Friday, November 11, 2022

Big Head Todd and the Monsters make triumphant return to The Coach House

Big Head Todd and the Monsters performing at The Coach House
in San Juan Capistrano, CA, on Wednesday night, Nov. 9, 2022.

Who: Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Jim Dalton & Jeremy Lawton

Where: The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA

When: Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

Next: Big Head Todd and the Monsters has a number of upcoming Southern California dates. The band performs in Ventura on Nov. 11; in Solana Beach on Nov. 12 and 13; and in Pioneertown on Nov 14


Todd Park Mohr at The Coach
House on Nov. 9, 2022.

Review by Robert Kinsler

Photography by Bob Steshetz

Playing their signature blend of blues, rock, funk and jam with artful force, Big Head Todd and the Monsters returned to The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA on Wednesday night to thrill a packed and enthusiastic crowd. Performing a 110-minute set of material, Todd Park Mohr (lead vocals, guitar), Brian Nevin (drums), Rob Squires (bass) and Jeremy Lawton (keyboards, slide guitar) impressed from the moment they hit the stage of the legendary venue.

Opening with their enticing blues-flavored original "Josephina" (a track off their wonderful 2014 album Black Beehive), the quartet offered up the track with the perfect blend of raw power and nuanced virtuosity.

Todd Park Mohr immersed in the 
music on Nov. 9, 2022.

From there, BHTM performed a fantastic new original, "Thunderbird." A catchy country-tinged riff rocker bolstered by a fiery lead guitar solo courtesy of Mohr, the other three members of the outfit created a dynamic approach further amplifying the power of the cut. 

Brian Nevin behind the kit at The Coach House. 

With the exception of a brief hiccup during "King Kong" 
— where Mohr's guitar cut out  BHTM energetically delivered each song as if it was their greatest hit. An emotive laid back nugget, "Ellis Island" allowed the troupe to explore the corner of the sonic universe where blues and jazz meet; the foursome turned on a dime performing the '90s-styled reggae rocker "Please Don't Tell Her" with a breezy vibe adding to the magic. 

Jeremy Lawton at the Coach House.

Other standouts of the set included the Texas-blues mining "Dirty Juice" with Lawton tearing it up on slide guitar and Mohr's powerhouse vocals showcased, the groove-and-blues gem "New World Arisin'," "Vincent Of Jersey" with Mohr taking the beginning alone accompanied by his guitar, and a flat-out bewitching version of the band's 1993 hit "Bittersweet," the latter a sweeping and zestful version enhanced by the work of all four band members.

Bassist Rob Squires on Nov. 9, 2022.

BHTM also celebrated several of their heroes during the set; early there was a ferocious Chicago blues take on Buddy Guy's "Sit and Cry (The Blues)"  
— originally recorded back in 1958 — while later on they covered John Lee Hooker's timeless "Boom Boom" with equal abandon.

From left, Todd Park Mohr and Jeremy Lawton at the Coach House.

The encore was definitely worth the wait. The Boulder, Colorado band delivered a mighty version of "Circle," the rousing single from the band's major label debut Sister Sweetly. Park's emotive and convincing vocals were fully in sync with the song's refined beginnings and build to a huge classic rock-styled finale.

BHTM closed out the memorable set with a fun run through the Ramones' "I Want To Be Sedated."

From left, Jim Dalton and Jeremy Lawton at the Coach House.

Opening the night with a 45-minute set of Americana-meets-blues, Jim Dalton 
— accompanied by the aforementioned Jeremy Lawton — featured tracks from Dalton's full-length 2021 album In My Head 

From left, Jim Dalton and Jeremy Lawton at the Coach House.

Dalton, the lead guitarist of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, brought a loose and authentic approach to his performance. The countrified "Amigos" and satiric "Serial Killer" (Dalton wrote the latter song after reading a news report about a young woman who wanted to marry serial killer Charles Manson) were among the standouts. My favorite song of the pair's set was Dalton's absolutely luxurious ballad "In My Head." 

No comments: