I was gonna miss this show, but after hearing about the Halloween deal I figured I had to give it a shot to see this new Bass player for myself. If they were going that old school it had to be cool, maybe I'd get lucky and see "Kind of Bird" or "Catfish Blues" since they were back in rotation or at least some other cool cover.
I've been listening Mule extensively for the last 7 years, seen many shows, and even studied Allen Woody's bass technique a fair amount. Needless to say the novelty of the band has long worn off and with the discovery of new artists every year, even though most have been around for many, I find myself becoming more and more critical of what I listen to and even more so of what I pay to see. Even though I don't agree with the majority of it, I find a lot of the criticism Mule receives on this board at least a little founded although it is often distastefully reduced to "cheesey, man-ballad, butt/mullet/cock rock, rib eating" remarks. Nonetheless these notions lurk in my subconcious and I find myself less and less enthusiastic about the Mule every time they come around, but they always deliver and I'm always glad that I went to the show afterward.
Anaheim HOB: one of my least favorite venues, about as soulless and corporate as they come on many levels. Shitty location, Nazi security, overpriced tickets, weird crowd, and tonight is no exception. It's the oddest Mule crowd I've ever seen. Who are these yuppies and quasi-music snobs, why are these younger girls here? Are they here for Back Door Slam? Where are the heady momma's and old school biker-hippy-Allmans Brother types?
Looks like there are a few people here for Back Door Slam and the kids can play really well for there age as any of their fans will tell you. "He's only 20!" I heard that about five times. That's great and all but Derek kicked ass at 14, Duane died at 24 didn't he? The kid can play guitar but where's the deep, soulful, artistic vision? This is exactly what their original material lacked. I thought their covers were fun though: Robert Cray's "Back Door Slam" a slightly more rockin than need be rendition of Arlo Guthrie's "Coming into L.A." and a very good rendition of a Willie Dixion song that Rory Gallagher was fond of playing, which was my favorite part of their set. Go the Gallagher direction guys. The world don't need another Stevie Ray Vaughn clone.
Time for Mule. They open up with "Brand New Angel" not too exciting but fitting for the new bassist arrival, who was picking away on a Thunderbird, yeah old school! Followed by
"Lola Leave Your Light On" seen that one a bunch and it was pretty standard. Next an aggressive bass intro riff to "Slackjaw Jezebel" picked out on a Fender bass. This Jorgen guy ain't bad he's still learning the material but he's taking chances, bustin some pretty impressive lyics and droppin some heavy power chords. Danny Louis try's to keep eye contact with him through most of the show and be supportive of his better improv moments.
The band is loose and just tryin to keep the groove but still trying to be exciting. Next up "Beautifully Broken" yawn, who hasn't heard this a million times, even the Warren solo don't do it for me anymore. At least the crowd seems to be enjoying themselves, looks like a lot of folks new to the band. aww "Patchwork Quilt" fond memories of Q days pass by my mind. "Larger Than Life" is next and is good but not great, it was really reaching new levels with Andy recently but it'll be back. This next one sounds familiar, oh hey it's "Nothing Again" haven't seen that one but once maybe and it's a nice rock ballad, good concert sound. Oh jeez now they're playing "Time To Confess" over played I tells ya! Hey, now they're bringin the kid out, cool "Almost Cut My Hair" with Davy Knowles. Now we're rocking! I myself almost missed my Mule. The dueling at the end is getting kinda wankery though and the first set ends strong with a bland beginning.
Set II: What's that wind sound coming out of the speakers are they gonna? oh ya they are! "One Of These Days" cool lights going on. I saw mirv cover this floyd tune once and it was great, I thought it was a lot like the album version but this Mule one may have been even more so. They really let the key's and bass do all the work with Warren just doin the slide part when appropriate. Well that was neat. "Brighter Days" next, cute set-list humor, it's solid but I'm gettin tired of this one too. What now? "Like Flies" weird! a lot of people love it, a lot of people hate it, I just don't care. Drum solo already, well ok, but like they say: you seen one Abts solo ya seen'em all. "Bad Little Doggie" next, hey when is the show gonna start really kickin ass already. This set list has been pretty boring although I am loving the fact that the jam in this song is being picked out aggressively by a bassist in a power stance playin a Thunderbird! yeah old school!
What shocker are they gonna play now "Soulshine"? I can't believe my ears it's "Groovies" "Left Coast Groovies" in Anaheim?! oh ya sock it to'em Warren! I've never seen'em do this, god when was the last time they played it in CA? I scream "What the Fuck?!" at the appropriate pause, apparently so did some people at the bar but I didn't hear them and felt very alone. Groovies was awesome, tight, dark, and powerful. The visceral, Zappaesque riffs and odd time signatures pounding away are something to be experienced live. This is some sweet Ass Mule baby! The songs ends heavy, after a brief pause the band darkly crescendos a minor chord and then the next song to my amazement is "World Of Difference" Holy shit! When was the last time they played this at all? The music is slow and powerful, the lyrics dark and relevant to racial tensions caused by the Presidential election. The band is somber and intense, the crowd seems unresponsive, my jaw is on the floor. You Bitches can dance to "Slackjaw" but you won't headbang with me to Mule Doom Metal, I see how it is.
Lucky for them the next song is the highly re-occuring "Thorazine Shuffle". Sure isn't my first choice for a set closer but they were really trying to spice it up, changing keys and adding jams, it was a solid effort. Here's hoping for a good encore.
Looks like they are setting up for a guest, little limey Davey again? Oh no it's Mule family legend Hook Hererra, fresh from a Knife fight in Spain no doubt. Slam that you Back Door pussies! Man this Keyboard solo is intense with many peaks and valleys. Are they gonna do "Chest Fever"? Holy crap it's Deep Purple's "Lazy" have they ever played this? Damn Hook's killin it. Well that was really cool. Oh shit another encore, sweet. Hey this is familiar groove. Oh no! someone just threw a half full beer can at the band. Warren says "Hey don't do that shit!" and the Band concludes the evening with a very groovy, rockin, bluesy
"That's What Love Will Make You Do" featuring tons of grand Blues Harp soloing.
Yep, no matter how hard I fight it, I'm still in love with Mule!
Cool. I tend to agree with this...
I find myself less and less enthusiastic about the Mule every time they come around, but they always deliver and I'm always glad that I went to the show afterward.
Expect that I've skipped the past few mule appearances, I know I'd like it if I went but in the age of economic crisis, I'm skipping this tour as well. Seems like the next tour is going to be even better, this new guy is really impressing people!
"why are these younger girls here? Are they here for Back Door Slam? Where are the heady momma's and old school biker-hippy-Allmans Brother types? Looks like there are a few people here for Back Door Slam"
Just like last year, the opening act for Mule was chosen because they have a draw too, Back Door Slam was the preview article in the newspapers for dates along this Mule tour including today's SF Examiner. That's who the girls and young fans are there for. Just like last year when Grace Potter and the Nocturnals brought in a good quarter house for the opening act. Why complain when they bring young chicks in?
The weird thing is most of the girls weren't there for Backdoor Slam. I think that dub album hit a weird chord with younger stoner chicks. Most of the people there for Backdoor were mule ignorant, pasty, middle-aged, white yuppies.
>>>>>" Where are the heady momma's and old school biker-hippy-Allmans Brother types? Looks like there are a few people here for Back Door Slam"
There were at the Fillmore last night... Trust me...
((((>>>younger stoner chicks. <<<))))