Written by Eddie Ferranti
ImageWhen you’ve been covering bands as long as I have it is rare that real surprises come at you out of left field. Well this particular night in Houston at the packed House of Blues, Big Head Todd and the Monsters did just that. A couple in fact. Supporting his new CD release, ‘The Black Beehive’, Todd Clark Mohr decided to have his squad begin at 8pm sharp and play for an hour. Then take a short twenty minute break and come back for an hour and twenty minute second set. How often do you get that much bang for your buck in today’s programmed song lists and set longevity driven concerts? Very rare indeed.

The long time (since 1986) original group includes driving bassman Rob Squires, drum major Brian Neven, and Jeremy Lawton on solid keys. Plus he brought along his long time pal from Chicago, Mr. Ronnie Baker Brooks, who also popped up at this same venue with him in 2013. Brooks blasted his way thru the Alvin Cash classic “Twine Time” and funked up the crowd with his own song “Times Have Changed”. Seeing him relegate a powerful guitar dude like Mohr to his sidekick trading blues licks was a sight to behold. After seeing this cat join BHT twice now I’d say he ought to just say the hell with it and become another Monster! That is what is so cool about BHTATM is that after catching them like 4 years running you always get something fresh-like turning into a bonafide R&B band scorching the adoring crowd note by funky note.

Reaching into his his hat again (which are always cool by the way!) he yanked out a sweet soul sistah in the form of Hazel Miller to join them. She brought the soul and then some on the Joe Tex gem “Give the Baby” followed by the Clapton classic “Old Love” She had a ‘ham ‘n eggs’ playful quality to her that had the women in the crowd bellowing out their approval . Speaking of which it was very refreshing to see lots of women of all ages pumping their fists in the air and hopping around like their feet were on fire all night.

ImageHaving all the surprises out of the way led to a bonafide killer Big Head Todd gig pulling out all the hits and mixing in newbies from the new album. Doing “Bittersweet” like he was performing it for the first time was wonderful, war horse crowd fave “Broken Hearted Saviour”, “Circle”, steamy as the building temp “Rocksteady”, “Muhammed Ali”, and title cut “Black Beehive”.

Miller and Brooks added themselves to the second set on Staples Singers goodie “Yes We Can” and powerful funked up mix version of “Satisfaction/Respect Yourself” and “We Won’t Go Back” ! For me being a “late bloomer” to the BHTATM cult following,

I find it hard to believe that this band does not get more run after being around since the mid-80’s. Mohr’s secret to me is he doesn’t chase the fame but always lives in the present regardless of the profits to be reaped-and job security. Creative does not even begin to describe this guy’s attitude and style. He seems happy on stage and what’s wrong with that? I know myself and my trusty sidekick Doctor Ray, along with lots of others, left with a grin on our face…God Bless live music and those who support it.