–By Keith Brake
This past Friday night (1/12/2018) The Pageant played host to one of the most quintessential bands of the 90’s, Big Head Todd And The Monsters. The Colorado rockers are out on tour in support of their latest release New World Arisin’ which dropped November 3, 2017. Also in Saint Louis on this ice covered evening as a supporting act was Chicago Bluesman, Ronnie Baker Brooks.
As I mentioned, the weather was more than a little “chilly” and that caused the crowd to fill in much slower than normal. When the lights dimmed in preparation for Brooks to take the stage I was amazed with what I saw; only about 10 people were at the barricade near the front of the stage. Any concert goer knows just how difficult it can be to take a general admission ticket and turn it into a front row seat, but it seemed as if only these ten “got the memo”. Brooks took the stage, introduced himself and did not let the sparse crowd up front bother him at all. Ronnie is steeped in Blues lineage and tradition being the son of Blues hall of famer Lonnie Brooks, and it shows. Ronnie gave his father a shout out and said “He taught me everything I know, but not everything he knew”.
When my time in the photo pit had come to an end, I exited and noticed something that made me smile. Thru his energy and charisma Mr. Brooks had reminded a cold Saint Louis crowd that near the stage is, indeed, a great place to be. Ronnie drew them in like moths to a porch light. When I turned I saw that the floor was packed and I thought to myself this is how it should be.
The evening was warming up nicely and the Pageant crowd was ready for their beloved Colorado rockers to take the stage. Brian Nevin (drums) was first to appear from the darkness and sparked a nice loud ovation. The concert goers that Brooks had lured to the floor area of the Pageant was still in tact and sent up a gracious round of applause when Todd Park Mohr (guitar/vocals) stepped out of the shadows. The three original members, who all attended the infamous Columbine High School, are still together today since forming BHTM back in 1987. Nevin, Mohr and Rob Squires (bass) have since been joined by Jeremy Lawton who adds keys, pedal steel guitar and vocals to the already strong mix.
The group is as clear and crisp as I can remember and they still appear to be having a darn good time together. This, combined with the accomplishment of still producing new music together speaks to the staying power of BHTM. The crowd in attendance was not as diversified in age as some I have witnessed but with that said, they are loyal and enthusiastic for what they have come to love.
After a couple of numbers Mohr spoke to the crowd and welcomed them. He said “We have some new stuff…some old stuff…we’re gonna play a little of everything” and that’s exactly what they did. If you were alive in the 90’s and have never heard BHTM music, you must have been living under a rock, and those iconic 90’s songs still elicit tremendous response. While the new material is much better than good, those nostalgic songs still hold a special place for me and obviously those in attendance as well. “Bittersweet” “Circle” and “Broken Hearted Savior” were the overwhelming highlights of the evening for me and Todd and the boys still play them album quality. While some bands get to a point where they almost refuse to play hits from the past, BHTM don’t seem to mind. If you think about it, when your songs are staples of a generation past, you can pay homage to the past and your accomplishments at the same time. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me and fits right into never forgetting where you come from.
The Tour continues with future dates in Milwaukee, Indianapolis and many more. If you were in high school during the 90’s and you have never been to a BHTM show, boy do you owe that evening to yourself. If you simply love a good, well crafted rock and roll show BHTM will satisfy your cravings for a great evening so, you as well, owe it to yourself to catch them live. And if you even think you like blues, then you need to get out and see Ronnie Baker Brooks as he never disappoints.
As always thanks for your support! Peace!