ZZs come out tops at Warwick gig

ZZ Tops performing at the Warwick Cavern.
ZZ Tops performing at the Warwick Cavern.

The ZZ Tops, Warwick Cavern, Warwick, August 9.

MY First impressions on entering The Warwick Cavern for the first time were very positive.

The venue has a real rock and roll vibe, with its intimate basement setting and colourful wall designs of artists from all genres of music.

There were plenty of small tables spread around the room and a spacious semi-circular stage with an added nice touch - two electric guitars stuck to the ceiling above.

I was here to see the fabulous ZZ Top tribute band The ZZ Tops (or as they also bill themselves “that lil’ Ol’ band from Devon”). Exactly one week before, I had seen the band go down a storm headlining the Cambridge Rock Festival. The Cavern is obviously a much smaller turn out but they still rocked the room.

The band look like the real thing in every sense - Nik Ryan billing himself as Billy Bigguns is a dead ringer for Mr Gibbons: shades, distinctive head wear and beard all spot on; bassist Col Gray (also with superb beard) and drummer Matt Jones also play their characters perfectly.

Of course all of this is great, but what about the music? No worries there as sound wise, it could very easily be the Texas legends themselves as they swept magnificently through a set covering the early blues years and the MTV video assisted chart busters.

Vintage early ZZ Top classics included Francene, Party on the Patio, the saucy A Fool For Your Stockings and Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers, while later material included the famous trio from the huge selling Eliminator album Gimme All Your Lovin, Sharp Dressed Man and Legs.

The band showed their knowledge of the ZZ Top catalogue by asking for any requests - of which there were several. I was really impressed that they managed a spot on version of my request, one of my particular favourite but not that well know numbers, She’s Just Killing Me.

As well as being spot on in the musical sense, the band pull off all of the signature ZZ Top stage moves including the white fluffy spinning guitar and bass.

Two out and out pure gold classics, La Grange and Tush, ended a quality set in some style.

Andrew Lock