I’ll admit I have not thought of Big Head Todd and The Monsters for at least twenty years. Of course I was familiar with their hit single “Bittersweet” off of their album Sister Sweetly (Giant Records/Warner) but since then I really hadn’t paid much attention to the band. The sheer volume of music available in this day and age may have had something to do with it. But after listening to their catalog of music in anticipation of their performance at The Blue Note Hawaii in Honolulu — their first ever show in Hawaii — I discovered I had been missing out on some high quality music!
Originating from Colorado, the band formed in 1986, and has consisted of the same core lineup, an achievement few other bands can boast. Todd Park Mohr (lead vocals and guitar), Brian Nevin (drums), Rob Squires (bass/vocals), and Jeremy Lawton (keyboards/pedal steel/vocals) have released thirteen studio albums, including their most recent New World Arisin’ (Big Records).
Although 2020 is less than a month old, the band’s performance may turn out to be one of my favorite shows of the year. BHTM played an extraordinary show. The band began with the hard driving boogie of “New World Arisin’” which segued into “Turn The Light Out” and an extended version of “Bittersweet.” It was evident from the beginning that this band is a tight well-oiled machine. Todd Mohr’s guitar playing could at one moment be smooth and sweet and then transition into lightning hot blues.
The Blue Note Hawaii is most likely the smallest room BHTM have played in years. It didn’t matter if there were less than three hundred fans in attendance. The band played with the same excitement and enthusiasm as if they were playing to a hometown crowd at Red Rocks in Colorado. Overall, fourteen songs were played during a set which crossed the entire catalog of the band. Two recent additions to their ever growing set list included “Moose” and the Buddy Guy cover “Sit and Cry (The Blues). The band ended their set with a blistering rendition of “Purple Haze”.
Walking towards the exit I was I was a bit disappointed that over the years I had not paid more attention to Big Head Todd and The Monsters. The heavy blues influence and hefty grooves of this band will appeal to any music fan. Keep your eyes peeled, the band will begin a West Coast tour during January and will be heading East through February. https://www.bigheadtodd.com
New World Arisin’ / Turn The Light Out / Bittersweet / Everything About You / Sit And Cry (The Blues) Buddy Guy / Rocksteady / Imaginary Ships / Long Coal Train / Hysteria / Please Don’t Tell Her / Moose Song / Broken Hearted Savior / E. Circle / Purple Haze