Fans get Mo’ Hips

Chico’s Mother Hips and Buffalo Creek fill LaSalles

IN BLUHM The Mother Hips’ Tim Bluhm leads the band back to the stage and the studio.

IN BLUHM The Mother Hips’ Tim Bluhm leads the band back to the stage and the studio.

Photo By Tom Angel

Mother Hips and Buffalo Creek LaSalles Fri., June 10

It would sound much more romantic if last Friday’s lightning storm served as some sort of a metaphor for the Mother Hips playing a sold-out show at LaSalles.

Chances are people have been recounting where they were that night when the floodgates opened. I can vouch for the large group of people who stood in line outside LaSalles getting drenched. Stupid? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely. After all, it was the first time the Mother Hips played their old stomping grounds in quite some time since their break-up-turned-extended-hiatus. And it was the first time Chico’s wayward sons shared the stage with Buffalo Creek, a band that has taken over as the steady draw at LaSalles.

Maybe there was something to that storm.

It was definitely electric inside—a mix of aging Chicoans who were there in the ‘90s, when the Hips transformed from a frat-party fixture to a major-label product, and a smattering of younger fans who have found solace in their younger counterparts Buffalo Creek. Both bands did what they do best—packed the house and induced zaniness on the dance floor.

“Reliable” is probably the best way to describe a Buffalo Creek show—those who attend know what they’re getting. Audience members enjoyed a steady stream of cheap Sierra Nevada, and BC played its usual solid set of countrified rock.

The band does have a knack for pulling out some choice covers. Most notable that evening was the Merle Haggard classic “Mama Tried,” with some additional background vocals provided by the Hips’ Tim Bluhm, much to the excitement of the audience and the members of Buffalo Creek.

The Creek wound down, and the room continued to fill up.

By the time the Mother Hips took the stage, the dance floor had extended back beyond the DJ booth. And the band was in rare form.

The Mother Hips embrace the folk-country of the Grateful Dead, the stoned-out blues of the Rolling Stones and the sugary sweet harmonies of early Bee Gees.

Call the music what you will, but the songs are there. For every “Been Lost Once,” a dirt-twirling favorite from 1995’s Part-timer Goes Full, there’s the perfect pop of “Channel Island Girl.” The show was a showcase of the band’s history as it played songs from the early days and yet-to-be-released songs like “Grizzly Bear” and “Red Tandy.” The Hips even took on a few extended improvs, something they’ve veered from in recent years in favor of simpler songs in an attempt to shake the “jam band” tag.

And that night, the band sounded tighter than ever as the members prepare for more shows and a new album, set to be released on acoustic dreamboat Mason Jennings’ indie-label Architect Records.

It’s good to see them again—and even if the Mother Hips never achieve their rightful success, the musical landscape is a better place with them around.