Feb 122004
 
Authors: Gabriel Dance, Nicole Davis

A band that originally got its start in the Ramskeller played to

a packed crowd of younger and older fans in their triumphant and

energetic return to Fort Collins.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters featured songs from their new

album “Crimes of Passion” and added new flavor to old favorites at

the Aggie Theater on Wednesday night.

The addition of a percussionist and keyboardist expanded the

trio to a quintet and several songs were taken to a new level with

the vocal inspiration of Hazel Miller.

“We’ve been a three piece rock ‘n’ roll band for years and we

still are at heart, but it’s good for us to have some different

instrumentation to play with – to present the material a little

differently,” said drummer Brian Nevin.

In fact, Nevin said that the new instrumentation is, in part, an

effort to make sure old favorites are still appealing.

“It’s a challenge to keep (songs like ‘Bittersweet’) fresh and

to keep yourself from just going through the motions,” he said.

“The addition of a keyboard player and a percussionist allows us to

be reinvigorated with the material … and we believe it will make

it more interesting for the fans who have seen it a lot.”

Nevin also guaranteed a “fun show” and the band certainly

delivered as singer Todd Park Mohr didn’t seem to stop smiling

throughout the performance and neither could the crowd.

While songs from the new album were well received among audience

members, the older songs drew the most reaction from a crowd

obviously familiar with the band’s early works.

Sing-alongs on songs such as “Bittersweet,” “Boom Boom” and

“Broken-hearted Saviour” gave listeners the chance to interact with

a band some of them had grown up with. In fact, several older

audience members reminisced throughout the show about seeing Big

Head Todd when they were in college.

Even though older songs were audience favorites, the band is

clearly excited about their eighth album, which was released on

Tuesday and was being sold at the show.

“We’re making better records because Todd produced this record

and I think he’s the best producer for his material,” Nevin said.

“He’s in a position in life now, we all are, where we’ve finally

created a lifestyle where we can be more productive on the creative

end without dealing with a lot of the industry garbage.”

And not only is Todd Park Mohr, the band’s lead singer, a great

producer but also he is an amazing guitarist, talented harmonica

player and surprisingly in-tune whistler; yes he actually whistles

in one song.

The highlight of the show, however, came not with the three-song

encore, but when Miller accompanied Mohr in a soulful performance

of “If You Can’t Slow Down.” Audience members could feel Miller’s

vocal power and responded with enthusiastic support for the guest

vocalist.

As the show ended the crowd stomped and cheered paying homage to

this local-gone-national group who have obviously stayed true to

their roots, having played three small venue shows in Colorado in

the last three days.

“We were just friends sharing a house, going to college and

since we played music together in high school we thought it would

be fun to start a band,” said Nevin of the band’s beginnings.

But what started as fun over 15 years ago has developed into an

extremely successful and well-received career that is still going

strong.

“We still feel fortunate that we get to make music for a living

and we will continue doing that as long as they let us,” Nevin

said. “We love making music together. I see this as the beginning

of an exciting stage of our career.”

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