The Mother Hips | 20th Anniversary | Review | Pics

Words by: Dennis Cook | Images by: Andrew Quist

The Mother Hips :: 09.09.11-09.11.11 :: 20th Anniversary Weekend :: Chico, CA

Full photo gallery below along with a detailed setlist for the El Rey anniversary show!

The Mother Hips by Andrew Quist
Few acts have aged more gracefully than Northern California’s premiere people’s rock unit The Mother Hips, who gathered with their most faithful followers in Chico for a 20th Anniversary celebration that stretched over three days. As together and charismatic a band as one could want, the Hips reveled in their rich, varied, history with a house party on Friday, the main headlining concert at movie-theatre-turned-music-hall the El Rey Theatre on Saturday, and an outdoor jam as part of the Taste of Chico event downtown. Centered around Hips’ founders Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono, the band presented a muscular, exciting argument for their inclusion on any list of the best bands of the past 20 years.

Having gotten their start in Chico, it was a blast to see so many classic Hips fans in one place, mingling with a strong Bay Area contingent and a smattering of far flung enthusiasts who couldn’t resist being part of Saturday’s sweaty, wide ranging show. Most inside the El Rey had incorporated this music into their lives in a profound way, and seeing Tim and Greg play with original rhythm team Mike Wofchuck (drums) and Isaac Parsons (bass) offered a premium hit of nostalgia for many. However, the current lineup of Bluhm and Loiacono on guitars and vocals with bassist Scott Thunes and drummer John Hofer were the tightest, sleekest unit of the night, making newer material like “Young Charles Ives” and “White Falcon Fuzz” breathe as heavily as any of the sure-fire classics that piled up towards the end. Honestly, in terms of consistency, stage appeal and general chemistry, the present day Hips is one of the best lineups yet, though it didn’t hurt to have keyboardist Danny Eisenberg adding all the right touches and soloing with inspired dexterity. If they ever officially add a fifth member it needs to be Danny because he makes this band better. Period.

New Box Set
One felt part of something at the El Rey, a cause more than a mere entertainment as the band shifted members around Bluhm and Loiacono, touching on each phase of their jagged, topsy turvy career, a time condensing experience that cemented one thing: The Mother Hips have always made terrific rock ‘n’ roll. Like a more badass Grateful Dead or bugged-out Badfinger, the Hips are torchbearers for quality and originality grounded in something more common denominator. At times it was even a bit messy but in an endearing way with Thunes winging his way through less familiar cuts and Wofchuck and Parsons getting their stage legs back. Nodding along for hours on end, one was reminded how easy to like everything they do is. This stuff should be rubbing shoulders with the Tom Petty and Eagles singles in endless rotation on what’s left of commercial radio, but the world often sucks at rewarding real talent. That the Hips have persevered, that we had a 20th Anniversary to celebrate at all, is a small miracle that left most of us glowing softly as we stumbled into the warm Chico night.

This weekend also marked the official release of The Mother Hips new box set of rarities, alternates and live cuts entitled Days Of Sun And Grass, a career spanning box o’ chocolates for Hips heads. It’s kinda shocking how much great material didn’t make it onto official releases, and the alternate versions of key songs show off how flexible their music can be. It’s a trip to poke around in their rag ‘n’ bone buffet, which concludes with a disc of vintage radio appearances that are both enlightening and amusing. Order the four-disc set here.

El Rey Theatre – 09.10.11 – Setlist

Musician lineup listed above each block of songs

Set One
Mother Hips
Pull Us All Together
Time We Had
White Falcon Fuzz
Young Charles Ives
Don't Go So Fast
Two Young Queens
Del Mar Station
Mountain Time
Transit Wind
Back To The Grotto

Tim, Greg, Isaac & Mike
Been Lost Once
Precious Opal
Space > Jam > Magazine
This Is A Man

Set Two
Tim, Greg, Isaac & John
Stoned Up The Road

Tim, Greg, John, Mike, Scott, Danny
Song in a Can >
Easy Wind
Versus of Mark

Tim, Greg, John, Scott, Danny
Headache to Headache
Figure 11 >
Creation Smiles >
Figure 11
Grizzly Bear
Third Floor Story
Rich Little Girl

Tim,Greg,John,Scott,Isaac,Mike, Danny
Turtle Bones
Hey Emilie

Tim & Greg
Stories We Could Tell

The Mother Hips Tour Dates :: The Mother Hips News

JamBase | California
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 9/21/11]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!