The Colorado Sound presented a world-renowned band, Big Head Todd, originally from Colorado, playing a smaller Coloradoan venue, The Aggie with Colorado-based opener, Brent Cowles. These are the moments locals feel blessed to live in Fort Collins.
Preceding Big Head Todd and the Monsters was Brent Cowles, a Coloradoan who has gained much traction locally and beyond. Cowles and accompanying band were, stylistically, a very proper lead-in for the main event. With a blues-rock sound which could be described as bordering the sounds of a band like Alabama Shakes, they were able to squeeze in emotions of all kinds into a comfortable forty-minute set. The group sometimes brought the crowd to melancholic highs—Cowles’ voice attaining a beautifully hollow and haunting sound, akin perhaps to Jim James of My Morning Jacket—and to the foot-stomping fun you might find with the best of blues-rock bands; all aspects of musicality which would make a fan of Big Head Todd and the Monsters feel quite at home.
The band was immediately playfully comfortable on the stage and had terrific skills of harmonization when needed. Yet, the most unique aspect of the music was its ability to retain a quite robust and powerful sound, even in more subdued sections, conveying a tremendous feeling of emotions that just cannot entirely be restrained.
A lone drummer was our introduction to Big Head Todd and the Monsters, pounding away on a dimly-lit stage as the other members emerged; simultaneously, the venue flooded with light as the entire band flooded it with sound. They came out swinging with songs like “Rocksteady” with powerful and (appropriately) steady beating from the drummer, and the groovy, meandering playing of Todd’s magnificent golden guitar (one of his many stringed consorts of the evening). Seeing the band play for the first time, one is able to glean much about what makes the band so consistent and so downright enjoyable for listeners of so many different backgrounds. First is Todd’s voice, which has the extraordinary ability to sound sultry, despite the volume and tinge to his singing voice, which you might not typically associate with the soft nature of that former quality. Second, Todd was never one to shy away from a guitar solo amidst the playing of their songs, and it was fantastic to see how passionately, and how almost without effort it was for him to place it snugly within the rest of the song, as if Todd was trying to convey some extra meaning that the words simply could not.
It was also fantastic to see how much feeling he put into songs like “Please Don’t Tell Her,” despite there being two decades between now and the release of said song, a fact which showed how much Todd and the Monsters cared for the music. Many more songs which were likely favorites, such as “Bittersweet” and “It’s Alright” made the playlist. Bittersweet morphed into Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” for a brief time, which Todd used to connect with the crowd while giving out a solid dosage of soul. However, the crowd was also treated to new songs; a stand out being “Mind” from the band’s 2017 release “New World Arisin’,” which effortlessly melded into the show among all of their classics.