Gov't Mule | The Wiltern | 2/15/2024

Article Contributed by Jason Berk | Published on Saturday, February 17, 2024

In the three decades since their formation, Gov’t Mule has established themselves as a pillar of jam band music. Originally an offshoot of the early-90s lineup of the Allman Brothers Band, Mule quickly became a force in their own right, and they brought their unique brand of jammy, southern blues-rock to a packed Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on February 15th.

Gov't Mule | The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA

Matt Abts | Gov't Mule

Billed as a celebration of “Thirty Years Strong,” the band took the stage shortly after 8pm and kicked things off with “Rockin’ Horse,” a track off their debut album that was also covered by the Allman Bros. Across two sets, the band showcased every side of their strong musicianship, with Warren Haynes’s soulful vocals and expressive guitar playing leading the charge all the way.

Danny Louis | Gov't Mule

Gov't Mule | The Wiltern

Warren Haynes | Gov't Mule

Almost unusually for a Mule show, the set was nearly entirely original material, with special attention paid to the songs from Mule’s 2023 release Peace Like a River. But one of the covers, a fiery rendition of Jeff Beck’s iconic “Freeway Jam,” was perhaps the highlight of the entire show, with Haynes trading licks with keyboard wizard (and occasional trombonist) Danny Louis while founding drummer Matt Abts kept the rhythm driving, punctuating the piece with acrobatic drum fills. Other highlights included an energetic take on “Doing It to Death,” their collaboration with John Scofield, as well as second set closer “Thorazine Shuffle,” which again featured Abts taking a solo while bassist Kevin Scott — the newest member of the band, and a dead-ringer for the late Dusty Hill, nattily attired with a long beard and dark shades — held down the low end across seamlessly shifting time signatures.

Kevin Scott & Abts | Gov't Mule

Gov't Mule | Wiltern Theatre

Gov't Mule | Los Angeles, CA

The show ended with an encore of the bluesy “Endless Parade,” with Haynes masterfully controlling the dynamics and bringing the song down to a quiet calm before instantly ramping it up to a roar, then back down again. If this is the power of Gov’t Mule after thirty years, one can only imagine what they’ll look like in another few decades. Let’s hope we can find out.

Set 1
Rocking Horse
Wake Up Dead
Banks of the Deep End
Peace I Need
Pressure Under Fire
Doing It to Death
Made My Peace
Time to Confess

Set 2
I’m a Ram
Thorns of Life
Temporary Saint
The River Only Flows One Way
Freeway Jam (Jeff Beck cover)
I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
Thorazine Shuffle

Endless Parade