Allow me to come clean from the top. Other than some radio play, I’ve never heard any Big Head Todd and The Monsters music, and I’ve never thought about them. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I am now a fan: a ‘Big Head’, or a ‘Monster’? I’m not sure, but I truly enjoyed this band.
The Grand Sierra Resort brought them in Friday night with Gin Blossoms opening for them. This was a very good double bill, but for reasons I can’t understand the room was less than half full. Parking was easy at least.
My first impression of BHTM (that’s the hip reference) after only a few songs was that they are very gifted musicians who are well versed in blues, rock, and the ‘jam band’ style of writing and playing. Having been playing together for almost 30 years, they are very tight.
As the band took the stage the crowd rushed in and filled the front line. Security quickly came up and made everybody return to their seats, which was great for me (so I could shoot). About three quarters of the way through their set, the crowd was allowed to regroup at the edge of the stage, and it got thick. Their enthusiasm was through the roof. In terms of a crowd, quality trumps quantity any day.
Todd Park Mohr’s guitar playing is both smooth and sweet in some songs, such as their huge hit “Bittersweet,” and lightning hot as in “Wipeout Turn” and “Circle.” His vocals were spot on all night.
Drummer Brian Nevin has a powerful style that impresses. He has his kit set up so that all the drums are flat to the ground and sitting at the same low level, even with the top of his bass drum. He also had a second snare drum to the left of the high hat. Jeremy Layton played multiple instruments, but mainly the electronic keyboard and a Hammond B3 with a Leslie speaker as well as singing background vocals. Rob Squires on bass and background vocals supplied a subtle and solid foundation. There was a lot of passion on the stage.
I saw no big heads or monsters, but I did see and hear a great band. I was thoroughly impressed. Keep your eyes peeled to ThisisReno for the review on the Gin Blossoms. And let’s get out there and support live music!
Scroll below the gallery for a set list.
“When I’m Kissin’”
“The Damaged One”
“Long Coal Train”
“Sit and Cry”
“Please Don’t Tell Her”
“New World Arisin”
“Circle / “Hey Joe”
“Sweet Emotion” / “Boogie Chillin’” / “Boom Boom”