Once again, I was kicked by the Mule and loved every minute of it. Mule with Oteil on bass and Chuck Leavell on keys came into Kansas City after a west coast swing with Schools. I’d seen Schools play with da Mule in NOLA, so it was interesting to see the Oteil configuration. The venue was a little weird, a country and western bar inside and a beach volleyball/disco outside. Many goons swarming, looking for the slightest infraction from the hippie crowd. That’s never good. Luckily, Mule’s music soared above all such mundane issues. The following week I took my first excursion to the Hoyt Sherman Place Theater in Des Moines, Iowa. Nice theater, small, classy, easy to navigate, mellow crew, good sound, but PEOPLE, RISE UP. Rise up and take your stance again! Rise up and be kicked by the Mule! My friend Charlie, a professor at Iowa State who attended the show with me, could only mutter, “Iowa,” in response to my intermission probe regarding the participant’s lack of enthusiasm for the art of dance.