Who is the mysterious Catherine T? According to Todd Mohr, founder of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, she is a fan who came up to him at a kissing booth for a charity and struck him with her amazing beauty. She has since supposedly inspired songs and even one album, having a huge influence on his career. Quite a kiss.
There’s a new album out now for the band, called “New World Arisin’.” Its release marks the 30th anniversary of the band, formed in 1986 with Mohr on guitar, Brian Nevin on drums, and Rob Squires on bass. All three contributed vocals. They were students at Columbine High School and eventually wound up together at the University of Colorado. They began playing clubs in that area and built up a reputation throughout the West, expanding to the entire country by the time they released their second album, “Midnight Radio.”
Big Head Todd and the Monsters are perhaps best known outside their fan base for “Blue Sky,” a song written at the request of those involved with Space Shuttle Discovery in 2005 for the “Return to Space” flight following the Columbia tragedy. It was also used by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2008 and played at the convention as she mounted the platform for her address that year.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters have not to date achieved huge success in rock or blues but they have done what few others have – built a solid career built on a dedicated fan base by playing some great music. They play the Tahoe North Shore’s Crystal Bay Club Sunday in the Crown Room. (8 p.m.; $22 in advance, $32 Sunday; devildogshows.com)
Rock meets orchestra tonight at Reno’s Grand Sierra as Evanescence celebrates the release of their fourth studio album, “Synthesis.” This show is “Synthesis Live” and features some new arrangements of Evanescence hits, for the first time played on stage with a full orchestra, bolstered by electronics, of course, along with the powerful vocals of Amy Lee. The album also contains some new songs along with instrumental transition music. Lee calls it all “like a big, dynamic soundtrack.” (9 p.m.; $30-$40; grandsierraresort.com)
Most casino showrooms are dark in this pre-Christmas season when potential audiences are more concerned with holiday activities than visits to the tables and machines. But Cache Creek has a nice flow of free music, commencing Saturday with the California Honeydrops, bringing Bay Area rhythm and blues to the club (8 p.m.; free with club card, $20 at the door without); and “Salsa Sunday” with Candela (1 p.m.; free for all). On Saturday and December 23 a flow of carolers will appear in the club, with “Encore at Christmas” from 3 to 6 p.m.
Time is running short to visit one of the Nevada Museum of Art’s most popular installations, “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, “a look at the history of the region’s incredibly popular alternative festival in the Black Rock Desert. The exhibition is of archives, artifacts, journals, sketches, and notebooks. After it closes on Jan. 7 it will travel to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. (160 West Liberty in downtown Reno; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, to 8 p.m. Thursdays; $10 adults, $8 students and seniors; $1 children 6-12, free children under 6; 775-329-3333)