Writer’s note: This is a collaborative concert review between Sac Press reporters Lindol French and Aaron Davis. If you’re familiar with Lindol’s frequent concert reviews and the weekly Sactown Rundown, this should really be no surprise.
LF: When Aaron first proposed a collaborative concert review, I thought to myself “what is this tall goofy S.O.B. talking about?” But then, myself answered “Say yes, you idiot! He can do all the hard parts, like remembering the songs, making notes about instrument changes et. cetera. You can drink Pabst and throw woo at chicks. It’s a win-win!” So I agreed.
AD: Truth be told, I rarely have good ideas, but this one seemed like it would work. So far, utter failure – probably due to the aforementioned PBRs. Eventually these Bloody Marys will (theoretically) get us to produce something of merit. But let’s get down to brass tacks here: You’ve lived here a whole year, man, how was last night the first time you’ve been to Marilyn’s? Too hard to walk away from that personal locker they gave you at Harlow’s?
LF: Look, man, I get my mail sent to Harlow’s. It’s cheaper than a P.O. Box. And anyways, I blame you. But, let’s not quibble. Better late than never, and Mother Hips was a helluva band to stamp my Marilyn’s V-card.
AD: Right you are, grasshopper! Marilyn’s is becoming a regular stopover for the venerable Chico-bred rock outfit – given the fact that they also make the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom a frequent haunt, it’s great to see them consistently show this area some love. Saturday night wasn’t the most top-notch show they’ve done there (more on that in a minute), but their sets are always barnburners of psychedelic rock and piles of power chords. Since I came in late and only caught two songs, fill me in a little about opening band Floating Action, other than the fact that the bassist looked like a 21st century version of Chuck Berry watching an episode of Spongebob.
LF: You mean my new favorite band? And you forgot to note that the bassist was a lefty, just like Paul, which makes sense cause the Beatles influence is strong with these guys. Four cats from Asheville North Carolina playing dirtied up sixties style surf rock, heavy on the harmonies. They even had a machine gun style clapping interlude on “Cinder Cone” and a “Sha La La La La La” infused chorus on “Rincon.” But perhaps my favorite part of the show was their merch guy, Jordan. Jordan is a sixth year senior at Appalachian State, and he’s getting his last three credits via an internship going on tour with FA. When the tour ends, he’s a college graduate. How sweet is that?
AD: Almost as sweet as you failing to mention that their bassist was also rocking a Hofner bass – again, just like Paul McC. I did catch the last two songs and dug what I heard, shoddy opening band sound set-up notwithstanding. One thing I did notice while they were playing was that there was a Hammond set up on the stage, and it wasn’t Floating Action’s. The Hips don’t normally have a keyboard player, but local golden boy Jackie Greene is frequently known to sit in with the band on the 88s. You could hear devout Hips fans (and there are always a ton of them that have been loyal to this band since the early 90’s) in the crowd cooing about the possibility of Jackie showing up, but I quickly put that notion to bed by whipping out the crack box (iPhone) and checking Jackie’s calendar to reveal that he was in Salt Lake City last night. However, the Hips did take to the stage at a surprisingly early 10:15 p.m. with a keyboardist in tow for the night. Did you catch his name?
LF: “Dealing” Danny Eisenberg. Speaking of devout fans, I found one named Corby Anderson who not only knew the man behind the keys, but had seen over a hundred hips shows and had written a 20,000 word review (novella?) of the last Hipnic (the Mother Hips music festival held in Big Sur). According to tiftmerritt.net, Eisenberg was a member of the Hips from ‘94-‘97, played with Ryan Adams from ‘01-‘03, and is currently a member of Glider, with a couple guys from Counting Crows. The site seems pretty legit. I mean, it is on the internet. Regardless, one thing is for sure, the dude rips it up. His solo on “Transit Wind” was goosebump-inducing.
AD: By that logic, fetish porn is also “legit,” because it’s on the internet? I like it! Side note: Glider is fantastic. Having keys in the mix always takes the Hips’ sound to a whole other level, throwing some funky acid blues into the mix with Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono’s hollow-body Gibson vs. classic Telecaster guitar wars. And then there’s the bass, which has a whole new look with fill-in Scott Thunes, a former Zappa solider who is filling in for the currently on-leave Paul Hoaglin. If you look at the Humboldt setlist from Friday night, as Thunes is still learning all the tunes, it was practically identical – but no one seemed to care. Thunes is a heavy bassist, and in only his second show, filled in very amicably with gut-rumbling thump and taking a few coaching signals from the rest of the band. Sporting a shirt and tie and a Mother Hips hat (so cheesy it was actually cool) during the opening rips of “Honeydew” and following lead from the Hips’ intensely calculated drummer John Hofer on the spastic time changes of “Magazine,” his presence was a noticeable difference, and the band found ways to cover for the fact that they are still establishing some new, albeit temporary chemistry. “Transit Wind” is a lazy jam that turns into a kicker, playing out like Alice in Chains’ “No Excuses” as played by Crazy Horse at the height of their depravity, and those Hammond wails turn it into a howler of a tune. And how about that string of the hazy “White Falcon Fuzz” slamming right into the distorted vocal harmonies of “Third Floor Story,” both tunes from their most recent album, “Pacific Dust.” So good it made me want to pee myself!
LF: Speaking of pee…during “Time Sick Son of a Grizzly Bear” I adjourned for a smoke. Upon entering the smoking area, I saw one of the aforementioned “superfans” outside. I’d noticed him during the Floating Action set; he’d been the only person next to the stage, front and center, and he’d been headbanging, violently. He steadfastly maintained his position well into the Hips set, continuing to bang his head, while screaming along to every lyric. He was hard to miss. In the smoking area, he was even harder to miss: he had whipped it out and was peeing in a potted fern. A short time later he was dragged out by his collar, pants struggling to stay up (and losing the battle). What is it with Mother Hips fanatics? A quick perusal of lead singer Tim Bluhm’s Twitter account reveals that homie was not the only member of the audience who had issues with bladder control: “A drunk girl peed herself while sitting on the arm of a sofa directly next to me backstage. Security!” See Aaron, if you had peed yourself, you would have been in…well, not good company, but company! Let your freak flag fly!
AD: I’d prefer to fly that flag on the next block in front of the popped collar Dive Bar/District 30 crowd, where it is sure to inspire fear and discomfort. I wonder if the mermaids just “let it fly” in the tank. Hmmm… But there was plenty of time leftover for nightcaps after a sneaky hour and a half set that closed with a face-melter of a jam on “Pet Foot” before giving way to an encore of their priceless sing-along “Rich Little Girl.” This is one of those songs where you’re actually allowed and practically encouraged to scream along with the “sha la la la la-la, la-woah-yeah” lyrics – and then go pee in a bush. This show didn’t quite stack up to the barnburner of a gig they put on at Marilyn’s in June of 2009, but you had to give them a teensy bit of leeway with a new bassist coming on board two weeks ago. Apparently he didn’t have time to learn that you’re not really supposed to wear a t-shirt of the band you are a member of while playing on stage with said band…but again, so ridiculous that it was actually cool. The Hips always draw in huge and rowdy crowds at Marilyn’s, one of the more serviceable rooms in the local music scene. Jackie Greene is cruising by on the 23rd, as is Grateful Dead collaborator Mark Karan on the 26th. Whaddya say, return trip? (Note to self: Never try to follow local musicians, who shall remain unnamed, over to Henry’s – only bad things can happen).
LF: Seriously. My Henry’s V-Card is one I don’t mind keeping for the foreseeable future. I didn’t have to venture inside to know that nothing good happens in there after midnight (or any other time, for that matter). As far as Marilyn’s is concerned, I’m absolutely ready for another go. As my man Chuck Sheen says, “Bring it.”