ZZ Top puts on a powerful show

Texas-based band kicks off their 2015 tour at the K-Rock Centre

ZZ Top at the K-Rock Centre.
ZZ Top at the K-Rock Centre.
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ZZ Top planted their rock roots in Kingston with a concert that was nothing short of vivacious.

The hard-rock band kicked off their 2015 spring and summer tour on Tuesday with an impressive set list comprised of their greatest hits at the K-Rock Centre.

Consisting of members Billy Gibbons on guitar and vocals, Dusty Hill on bass and vocals and drummer Frank Beard, the band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. They’ve produced 15 records since then.

They’re best known for their witty, comedic lyrics and blues-infused rock songs.

The venue was buzzing with an audience of around 600 people with a clear demographic of people in their 40s and up.

Opening for the band was Toronto-based band Flash Lightnin’, a rock-and-roll duo consisting of members Darren Glover and Darcy Yates.

They set the tone for the main act by warming up the audience with songs such as “Get Up” and “Dirty Penny”, which showcased their rugged vocals and long-winding electric guitar riffs over contrastingly smooth rock instrumentals.

They could’ve done a better job of utilizing the stage — more movement would’ve engaged the audience during moments of lost attention, which happened at the beginning of their set.

Even so, Flash Lightnin’ started off the night on a promising note.

A funny, yet gimmicky video presentation featuring a blonde cowgirl then introduced ZZ Top, who immediately started the set with “Got Me Under Pressure”.

The fast-paced tune started off rocky — the sound acoustics in the venue didn’t complement it well — but the band powered through and eventually warmed up to the stage during the song.

ZZ Top then moved into more mellow rock songs like “My Head’s In Mississippi” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, which were both greeted with cheers and excitement from the crowd.

As the set went on, ZZ Top got more involved in each song — Gibbons and Hill performed their signature leg-jerking dance along with most of the songs, which added to the spontaneity of the night.

What impressed me the most was the band’s ease playing heavy, complicated guitar solos that elevated their sound from hard-rock to blues in a few notes.

This was heard in perhaps their most popular song of the night, and my personal favourite, “Sharp Dressed Man”.

Although their vocals, especially Gibbons’, showcased an impressive range, they didn’t have to rely on those to please the audience — shown by crowd favourite “Legs”, with its intricate, sharp guitar solos and fun lyrics.

The band closed their set with “Tush”, another popular piece with a blues twist to it, accompanied by a dress change into extravagant crystal jackets.

Concert-goer Arizona Cranney thought that the show was successful.

“I thought it was really good, actually,” Cranney said. “They put on a great show and I think they did a good job.

“I liked their sparkly jackets — that was definitely a nice touch.”

The band could’ve interacted more with the audience to create a more personal atmosphere — they powered through the set list quickly without a lot of talk in between, but they were clearly having a good time performing.

Perhaps the best part of the concert was watching hundreds of people bond over ZZ Top’s familiar songs.

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