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GEORGE THOROGOOD & THE DESTROYERS and Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Shepherd's Bush Empire April 28 2004

Second night in London for George Thorogood (the previous night was a sell out and tonight wasn’t far off), who may never trouble the album charts over here but has built up a large and loyal following down the years.

But first the support band, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, whose new album ‘Crimes of Passion’ is superb slice of blues rock with modern touches (eg loops and synths). A three piece consisting of Todd Park Mohr (guitars/lead vocals), Brian Nevin (drums/ vocals) and Rob Squires (bass/vocals), who have had platinum albums in the US since forming back in the mid-80’s.

It’s very hard playing a whole 45-minute set in front of an audience whom mostly won’t have heard anything by or of this band. But the band rocked from the off, with a mix of old and new tunes, including ‘Dirty Juice’ and ‘Bitter Sweet’. Todd is a fine guitarist, ably switching from three chord blues to intricate soloing and is ably supported by a very tight rhythm section (the band are joined on stage by a keyboards player as well which rounds out the whole sound nicely). I am sure they will have won over some new fans tonight and were a perfect match for the main event!

Now I own no George Thorogood albums (shame on me!) but I know a fair few tunes and have read glowing reports down the years of his live shows. A five piece - sax/drums/bass/guitar and Mr Thorogood on guitars/vocals that make enough noise for a ten-piece!

It’s good honest, no frills rhythm and blues with a big dose of rock ‘n’ roll. Opener ‘Born to Be Bad’ sets the tone for the evening and goes down a treat with the crowd. A sterling version of ‘The Sky Is Crying’ and of course ‘Bad to the Bone’ with it’s amazing riff, were set highlights for me but with a wealth of simple but effective tunes at his disposal the set is never going to fall flat.

For guitar fans ‘Madison Blues’ provided plenty of soloing and for a boogie, ‘Move It On Over’ fits the bill perfectly. Encore time saw ‘Treat Her Right’ and the audience left with very happy faces having witnessed one of the true legends of rock ‘n’ roll!

Review: Jason Ritchie

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