There's something fitting about Big Head Todd & the Monsters positioning themselves as a cover band. They've put out a dozen albums—half within the last decade—but haven't had a bona fide radio hit since 1998. (Given the regular rotation "Bittersweet" still seems to get on Cities 97—this isn't just my imagination is it?—Minnesotans might easily overlook this fact.) They are at once a household name and anonymous; they tour constantly, but it's a rare fan who knows all their songs. So don't be surprised if, to win the crowd during their gig this week at the State Fair, BHT&M perform a very solid rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden," a song featured on their recently released Rocksteady. And don't be surprised if it's not the best thing they play. Rocksteady is a diverse, impressive album—the styles range from reggae to blues to something indefinable but prominently involving a harmonica—and considering the polished stage presence they've developed over the last 20 years, the familiar should combine with the unknown to make for an engaging show.
Thu., Aug. 26, 7 p.m., 2010