|Listen to "Been Lost Once" from this show HERE
Words & Images by: Andrew Quist
The Mother Hips :: 09.12.08 :: Café du Nord :: San Francisco, CA
The Mother Hips :: 09.12 :: SF, CA
This Friday was the prime example of why it is a good time to be a Mother Hips fan. The first word went
out on the Mother Hips message board The Grotto
months ago. The post was titled "Ultimate Setlist Show." The idea was that fans build their dream setlist and submit it
to The Mother Hips. The band would then pick a setlist at random and play it in its entirety. There were few criteria:
the list could not be more than 36 songs, it needed to be two sets and the band had to have played all of the songs in
the show at least once over its near two decade long history. There was no real publicity, but word spread from The
Grotto like the tendrils of a grapevine. Those of us that needed to be at the Café du Nord that night would get there.
Fans that spanned the band's full history gathered and discussed the impressive possibilities of this "ultimate" idea.
No matter whose list was chosen, it would be an epic show.
Now it has come and gone. My most anticipated show of the summer is done and all I have right now are some beer
soaked memories and a ragged setlist scrawled out in the low light of the club. How do I bottle what happened? Let
me start with standing in line to pick up my tickets. As we waited outside, a taxi pulled up and slammed to a stop. All
in the same motion the door opened and a man leapt out, hauling a suitcase behind him, "In from New York!" he
proudly shouted as he presented his ticket and went off in search of awaiting compadres. He was one of many out-of-
towners that had come from Arizona, Washington D.C., Oregon, Utah and Colorado, among others.
We came from up and down California, from the Humboldt nation and the beaches of Southern California and east from
the gentle Sierra foothills. Together we composed a mildly aging, hip-ass crowd. Now, I'm not old but I tend to wax a
little nostalgic these days, and it was easy to see others like me that night. We've grayed a bit but we can still rage to
the sounds that got us through college and life, while our equally salt and peppered bards led us through songs we
know so well. Once it started it was nothing short of communal. We reveled in the past and rejoiced in, as I heard a
friend say, "The future retro." To try and review this thing song-by-song would be a small novel. Rather, kind reader,
I beg your indulgence for a handful of standout tunes mixed in with some flashes of relevance.
Tim Bluhm :: 09.12 :: SF, CA
First, this was Craig Wright's setlist. Would I have done it differently? Maybe a couple of songs, but Wright
was the hero of our night and his list sparkled. Following his stage top introduction from the band, his name was
chanted after each mountaintop jam or burning song selection. I will get back to Craig's skills a bit later. This night it
was about the bust outs, and who doesn't love a good bust out? The first real blow-your-mind moment of the night
came second song in with the unleashing of "Mountain Time," an as yet unreleased, very yesteryear fan favorite. This
was the song that every hipster in that bar came to hear and when it dropped the place came unglued. I never
understood the appeal of this song prior to the show but after my first live dose, I get it. It was good! It was a gift to
the faithful, the fans who have been on board since the early Chico days. So was the next song, "Showing It All to Bad
Marie" from Part-Timer Goes Full. These were songs I knew but had never heard from a stage and I wondered why.
This will be the question born of that night. These songs are strong, assertive and lithe when properly dusted off.
Some of them simply must come back, pulled up from a musical well almost two decades deep. "Fumbling Parade," for
example, found Greg Loiacono and Paul Hoaglin glaring at each other from across the stage,
locked in a bass/lead guitar duel that elevated the tune to sweltering levels.
I think the most poignant part of the night came on as Tim Bluhm picked the opening notes of "Pull Us All
Together" over the top of Hoaglin's droning bass. The song, from Green Hills of Earth, begins, "One good thing that
bad things do is pull us all together." Could it have been more perfectly placed? This night was literally book-ended
by the memory of 9/11 and the impending landfall of Hurricane Ike in Galveston. Did anyone else get that? And as
though cued, the chants of "Craig, Craig, Craig" following the tune.
Greg Loiacono :: 09.12 :: SF, CA
There was a bluesy, resonating version of "Ball Game," as well as the filthiest, dirtiest one-two combination of "Been
Lost Once" and "Pet Foot" from Part-Timer that I have ever heard. The band left the stage clearly a tad tired following
the eighteen song first set, but they were not gone long. I had just enough time to grab a beer, hug a friend and set
myself up for numero two when the band returned.
Craig's second set was a little more in the present rather than the past, and I liked that. It became a sing-along and
at times the crowd's crooning rivaled the P.A. "Shootout" from the album of the same name was perfectly played.
"Transit Wind" from the same record loosened Loiacono's guitar prowess in a way that turned the crowd into a writhing,
head banging mass of thirty-something's intent on his incendiary stoke.
There was a place for all of us in Craig's setlist - the old college buddy of the band that has been on the scene since
'92 got down alongside the guy only recently turned on by the latest album, Kiss The Crystal Flake. The music was
equally contagious and grooving to both camps. It was a band and its fans mutually thankful for the past and that
special brand of "future retro" set against a night of music that rivaled any show played at anytime. The stars were
lined up and the moon was fat for this predetermined barnburner. From the searing heat of "Rich Little Girl" to the
beautiful notes of "Sleepy Eyes," it fulfilled expectations in spades. This night at Café du Nord was one man's "Greatest
Hips," but we were all immersed in California Soul, perhaps hoping that some day it will be our turn to call the tunes.
My list is saved and itching to be taped to a stage next to some effects pedals anytime they're ready.
09.12.08 :: Café du Nord :: San Francisco, CA
Set One: Two River Blues, Mountain Time, Showing It All to Bad Marie, Esmerelda, Don't Go So Fast,
Fumbling Parade, Poison Oak, Pull Us All Together, Cosmonaut, Bent Carousel, Do It on the Strings, Ball Game, Hey
Emilie, Are You Breathing, Spotless As You, Been Lost Once, Pet Foot, Song in a Can
Set Two: Stoned Up the Road, Later Days, $100 Blues, Transit Wind, Shootout,
Singing Seems to Ease Me, Hamburger Nancy, Stephanie's for LA, Barefoot Sea Chanteys, Sarah Bellum, Third Floor
Story, Desert Song, Rich Little Girl
Encore: Sleepy Eyes, Lady Be Cool, Superwinner
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