Friday the 13th will be a lucky night for devotees of psych-rock underdogs The Mother Hips, when the veteran band spends one of the nights during a sparse Springtime tour in the intimate confines of Schuba’s Tavern. The San Francisco Bay-area quartet will stick closer to home a week later for its eighth annual “Hipnic,” sharing three days of music and camping with fans in Big Sur, California.
The communal experience is also an important component of any Mother Hips show. “The time we had is not gone,” Tim Bluhm is likely to sing at Schuba’s, joined by fervent voices of the quartet’s local crowd. “Time We Had,” a wistful favorite from 2007’s “Kiss the Crystal Flake,” suggests that creating and playing music with bandmates including founding guitarist Greg Loiacono is a lifeline that keeps Bluhm’s childhood dreams alive – and it’s a dream he and the band are glad to share. The sound of the tune drifts between buzzy psychedelic pop, crafty ‘70s Laurel Canyon shimmer, and summery Byrds-inspired harmonies. Inclusion in the playable line-up for the video game Rock Band has made “Time We Had” one of the band’s most recognized songs, despite any lack of deserved attention at radio.
The band’s current touring activity should leave it sharpened for future road work in support of a new album planned for release this summer. The last Mother Hips album was 2014’s “Chronicle Man,” a project which rescued exceptional tracks that were tragically left by the wayside during a prolific period from the band’s youthful days in the ‘90s. The ghosts of 1995’s “Part-Timer Goes Full” album and 1996’s “Shootout” album flicker about the edges of songs like the breezy but troubled “Desert Song” and winsome, waltz-time country vibe of “St. Andrew.” Despite the time warp, the material sits nicely alongside fresher curiosities found on 2013’s “Behind Beyond.”
Jeff Elbel is a local freelance writer.