In a song titled "All in Favor" on the latest disc from The Mother Hips, Hips co-founder Greg Loiacono traces the history of an unnamed band, established under guiding principals laid down by someone called "Wrongway Ray":
"He said don't listen to your heart, instead follow these instructions towards the path of self-destruction: unlimited buffoonery in the dark. Do this and you'll go far. All in favor, say aye... So we got ourselves a van, took it all across the land 'til one day on Five it caught fire, yeah, just like our egos. We took a vote and raised our hands up high. We'll do this 'til we die. All in favor, say aye."
The Mother Hips originally came together at the beginning of the '90s in Chico, where Loiacono and guitarist/songwriter Tim Bluhm went from duo to band, enlisting a rhythm section and skipping classes at Chico State in favor of rock. Their self-produced album, Back to the Grotto, caught the attention of someone at Rick Rubin's label, American Records (a Time/Warner subsidiary) and they were on their way - to a disastrous short term major label experience. A few albums and at least one break-up (or hiatus) later, and the band was back on track with a 2007 album, Kiss the Crystal Flake, garnering critical acclaim, even landing a song on the vid-game, Rock Band.
With this year's Pacific Dust, a great album steeped in what they call "California soul," they re-examine the band experience. The opening track penned by Bluhm, "White Falcon Fuzz," finds him wondering, "Is that what the world is saying: That your rock 'n' roll band can't last if you haven't got a really good singer?" Rest assured The Mother Hips will last.
You can hear The Hips Thursday, Nov. 12, at Humboldt Brews, where they play for a Humboldt Surfrider benefit kicking off a "Rise Above Plastics" campaign. The Surfriders seem to be in major benefit mode of late. Saturday they take it to the Arcata Theatre Lounge for a screening of the surf flick Modern Collective, music by young surf band Feedback, then a set by local faves The Nucleus.
BTW, Andy from Humboldt Brews tells me excitedly, "It looks like The Mother Hips will be the first show in the new venue next door! We also have The David Nelson Band coming on Sunday, Nov. 15 for an early show at 7 p.m." I can't wait to see the new space.
Things to do on Friday the Thirteenth: A benefit for Arcata House at Arcata Theatre Lounge that night starts with a rare appearance by The Joyce Hough Band (playing first so tired boomers can retire early) followed by Blue Lake groovers, Kulica.
It might feel like winter but it's a tropical Friday at Taboo Island, a show at Redwood Raks with SambAmore, WoMama and Papa Houli and the Fleas. "We're asking folks to dress up in island wear and help us bring out the tropical vibes," says Jesse Jonathon, who plays in a couple of the bands. It's also one of the final shows for Mark O'Hare of the Fleas, who says he's leaving Humboldt, "in pursuit of a woman who has captured my heart." The romantic bassist plays a final Papa H. show next Wednesday at Six Rivers.
Five HSU jazz combos jam Friday evening in Fulkerson Hall offering a program organizer/teacher Shao Way Wu describes as "diverse and true to the mercurial nature of jazz." The Slippery Society takes on classic New Orleans jazz, The Peanut Gallery Quartet and The Bird Like Quintet play bop, The Austin Power Trio offers a samba number, and there's funk from Watermelonperson, specifically the Curtis Mayfield classic, "Superfly." Now that's diversity.
After four years as The Sidekicks, Gin and Laura are becoming The Soulful Sidekicks, and just in time for a gig at Plaza Design for Friday's Arts! Arcata, "playing mostly folk, soft rock, light bluegrass/blues, and country ballads and swing," says Laura. Also at A!A, the usual suspects in the usual places: Clean Livin' pickin' at Bubbles, Weather Machine jazzing at Café Brio, plus Striped Pig String Band at Garden Gate.
If you were part of the throbbing sold-out crowd at last week's Beats Antique show at the Red Fox, you undoubtedly know that Random Rab is playing the same club Friday night. The vibe is along the same lines: live organic electronica operating on a higher plane; once again, Portland electro-producer Danny Corn shares the bill.
The night before (Thursday, Nov. 12), the Fox brings back loopy guitarist J Wail, again with drummer aNdu. Guest DJs Soniq Al-Khemyst and Psy-Fi open, and there's something called Blue Angel Burlesque. Admission: free.
Elsewhere on Thursday, HSU's Associated Students present alt. rockers Pinback in the Kate Buchanan Room; Joe Jack Talcum of Dead Milkmen fame opens.
Barbara Manning has a long history in indie rock, starting with the mid-'80s neo-psychedelic group 28th Day, on through World of Pooh, SF Seals, the power trio, The Go-Luckys! with solo albums along the way. What's she been up to lately? Well, she just completed her biology degree at Chico State (she's from Chico) and, as noted on her MySpace, she "hopes that having a 'real' job will enable her to continue her passion of making music," which apparently has continued unabated. This weekend she makes the 299 drive for a Saturday show at the Lil' Red Lion with her friends The Monster Women and Agent Ribbons, a three-woman guitar/drums/cello-violin trio from Sacto.
The reggae massive will be jumping this week. Thursday they must choose: Tanya Stephens, who won new fans this summer with high-energy sets at Reggae on the River, then the Organic Planet Festival, plays at Mazzotti's backed by Yellow Wall Dub Squad. The same night, Arcata Theatre Lounge has roots/soul/dancehall by Virgin Islands-born, NYC-raised Pressure and Perfect, a Jamaican Bobo Shanti Rasta from St. Anns. Sunday it's lanky singjay pioneer Eek-A-Mouse at the Red Fox with RudeLion Sound. And last but not least, as stated in a press release, "Gyptian and Warrior King will bless up the irie reggae vibes at Humboldt Brews Tuesday, Nov.17.
How 'bout a hip hop weekend? Start with Pep Love of Hieroglyphics, consciously rapping Saturday at Nocturnum. Then on Sunday hit Mazzotti's for a show featuring the legendary Raekwon from Wu Tang Clan touring behind his long-awaited disc, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II. He's joined by Skyzoo and Queen Yonasda for what's allegedly an early show, starting at 8 and ending by midnight.
A note from Kinetic Rutabaga Queen Kati Texas announces a "Glorious Gala" Saturday at the Kinetic Sculpture Museum in Ferndale with a Kinetic Kabaret variety show including: Shaye Freelove, Ya Habibi Belly Dancers, jugglers, singers, comedians, and eclectic acts by the Rutabaga Royal Family. There's also a vintage Kinetic memorabilia auction and Dutch raffle with proceeds going to the KS-Museum, and in particular, a new addition, Hobart's Room, "a working replica of the workshop where Hobart created his brass and copper masterpieces." The R-Queens know how to throw a party, so it should be fun.
Speaking of parties, one of the best dance parties I've ever attended was this summer's Soul Clap Dance Off, a dance contest at the Arcata Theatre Lounge with New York Night Train DJ Jonathan Toubin spinning nothing but 45s from the '60s and '70s and keeping the dance floor moving from start to finish. He and Panache's Michelle Cable then took the party international, playing records in Europe and the Middle East. They return to the ATL Sunday for another contest, again with a $100 cash prize and celebrity judges. Be prepared to dance your ass off.