Gov't Mule at Carnegie (Hall) Library of Homestead

It's been a week now since my last dose of Gov't Mule and I am still content.  As a longtime fan I had gone to the show with a touch of apprehension.  This would be my first time seeing the Mule since the departure of recent bass fixture, Andy Hess.   The Kinder Revolution tour, which runs through a two-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco on November 22nd, is Jorgen Carlsson's first trip out with the group.  I confess to not digging up any info on the man, because I didn't want to form an opinion before hearing him live. This was my first trip out to the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead and I have to say that I am thoroughly pleased with this venue.  Dig this:  once inside you can actually leave the venue and re-enter.   Let me repeat that.  This venue has no code against re-entry.  I was dumbfounded by this.  It seems every venue in town refuses to let you go outside and catch a breath of fresh air or take a little walk around the block if the mood strikes you.  Some venues are even charging you to get a wristband so you can take a cigarette break (without naming names, I'm looking at Carson Street on that one).  The absolute freedom of the venue was refreshing.  The two bands performing within it even more so. Back Door Slam, a blues-rock power trio from the Isle of Man, who fit perfectly with Gov't Mule's sound opened the night.  It's easy to see why Warren Haynes and company chose them to open.  They have the same spirit and level of talent of the early trio version of Gov't Mule.  They must have played a thousand notes and each one of them was the right note.  I'm looking forward to the next Pittsburgh show from this group. I do miss Hess's dirty rock 'n roll groove, but was not disappointed by Carlsson's playing.  The band came out fired up with a rendition of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," despite the one-song absence of Danny Louis on keys.  Then they jammed on their own composition "Painted Silver Light" from their debut disc.  The set covered a lot of ground, but had a definite early-Mule bent.  They reprised "I Think You Know What I Mean" (from Life Before Insanity) into Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" back into "I Think You Know What I Mean" like they did at their Byham Theatre show a few years back. In the second set, after a nice leisurely walk around the venue of course, "Temporary Saint" was another highlight.  Warren's voice had that cool Southern ache that only his guitar could match for emotional force.  A few tunes later the band left Matt Abts to stun the audience with ten+ minutes of primal drumming.  He rocked his first solo with sticks, his second with mallets, and his third with his bare hands.  The theatre went nuts.  The band's encore saw the return of Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam trading solos with Warren on the Muddy Waters tune "Champagne & Reefer" and Cream's "Politician". To me the evening's two sets played out like a sweet long road trip.  I'll most likely be picking this up from Mule Tracks and playing it in my car religiously.  Now I just need a destination... reprinted from Set 1 War Pigs Trio-without Danny Louis Painted Silver Light A Million Miles From Yesterday Slackjaw Jezebel I Think You Know What I Mean-> When The Levee Breaks-> I Think You Know What I Mean No Need To Suffer I Shall Return Lay Your Burden Down Little Wing Set 2 Ballerina Get Behind The Mule Temporary Saint Effigy-> Drums Left Coast Groovies Mule Encore Champagne & Reefer with Davey Knowles Politician with Davey Knowles


Dear Steve: Thanks for your kind words about Back Door Slam, the band I have been publicizing for nearly two years now. I'll be sure to let you know the next time they are scheduled to appear in Pittsburgh and when their new CD is slated for release in 2009. All the best, Sharon Weisz W3 Public Relations Los Angeles, CA

Kelsa Hope was a fine song