Gov’t Mule and Donavon Frankenreiter

At the Arlington Theatre, Sunday, October

Reviewed by Ethan Stewart

Gov%27t-Mule.jpgConsidering the quality of music that
was served up, there were far too few people at the Gov’t Mule show
on Sunday night. But those who made it out for the quasi-holiday
night were treated to a brand of rock music reminiscent of the late
1960s and ’70s, when the guitar was king and the people dancing in
the aisles were mere pupils to the power of rock.

A former professional surfer, show opener Donavon Frankenreiter
has made a name for himself as a guardian of soul in the surfing
community. With his long, stringy hair, forearm tattoos, bell
bottoms, and penchant for guitar solos, he seems to be staking his
claim as a steward of classic rock as well. After releasing a
self-titled debut album on friend Jack Johnson’s record label,
Frankenreiter has left behind the decidedly folk-pop blend and has
returned to soulful, jammed-out rock music with his new album, Move
By Yourself. Sunday night’s show was a celebration of
Frankenreiter’s reinvention and those who showed up early for the
Mule show lucked out.

But the majority of the mullets, ponytails, red-eyed groovers,
and rear-end shakers in attendance had come for the Mule. A side
project of Allman Brothers slide guitarist Warren Haynes, Gov’t
Mule has become a beast of its own in recent years among jam band
devotees. With a distinct sound perhaps best described as Southern
trance rock, the Mule is comprised of Haynes — an absolute sorcerer
on the axe — drummer Matt Abts, bassist Andy Hess, and organist
Danny Louis.

The band was at its best midway through the second set
when — downshifting out of a power blues riff — Haynes pushed a
pedal and the boys slid into a dirty medley of Bob Marley songs.
But before the vibe got too far into the ozone, Haynes flicked the
crowd the finger, mashed his foot down on the pedal yet again, and
instantly was back at the headbangers’ ball. When the smoke
cleared, nearly three hours had passed and the crowd dispersed,
happily baptized at the altar of rock.


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