Indianapolis, IN. – It was hot. It was one of those August summer nights that makes you sweat just sitting in the shade. It was the kinda of heat that was setting records; not only in Indiana but across the United States. Even with the heat index as high as it was, it did not stop fans from selling out Rock the Ruins in Holliday Park for two of the hottest blues-rock bands to come out of the nineties. The Blue Monster Tour was in town featuring dual-headliners Blues Traveler with Big Head Todd and the Monsters. If you are unfamiliar with these two bands, KNOW that their albums pretty much dominated the radio and clubs between 1992 – 1995.
Blues Traveler released their debut self-titled album in the early summer of 1990 but it took a couple years to really take hold and get the recognition that it deserved. Then in September of 1994, came their fourth studio album four which broke Blues Traveler to the mainstream and earned them a 6x platinum status selling over 6 million copies. Around the same time (1993 to be exact) Big Head Todd and the Monsters released their platinum selling album Sister Sweetly recorded at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios and produced by The Resolution’s original drummer David Z. Once Sister Sweetly hit the airwaves, it proved what most in Colorado had known for a while; that BHTM was a band that needed to be seen AND heard outside of the “mountain states”. Ironically, BHTM had ties here in the Indianapolis area and had made the music scene locally before they broke into the mainstream in ’94.
First up was Big Head Todd and the Monsters featuring Todd Park Mohr (lead vocals, guitar), Brian Nevin (drums), Rob Squires (bass) and newest member Jeremy Lawton (backing vocals, keys, & guitar). The band gave a very energetic 75 minute set that featured some of their biggest hits including “Sister Sweetly“, “Circle“, “Beautiful” and “It’s Alright” while also dropping in some great covers including the 70’s classic “Brandy” by Looking Glass and ending their set with the Ramones classic “I Wanna Be Sedated“. *See above photo for full set list. It was a special treat to hear lead vocalist Todd Mohr talk about Indy and the good times the band has had over the years at music venues in Indianapolis mentioning The Vogue Theatre (host of Rock the Ruins), The Patio (sadly long gone) and the oldest blues bar in the State, The Slippery Noodle Inn. If you ever get a chance to come to our city, The Vogue and The Slippery Noodle Inn should be on your list to visit!WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | YOUTUBE
Next up on this blues-rock power show was Blues Traveler featuring John Popper (lead vocals, harmonica), Chan Kinchla (guitar, backing vocals), Tad Kinchla (bass), Brendan Hill (drums) and Ben Wilson (keys, backing vocals). The set kicked off with Popper taking the stage solo and first addressing the crowd and apologizing for having lost his voice due to a vocal cord infection. He explained he was going to need some help tonight and asked if the crowd could help sing along to the tunes. Popper gave it his best try and noticeably left the stage more than once due to not feeling well and rest his vocals. His bandmates all took a turn at doing solos, along with Chan giving us a great cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance“. Eventually Todd Mohr and Jeremy Lawson from BHTM came out to assist on vocals. Later that evening, Popper posted on his socials apologizing for deciding to continue the show in his condition and thanking the crowd, Todd & Jeremy along with his bandmates for understanding and allowing the show to go on for the sold out crowd. Unfortunately, Blues Traveler had to cancel their final show in Alaska due to John’s throat not responding to the steroids they are treating him with. We sure do appreciate John wanting & trying to give us a great show! Luckily, the tour has now ended and we hope John is able to get some rest and heal his voice before the bands next adventure.WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | YOUTUBE
Blues Traveler has a new single out “Fool For You” written by Curtis Mayfield and popularized by Curtis’ band The Impressions and is the first single released off the Blues Traveler ‘s 15th studio album Traveler’s Soul expected to be released October 20th via Round Hill Records/Black Hill Records.
Show Date: 8/20/2023