I owe a lot to my friend, Milo. About 15 years ago when I was just becoming familiar with the sounds of jam bands, he brought me a CD by this band called Gov’t Mule. He said, “I think you’ll like them.” Milo, my dear friend…that was the understatement of a lifetime. Gov’t Mule has kept me enamored ever since I played those first tunes, and my appreciation and wonder grows exponentially with every new release and every live show. I have seen them numerous times, but no show is the same and alas, that is the beauty of the jam band.
Wednesday evening, Mule graced the platform at SumTur Amphitheater and it was yet another amazing performance by Warren Haines, Matt Abts, Danny Louis and Jorgen Carlsson. It was a bit of a different show – a tad slower, a tad deeper – yet still fantastic by all accounts. The two-hour concert had some great ‘jazzy-like’ jams, and included a killer cover of a couple of Police tunes. Warren and the troupe kept the crowd moving with “Broke Down on the Brazos”, “Funny Little Tragedy” and my personal favorite “Child of the Earth”. (When you get a chance, check out the lyrics to Child. I think you will find them as poignant as I do.) There were old renditions, new renditions and a gorgeous light show. The night was all that I anticipated.
To say that Warren Haines has “talent” is much too understated. He is creative, soulful and can tug at those guitar strings (and my heart) like no other. He is #23 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Guitarists of All Time, and very deservedly so. His performances with the Allman Brothers are legendary. However – I may be just a tad bit biased, thanks to Milo.
Opening for Mule was another outstanding rock band – Magpie Salute, which just formed in 2016. The band is comprised of four former members of the Black Crowes, including guitarist Rich Robinson. They, too, are just amazing. Their debut album released on August 10, and should definitely be on your playlist. Their show makes gives you the feeling that you are all part of a big jam-fest and everyone is having the best time. Pure fun.
The crowd that embraces the jam band genre runs the gamut of ages. How tremendous it is to share your love for this music with people from all walks of life, where everyone is pleasant and happy. You can dance your shoes off, or swing your hips with a lighted hula-hoop, and the atmosphere is just a superb experience. The SumTur Amphitheater is a great venue, and I encourage you to take in a show there. It is clean and comfortable and the lawn is a great place to lay that blanket down and party with the music lovers around you.