ZZ Top at Myth, 8/6/13
|Photo by Tony Nelson|
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
You could blame it on age, the sound system or the overpriced Straw-Ber-Itas at the Myth Nightclub, but it felt like the grinding verve and soulful kick of ZZ Top was lacking last night. For a seemingly packed house that came in soaking from the rain, once they took the stage it certainly took a while for ZZ Top to really get going during the short, 80-minute run-through of nuggets from the band's impressive catalog of boogie-rock barn-burners. Missing a sense of urgency and aggressive spirit coupled with the audience's non-reaction during most of the performance hammered home the fact that after all, it indeed was a school night. Then eventually as the heat came on and the audience loosened up, the show was over.
However, you had to hand it to the boys from Texas for keeping the machine going for 40+ years and the show was not without it highlights and good cheer. For most of the set, guitarist Billy Gibbons, his seemingly identical bass player Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard performed astutely -- delivering hit after hit in their trademark style of riff-driven shuffling classic rock and essentially gave the packed Myth what they came for.
Flanked by two large video screens, the stage darkened as some odd drum and bass techno intro music allowed time for ZZ Top to come out as they ripped into "Got Me Under Pressure" from perhaps their most popular record, 1983's Eliminator which provided a glimpse at what was to come.
Wearing matching purple guitars and glimmering nudie suits with rose designs, Gibbons and Hill commanded the stage with their iconic beards. Diving deep with his slithering guitar licks and smoking voice Gibbons vocals sounded buried in the mix but was thoroughly accompanied by the audience. They sang along and slowly found their way grooving to Frank Beard's solid beat. Finding their own rhythm, Gibbons and Hill would hit their parts in a succinct display while moving together in unison.
|Photo by Tony Nelson|
"Once again we got wise and came all the way up to Minnesota, Ya know what I'm talking about!" Gibbons mouthed off to a round of applause.
With effortless guitar wailing solo after solo, Gibbons's chops were on full display during a couplet from one of the band's best, 1973's Tres Hombres, "Waitin' For the Bus" flowing right into "Jesus Left Chicago" just as it did on the classic LP.
"Give the drummer a little bit right about now!" Gibbons demanded as Beard pounded his drums, adorned with skulls bringing the set back into the '80s with the unmistakable beat to "Gimme All Your Lovin'." As ZZ Top is only a trio, unlike other classic rock outfits (ie: the Rolling Stones), it's admirable they stick to the straight lineup and don't augment the performance with multiple session players. But it was hard not to notice the missing production and synth elements in some of their biggest radio hits. All the while the crowd didn't seem to care as the crowd predictably started to really feel the music.