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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeAs part of a growing trend and marking a major change in the music industry, Big Head Todd & The Monsters have recorded in support of their new tour with the release of All the Love You Need, which is free to download from their web site and is only $5 for a hard copy-- unless you buy $15 worth of their merchandise, in which case it's free again. Even going as far as sending out 25,000 copies of their new disc to fans who signed up for it in late 2007, the band maintains they are a "touring-based" band and want to get their music out to as many people as they can-- BHTM nearly sold out both of their shows at the House of Blues while in Chicago.
On the opening night, the band obliged to some fan requests early on with the sexy rock of "Angela Dangerlove," from their 2004 release Crimes of Passion, and hit single "Broken Hearted Savior," from their 1993 platinum seller Sister Sweetly, as well as "Bittersweet," which is chanted at their shows as often as "Freebird" is at a local music bar. While the band delivered their classics with impressive intensity, the set clearly focused on the new material, playing almost the entire album.
Somewhat of an awkward mix of early pop-penned BHTM sounds with the more exploratory work found on Crimes of Passion, whether or not the new material matches up to previous albums is debatable, but the band's delivery of their music on stage has become their defining feature. Notables from the new album included the catchy "Fortune Teller" and the straightforward rock of "Spanish Highway" representing their early sound, the funky "Ever Since Ya Pulled Me Under" and blues soaked "Her Own Kinda Woman" picking up where they left off with their last album, and "Cash Box" firing up a believably gritty blues sound with Mohr's underrated guitar ability and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton on lap steel.
Though some of the new material prompted mixed reactions initially, the crowd still hollered for more at the end of the night, and an encore of their exceptionally powerful blues tribute "Blues Conquistador" and a worthy cover of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom."
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