The Mother Hips Live at the Great American Music Hall Album Cover

Tahoe Onstage: The Mother Hips return with a well-timed stocking stuffer

California Soul rockers The Mother Hips have treated us to a new release this holiday season, “Live at The Great American Music Hall.” The album is available on CD and all your online music stores as of Nov 29, via Blue Rose Records. The songs were handpicked from the annual “Hipsmas” shows, on Dec. 16 and 17, 2017.

First of all, this is an expansive set, accruing 28 songs in total. The album starts off hot with the blues rocking “Esmerelda,” followed by longtime favorite “Time-Sick Son of a Grizzly Bear,” right into a stickier-than-usual “Del Mar Station,” sung by Greg Loiacono.

The highlights are plentiful – a scorching guitar solo by Loiacono on an incendiary “High Note Hitters,” Tim Bluhm howling and growling on “Smoke,” pre – “Chorus” versions of “Clean Me Up” and “It’s Alright,” with everything eventually segueing into a punishing knockout of a jamming-but-thunderously-swampy “Magazine,” and then the dance-floor-friendly yet-fiery “Third Floor Story.”

There’s no shortage of energy, twists and turns, or mysto electricity in the air. Every band aspires to have their live album be a reflection of them on a very good night. It doesn’t always happen. Keith Richards has said that whenever The Rolling Stones set up to record a live album, it never quite came out the way the band wanted. This is not one of those instances. The Hips captured some smoldering versions of their songs while on top of their game, with a captivated audience.

The album closes with a bevy of Hips’ mainstays – “White Falcon Fuzz,” “Rich Little Girl,” “Confirmation of Love” and “Stoned Up The Road.” The warhorses were all in top form.

All in all, this is both a welcome live album for the die-hard fan, as well as a great introduction to the band’s deep catalog for a newbie. The only unanswered question is — when will The Mother Hips be gracing a Tahoe-area stage again? The sooner the better, right?!?

— Jon Siembieda

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