Zeppelin, Hooker and Big Head Todd at the Madison

Big Head Todd and The Monsters
Madison Theater
Covington, Kentucky
March 4, 2008

By selling music through unconventional methods, Big Head Todd and The Monsters has been able to solidify their fan base and attract new curiosity seekers like the throng that packed the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky on March 4.

The group has been gaining rave reviews with the recording All the Love You Need, which they have offered up for free at various outlets.  After opener Pete Dressman and The Soul Unified Nation warmed up the Madison audience with a set of searing electric rock and blues originals, Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, and drummer Brian Nevin hit the stage running with the bruising track "Cashbox" off of the new album.

Mohr’s beaming smile and stage presence shined brightly throughout the two hour concert, as he and The Monsters sprinkled tunes liberally culled from their nineteen year career.  It’s true that much of the set resembled their 1998 Live Monsters package, but Mohr and company managed to tighten the vital material, making it fresh with added punctuation from "Cruel Fate" off the new disc. 

Squires and Nevin admirably kept the rhythm dancing around covers of Led Zeppelin’s "Tangerine" and John Lee Hooker’s "Boom Boom." But, it was a rare moment when BHTM coalesced around a lively take on "Freedom Fighter" from 2002’s Riviera.  The centerpiece of recent material, such as All the Love You Need‘s title track and fired up opener "Her Own Kinda Woman" collided brilliantly with "Resignation Superman" and "Magdelina" off of 1997’s powerhouse Beautiful World and 1994’s eloquent Strategem offerings.

The highpoints, however, were reserved for Mohr’s compositions from the 1993 groundbreaker, Sister Sweetly. Mohr captured lightning in a bottle on "Broken Hearted Savior," with freewheeling reverb and feedback bouncing off of the Madison’s walls.  The floor’s denizens picked up on the Monster’s improvisational vibe, and crooned "Bittersweet" in a pure, unadorned fashion back towards the stage.

Big Head Todd and The Monsters encored with "Spanish Highway" off of All the Love You Need to warmly send their devoted followers out into the chilly March evening with thoughts of the marked contrast between the collective’s clenching blues fury and refined rock and roll sensibility.

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