you unfamiliar with the Mule, let me some up; you are missing out big time. End transmission.

As I’ve mentioned before, this band is an offshoot of the Allman Bros…which, if you’ve ever seen them live should give you an idea of what you’re in for when you check them out live. It’s super tight, raucous Southern Blues. It’s gritty as all hell and comes straight from the heart, each and every note. It’s not about glitz and glam and all the layers of crap that entertainers want to throw on top of their music to make it a show. Screw that. With the Mule, the music is the show.

Bad Ass Blues, Straight Up

There are lots of bands that I’ve seen more than say, 5 times. I’ve seen Clapton at least twice that much. CSN (& occasionally “Y”), too. I’ve seen Tool that many times and probably Sting, too. You know what keeps me coming back to see acts like that over and over again? The purity. What they do isn’t created in a studio with a few bars of something that turns into 250 digital layers…oh no. What they do is created on an acoustic guitar or a piano. It’s mapped out and you can trace it back from the finished product back to that moment where it became a living breathing thing. And when they play it live for you that purity is what comes roaring out.

Seeing Govt Mule this weekend reminded me of why I picked up the guitar in the first place.


Just kidding.

It’s that process building up to that release. And this past Saturday the Mule walked out on stage at 9:15 or so and from the opening note they laid it down. There wasn’t a lot of talking, absolutely no choreography, and the only “light show” to speak of was the subtle shifts of color that would come down on the boys as they did their thing. The highlight,. for me, was a rousing, raucus, and clearly aimed at Louisiana version of Southern Manthat had the entire audience screaming along.

Shows like this are refreshing. Sure I love a good spectacle from time to time (Tool shows fill that niche for me rather perfectly) but more often than not, it’s the smaller venue, straight ahead shows that get me. I’ve often said “If you can’t do it live, you can’t really say it’s your song”. I think the addendum to that is, for me; if you can’t do it in your living room, it’s not really your song, either. When you see Warren and the boys play live, you get the feeling that they’d do it for free on a street corner if it came down to that…and people would stop and listen.

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9 Responses to 'Govt Mule Show Review'

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  1. Bruce said,

    Crap, if I didn’t have to shoot my buddies with a paintball gun and then take their money at poker after that I would be all over this one. Alman Bros are one of my favorite bands.

  2. Justin said,

    Hmm… you make interesting points, but

    (Keep in mind, I’ve never actually attended a Tool show) Aren’t Tool’s recorded tracks just as digitally-mastered and layered and super-produced as, say, NiN? When I was trying to think of my own examples of the pure, unadulterated music to which you refer… well, Tool would have never made it on the list.

    You’ll also kindly remember that I am musically retarded, though.

  3. Bruce; you HAVE to see them!

    Justin; Good point, but not entirely accurate. Tool spends a ridiculous amount of time crafting what they do through effects more than digital “producing”. Live, they use a series of triggers and occasional tapes, but that doesn’t change the fact that their writing process is organic. Also, Tool and NIN tend use a studio as an instrument unto itself…your average pop artist today uses it in place of an instrument.

  4. jess said,

    i don’t have the vocabulary you do to talk about this, but the thing that i miss about music from when i was younger is that it felt more raw and immediate. i mean, i know a lot of bands back then were fabricated. still, there is something weirdly marketing-generated about how popular bands are today. like you can hear the surveys of what will do well as the notes fall.

    but like i said, i know jack about music….

  5. Lemmonex said,

    I’ve seen the Allman Bros twice…still get chills thinking about dancing to “No One to Run With” in the pouring rain at Great Woods when I was 17. (And it will always be Great Woods to me; screw you Tweeter Center.) The mud crawled all the way up my pants and I got a hideous cold, but it was worth it. This is something my too-young-to-be-hippies-but-still-hippy parents schooled me well in.

  6. Kiraa said,

    Bad-Ass. Enough said.

  7. roissy said,

    tool’s lyrics are sublime.

    “I’ll keep digging till
    I feel something.

    Elbow deep inside the borderline.
    Show me that you love me and that we belong together.
    Shoulder deep within the borderline.
    Relax. Turn around and take my hand.”

    fuck yeah. who doesn’t like a fistfucking metaphor?

  8. H said,

    ahh tool shows. i’ve been to two. life changing experiences. i agree with roissy, their lyrics are sublime. i heart maynard.

  9. Jess; A lot of that comes from the limitations of the recording tools. You had to play a lot more and you could only edit certain ways.

    Lemmonex; GREAT WOODS! I haven’t thought of that place in YEARS! And it will always be just that…not whatever corporate sponsored nonsense it is now.

    Kiraa; Succinctly put.

    Roissy; Tool’s lyrics are the most underrated aspect of their music.

    H; We’ll have to get a good group of us together for their next tour, assuming that there is one.

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