by Tara Morgan
It’s no coincidence that ZZ rhymes with sleazy. The sharp-dressed Texas trio ZZ Top is famous for songs about leggy ladies and hazy ’80s music videos with big-haired bombshells in cherry red hotrods and matching lipstick. But that didn’t stop fans of all ages from making the trek out to Eagle River Pavilion for the band’s show Aug. 21.
Daughters and sons sat excitedly next to their dads in low-backed chairs and young families clustered together on blankets at the outdoor venue. There were also a fair number of grizzled, bearded dudes and leather-clad ladies who looked like they’d just slid off the back of a hog.
Atlanta, Ga., sleaze proteges Nashville Pussy kicked the evening off with a grating wail. Though guitarist Ruyter Suys and bassist Karen Cuda were shreddingly awesome, the audience wasn’t having it. The band’s loud-as-balls Southern-tinged metal produced more bewildered looks than protruding rock signs.
But ZZ Top brought the howling crowd to its feet with a film trailer introduction to its set (rated ZZ) before Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard sauntered out on stage. The trio played hits like “Goin’ Down to Mexico,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Sharp Dressed Man” alongside new tracks like “I Gotsta Get Paid” off their 2012 EP, Texicali.
During the sludgy blues track "Vincent Price Blues" off 1996’s Rhythmeen, the screen behind the stage boasted a curl of smoke that faded in and out over black-and-white shots of the band. A sliver of moon provided a picturesque backdrop as Gibbons rasped: "Time to get low down and bad with it right now.”
ZZ Top closed out its set by busting out the fluffy white guitars from the video for “Legs,” crooning “She's got legs / she knows how to use them.” And after a short break, the band launched into an encore sporting sparkly black jackets, with Gibbons and Hill rocking their signature in-step dance moves.
The boys wrapped up the evening with a rocking singalong rendition of “Tube Snake Boogie”—with the audience wailing “I gotta girl, she lives on the hill / She won’t do it, but her sister will”—followed by megahits “La Grange” and “Tush.”
Click here to see a photo slideshow of all the awesome facial hair that fans were sporting in honor of the famously bearded trio.