Photos by Lori Sky Twohy
Another Saturday night at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale and another great artist; Big Head Todd and the Monsters is not a show I would have necessarily gone out to see. The only song of theirs I had heard, before Saturday, was the hit single, from the 90’s, “Bittersweet.”
I had thought this was mostly what the band was about, but it turns out my preconceptions of Todd were all wrong. This was not the 90’s pop band show, I expected to see, but instead a heavy jamming blues band.
The 1000 person capacity venue was just about full, of a crowd predominately in their 30’s and 40’s. From beginning to end it seemed most of the crowd knew the songs and were singing along, where they could. Not every song was of the sing along variety though, with plenty of blues mash-ups and jams.
In jam band style, Todd did a first set, with a short break, and then a second set, followed by an encore. The first set mixed in some jams with some crowd favorites. Not really knowing the songs myself I looked around the crowd and definitely noticed lots of singing along to “Broken Hearted Savior,” and “Josephina.”
For myself though it was in the second set where the show really got going. Todd proved and showed his blues chops with a John Lee Hooker cover of “Boom Boom.” Before Hooker’s passing in 2001, the band had recorded the track with the blues legend, and Todd shared the experience with the audience.
“Black Beehive,” honored another, more modern-day, blues great. It is a song written about the late Amy Winehouse, and fittingly followed a drinking song, “I Get Smooth,” (When I’ve Been Drinking).
A couple of covers really made the experience for me though. It was Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine,” done even more bluesy than usual, and a combination of the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction,” and The Staples Singers, “Respect Yourself,” which really topped things off.
Todd has also been known to share the stage with guest musicians and this night was no different. He brought out legendary blues, jazz and gospel singer Hazel Miller for a few songs and she helped blow the roof off that place.
So if you like the blues, and who doesn’t, Big Head Todd and the Monsters is definitely a good show to check out. Oh, and for those who did not know, like me, the name Big Head Todd comes from the blues roots of the band. It’s in the tradition of the old blues acts like “Eddie Fat Head Newman,” and “Clean Head Vincent.” Just one more of the things I did not know about this band, which makes me like them even more.