THE Scarlet Letter

Updated: Oct 23

Marilyn Manson says that, “if you don’t wear sunglasses, it’s not rock and roll.”


Which while not factual, is sentimentally correct.


Protégées of Manson's style the band ZZ Top came to the area last week, spending a night at the jewel of Port Chester, New York.


THE Capitol Theater


The band’s song from their 1979 Degüello album beseeching listeners to make buying a pair of shades, your morning's priority!


More than 50-years after the band coalesced in Houston, Texas, ZZ Top remains one of the great messengers of the rock ‘n roll brand. The iconic beards, sexy lyrics and guitar-driven sound more than enough to entice the Lipton’s off the couch!


Opening with “Got Me Under Pressure” from their 1983 RIAA Diamond Certified album Eliminator, lead singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons exhorted the crowd to “leave your walkers and canes in the aisles, hold onto their chairs and dance all night!”


At-least that’s what my 24-year-old daughter claims to have heard.


THE Panda passing through Stamford long enough to snag a last-minute concert ticket and a meal inspired by the next stop in her digitally nomadic travels: Guadalajara, Mexico.



With the opening song and introductions complete, the band followed up with a cover of the 1968 Sam & Dave blues hymn I Thank You.


The tune giving Gibbons his first chance of the night to flex his trademark baritone growl.


Joining Gibbons on stage was bassist Elwood Francis, who replaced original bassist Dusty Hill after Hill's death in 2021, and drummer Frank Beard.


Ironically, Beard is the band's only member to eschew the trademark face foliage.


Despite the opening detour, the band spent the rest of the night with their hits from the 70’s and 80’s giving fans the opportunity to relive the era of roll-down windows and AM radios.


With little rest or conversation between their carols, Gibbons lead the band through a stockpile of songs including their signature Gimme All Your Lovin’ and Sharp Dressed Man.


The repertoire a foil, to expose Gibbons’ slick guitar skills. And the band’s preference for songs filled with sexual inuendo and the double entendre.


Oh Brothel Where Art Thou?


La Grange, the band’s 1973 hit from the Tres Hombres album is an ode to the Chicken Ranch. The Texas brothel so notorious it needed to be adapted to song, screen and stage.


La Grange giving Gibbons the opportunity to re-flex his baritone relaying the singer's view of the brothel’s selection, “They got a lot of nice girls.”


Legs and Tush are the band’s 1975 anthems to a woman’s southern hemisphere.


“She’s got legs, she knows how to use them” the songs opening lyrics allude to the song’s sexual nature. Tush takes a more direct tact. Evoking prayer to resolve their sexual frustrations.


By 1997 the risqué rock and rollers had become mainstream and were invited by the NFL to perform their odes to gams during halftime of that year’s Super Bowl.


The band uses more than just cheeky lyrics to drag their fans off the couch.


Using no more than the strings and skins of their chosen instruments the band filled the Capitol with notes uncluttered by the array of synthesizers and electric keyboards technology has made ubiquitous with the rock genre.


The simplicity allowing the spotlight to shine on Gibbons' ability to pick and slide an electric guitar.


Please, No Moore


Kelly-Moore still dominated my phone calls, emails and texts this week. The videos announcing the acquisition and the company’s new dealer only strategy for the northeast United States continuing to get conspicuous attention.


And while most who reached out asked similarly “what else do you know about Kelly-Moore?” a few wanted to know, “why would you leave a clip of yourself smoking weed in your video?”



It’s interesting to me that smoking weed continues to imply a stigma, even after it has become legal to possess and consume in my home state of Connecticut and 18-other states. Does legality not absolve the happy plant from its sins?


Or will that which was once illegal, always carry the mark of vice?