The ZZ Tops – The Boardwalk, Sheffield, Friday 23rd July, 2010
Now I can’t think of any better way of spending a Friday night than checking out a tribute to theTexan trio ZZ Top who actually come from Devon, believe it or not.
It’s such a crime that the amount of people hardly equal the duration of the band in years – suppose man had opted to see some of the acts on the tramlines – pity as those not in attendance missed out majorly. They come onto the stage via the introduction that the real thing use which is authentic for a start.
What makes them even more realist is the fact that these beards are totally attached and not some fake crap from the local fancy dress shop that many others in the past have been guilty of using – then there’s the costumes to consider also, not to mention all the right moves, attitude and coolness that the Rev. Billy F. Bigguns, Frank Weird and Dusty Thrills bless us with in Sheffield tonight.
They began with Eliminator’s ‘Got Me Under Pressure’ that got the attention immediately which was closely followed up by the 1973 classic coupling of ‘Waitin For The Bus’ & ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’ from ‘Tres Hombre’ which have me hooked as I get the impression that we were in for a barrage of smokin’ songs that you don’t often here on a regular basis.
Mr. Bigguns introduces the band early on and asks, “Are you with us?” and jokes by asking, “Is it the titanic survivers club out there tonight?” because of the low attendance and exclaimed that we’d still get the same 2 hour regardless if there were 10 or 10 thousand people in the audience and they proceed to take us further south with ‘My Head’s In Mississippi’ – now you can’t beat a naked cowgirl can you? – sadly she’s missing from the Boardwalk tonight.
So do they sound like the Houston Hombre – you betcha – with all the tricks of the Top intact. How awesome do those Axes look? It’s as though Mr. Thrill’s Bass has been lifted from the front of 1975’s ‘Fandango!’ album.
I’ll leave it for you to work out where Billy’s comes from. Talk about being real loud and authentic in every way possible, not to mention even having real deal footage on TV Screens at the side of Dusty & the Rev.
‘She’s Just Killing Me’ pipes out next – a gem from the Antenna album – nice to hear some of the later material mixed in with the older numbers such as the duetting ‘Tres Hombre’ ale screaming, ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’ – even Dusty has vocals like the real Dusty – there is simply no flaws in this band at all – everything is there. Of course for the masses there’s the 80’s radio and MTV classic ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ coming complete with the promo on the tv screens.
For me personally, it was a real dream to hear those hardly perfomed numbers and Chevrolet from 1972’s ‘Rio Grande Mud’ is definately one of them – going from the Elimator Car to that American beast is a swift move and very impressive to say the least. I just love that instrumental section in there.
The ZZ Tops even got a request to play ‘Rough Boy’ so they dropped it into the set even though they hadn’t played it in a good while, so Billy told me – you’d never have thought it though as they pull it off utterley perfect.
‘Has anyone got ‘Mescalero’?, Billy asked and it turned out it was just me – lol. They did a cracking rendition of ‘Butt Nekkid’ – now I wonder if anyone rushed out to buy a copy of the album after hearing it – or on Amazon? as peeps do all their buying online these days.
Are there any senoritas are there tonight? Billy exclaimed they may be struggled tonight but they made the most of what was in the venue to shout to – wailing it about 3 times Senoritas out there. The 1st set is rounded up with ‘Just Got Paid’ – another old school fave.
Set 2 starts with Thunderbird a song that a well-loved famous band that play the Boardwalk start their set with when Wilbur is in town – yep I am talking ‘Stronghreart’ before you ask. Other great songs included the excellent oldie ‘Francine’ that I recently found out was written prior to ZZ Tops’s formation and ’72 release.
A blastin’ bit if 12-Bar brilliance in El Loco’s ‘Party On The Patio’ from ’81 get us rockin’ in the Board’ and I am overjoyed when ‘Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings’ comes into play since it’s grossly underheard these days. It’s back to the more dancing around for ‘Tube Snake Boogie’ some cover bands thrown in their set these days.
The very well known ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ gets a help out on vocals by the audience during not to mention Oneof their friendly female fans being invited up on stage for some sexy moves that delight the crowd no end and then there’s the furry Axes to feast your eyes on as well – god are we being spoilt or what in here on a Friday night? We show our appreciation though by singing along to the chorus of the Eliminator hit.
Some lines of ‘I Thank You’ also get a singalong from the small congregation if I remember right as well. Now you know that good things have to nearly come to an end and there’s only one way to end a ZZ Top show and that’s with – yes, you’ve guessed it – that famous coupling of ‘La Grange & Tush’ that turns out to be a moving visual classic.
Halfway in Dusty and Billy decided they were thirsty and came into the crowd and got a beer behind bar much to the amusement of everyone in here tonight, them ambled back to the stage after a swifty swilldown to carry on with the remainder of the song and even including ‘BBQ’ in there as well with some funny dialogue of not wanting to go for a Chinese or an Indian after the show.
They instead decide on some good old texan tucker at their dancing friends place – not that that she knows about it yet – hahaha.These are probably the most enjoyable tribute band I have ever had the pleasure to see – just wish more people would have gone out their way to be there too– hope to see them back next year some time.
‘Til then, catch them where you can.
ZZ STOP – The Boardwalk, Saturday, February 28th, 2009
I guess this was bad luck having a tribute band on the same night when a very famous Heavy Metal band were playing a massive venue up the road or were people in Sheffield just not interested in another Texan Trio offering – hence the turnout being quiet.
They were meant to come on stage at 9.45 but it was 10pm instead – probably hoping that a fwe more peeps might have walked in by then. Anyway, when they came on stage I noticed a major error immediately – the guy who was being Billy Gibbons played Bass and the Dusty Hill character was on lead guitar which is completely wrong.
They started off with ‘Pincushion’ which was a cool choice as an opener and then fired up into ‘Tube Snake Boogie’ that I was pleased to hear – a fave from the ‘El Loco’ album. They got a decent enough response but they spoilt it in the first of the Elimator tracks which was ‘Got Me Under Pressure’ because it was sung too high, spoiling the dirty vibe of the song and nearly lost it in the drumbreak section.
They did look damn good though as you can see from the pictures – just wish we’d get a tribute in the UK that had real beards as opposed to band members wearing something that looked like it was bought from a fancy dress shop. As a real ZZ Top fan I was pleased they included the excellent more obscurer numbers like ‘I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide’; ‘Arrested For Driving While Blind’ and ‘She loves my automobile’ that got vote for sure.
Of course they also played more obvious numbers like ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago’; ‘Cheap Sunglasses’; ‘La Grange’; ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ (that they joked was a lesser known song); ‘Legs’ (that they comincally said was about feet) & ‘Rough Boy’ (that was introduced as a love song).
Elivis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was also included which genuine fans out there will know was covered by ZZ Top live and featured on Side 1 of the ‘Fandango!’ album – although it weren’t exactly as good with regard to the high vocal gymnastics that Billy G does – as they weren’t even touched.
Last song of the set was ‘Can’t Stop Rockin’ and they encored with ‘Tush’ which someone shouted out – although I think they intended to finish with something like that anyway – as opposed to what Neil & I wanted to hear – an old Tejas number called ‘Snappy Kakkie’ – haha. Beats me why they played an Eliminator medly of numbers already performed as they missed out loads of great songs that would have been more fulfilling for ZZ Top fans.
Overall they weren’t exactly the best tribute band in the world but they certainly werent the worst. They got better as the set went along to be honest.
By Glenn Milligan
Zodiac Mindwarp/Tigertailz/Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rock Stars -
The Corporation, Sheffield, 13th December 2003
Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rock Stars are no strangers to the UK and Sheffield stages and that's just in the last year (if they aren't playing The Corporation they are at The Classic Rock Bar) so far, they've completed two headline tours and three support tours (this being the third). Robin's energy is limitless - his band likewise who it seems can upstage an original glam act who have a long history (take the tour with Danger Danger).
With all his cockiness and arrogance on the stage, Robin Black is one of the best frontmen I have ever seen and treats this night at The Corporation like they are the headliners crankin' out a set made up of 'Planet:Fame' tracks that included favourites like 'Some of you boys (and most of you girls)'; 'So sick of you'; 'Plastic Fantastic' and 'TV Trash' - they are an extremely hard act to follow - it's like watchin' a Millenium equivalent of Motley Crue (and come from Canada of all places).
Next up are old school glamsters 'Tigertailz' and it appears that following the Canadians is a pure death-wish. Original vocalist Steevi Jaimz is tired and the voice is shot (he was miles better when I saw him on his support slot to the LA Guns in 2002 at Rock City, Nottingham) and many of the songs don't have the appeal like what Robin Black's bunch do to this Sheffield crowd unfortunately - but then again they never get played in Sheffield anyway much to my personal annoyance. Yes there was life before 'Love Bomb Baby' (that is shouted for but not played because it requires big backing harmonies, effects and it was sung by Kim Hooker (their 2nd vocalist)) and the front few rows loved the oldies such as 'Shoot to Kill' and 'Livin' without you' plus two or three newies as well.
And then it was time for the headliners, 'Zodiac Mindwarp and Love Reaction' - boy times have changed as frontman Mark Manning sporting shoulder length greasy hair 'n' stubble. Gone as well was the immaculate all-black biker cowboy look that the 3 original band members wore in the bands heyday!!! Ironically enough though, the bassist looked 100% the part!?! The material that boomed out the PA cannot be knocked though and it's pure 'Warp from the off - we got our 'Backseat Education' as well as being 'F*cked by Rock'. 'Prime Mover' was still as dirty as it ever was and guitarist even strut his stuff like old Angus coming out into the audience, wailing away on the six-string through-out. This was a thoroughly excellent set and highly enjoyable. Hopefully they'll be back again soon.
7.5/10 (Overall average for the 3 bands combined)
By Glenn Milligan