By Jessica Klausing
Longtime fans eagerly awaited The Mother Hips co-founding guitarist Tim Bluhm as he slowly made his way center stage to his seat. Bluhm donned a foot cast and crutches for the evening due to an unfortunate paragliding accident in September 2015 that left his ankle shattered.
This injury didn’t hold back Bluhm’s energy filled powerhouse performance at West Hollywood’s Troubadour.
Tim Bluhm (guitar/vocals), Greg Loiacono (guitars/vocals), John Hoffer (drums) and Scott Thunes (bass) with special guests, Scheila Gonzales (saxophone/vocals) and Jason Crosby (keys/violin) played a very special show for Los Angeles.
The band teased fans with the promise of covering a surprise record as part of their two set show. As soon as the band opened with the anguished guitar ballad, “Gimmie Shelter,” the sold out venue erupted in cheers. The Mother Hips played The Rolling Stones’ Let it Bleed album in its entirety.
Bluhm and the gang slayed through the classics such as “Monkey Man,” “Country Honk,” “Let It Bleed” and the iconic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The songs were performed ready to burst of hard rockin’ blues with surprisingly dark undertones that was both sexy and horrifying at the same time. This stellar performance would have made Mick Jagger proud.
On top of a secret set, the Hips had another surprise in store for fans that night. Fans were gifted with a free download of the new single, “I Went in Hard.” This song is a sneak peek of the group’s new album due out later this year. The song addresses the accident that badly injured Bluhm but the band was not going to kiss and tell any more secrets about the new album.
“We decided not to play the new single tonight. We wanted the audience to go home and experience it for themselves—plus we don’t really know how to play it,” confessed Bluhm.
After a brief intermission, the band returned to play their originals for the final set.
The Hips kicked off the second set with the alternative rockin’ “Smoke” followed by a bluesy jam of “White Falcon Fuzz.”
Scheila Gonzales had the audience swaying to her jazzy saxophone parts in “Esmerelda.” Gonzales can play a mean sax! It was her beautiful saxophone solo that stole the show during “Toughie.” It was the kind of thing you would hear at a jazz nightclub from the French Quarter in downtown New Orleans. Things mellowed out with Scott Thunes’ heavy bass groove in “Clean Me Up.” The momentum picked back up with Greg Loiacono’s rich lead vocals to the more psychedelic “Confirmation of Love.”
To nail the Hips down to one specific genre would be nearly impossible. A few songs into the set and already the audience were treated to a delicious musical buffet of Americana, blues, jazz, country, alternative and psychedelic rock.
What makes the Hips so special is perhaps the musical bond between Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono as evidenced during “Been Lost Once.” Their call and answer vocals section was the main highlight of this heavy Southern rock guitar jam. These two guitarists were quite a mesmerizing sight with their dueling compositions. This was not a battle of the brawns but more of a means to challenge the musical dynamic of the song.
The Hips closed out the night on a high with “Magazine” and “Stoned Up the Road.”
The Mother Hips are quite a trip to watch live in person because of their Grateful Dead-esque extensive jam sessions. However, they are much more than just a northern California jam band. These guys are constantly looking for ways to take their songs to new heights. Part of the fun is not knowing where these guys will end up. It’s more about the journey, not the destination.
Love in Vain
Live with Me
Let it Bleed
You Got the Silver
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
White Falcon Fuzz
Clean Me Up
Confirmation of Love
Third Floor Story
Singing Seems To Ease Me
Been Lost Once
Do It On The Strings
Time Sick Son Of A Grizzly Bear
Rich Little Girl
Stoned Up The Road