Billed as “Oklahoma’s newest destination for food, music and spirits,“ The Jones Assembly is one of OKC’s newest music venues catering to a wider range of music than what Oklahoma City radio caters to. And on Sunday June 3rd, they welcomed Big Head Todd & the Monsters back to the city after a long hiatus. Playing the main room stage with the patio doors rolled up, the band entertained a eclectic audience ranging from young hipsters and yuppies to older hippies and blues hounds. And they absolutely didn’t disappoint.
Unlike many bands, BHTM were not content to take the easy way out. Their current tour is essentially representing their thirty years as a band creating memorable music together. Rather than going on tour playing an evening of just “the hits”, they’ve hit the road working new material from their exciting new album, New World Arisin’ on their own imprint, Big Records. The album is the eleventh release from the main trio that became friends at the University of Colorado back in 1986. The band features Todd Park Mohr on guitar and vocals, Rob Squires on bass and Brian Nevin on drums. The newest member is Jeremy Lawton on keys, lap steel and backing vocals. [To read our interview with Todd Park Mohr about this album, click any of these bolded words right here.]
The band opened their set with “Roomful Of Mirrors,” a Jimi Hendrix composition that is the closing track of their new album. This was followed by the album’s title track. That theme remained in place, as the band played us five of New World’s.. ten tracks. Yet showing that they’ve learned something in those thirty years together, they did a masterful job of set list magic by placing many of the hits around the new songs. Each effectively complimenting the other. I really enjoyed the newer material, with “Detonator” and “Wipeout Turn” both impressing me the most. Of the hits, “Resignation Superman,” “Bittersweet,” and “Broken Hearted Savior” were the obvious crowd favorites. But, I also found “Poor Miss” and the show ending “Circle” to be just about perfect. It’s a true testament that so many of these songs still sound timeless and fresh after all these years.
While the majority of the crowd was there for the headliner, they got quite the impressive set from the opening band, Simo to ponder while waiting for BHTM to take the stage.
Simo is a trio from Nashville, TN that features JD Simo playing a blistering lead guitar and vocals, backed by Adam Abrashoff on drums and Elad Shapiro on bass. They are the epitome of a blues power trio. Think Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Touring in support of their newest album Rise And Shine on Mascot Label Group, one has to think they’re a hard band to follow on stage. Simo plays vintage equipment with such an incredible amount of energy and passion, it was in all honesty, mesmerizing. Hard hitting, personal lyrics with extended, jammed out blues grooves, bordering on psychedelic. They closed their set with a mind blowing version of the Beatles’ “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” a la Joe Cocker’s version. I’m still thinking about it and can’t wait to see the trio return for another show.