Zac Brown Band to play sold-out show at Toledo ZooWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
The Zac Brown Band will serve up Southern comfort in Toledo.
Fans will see some rugs, tables, lamps, maybe even a vintage Snoopy and Woodstock telephone onstage.
“It’s an idea that Zac came up with. He said, ‘You know, I really want the stage to look more like a living room.’ Everybody agreed, ‘Yeah, man, that would be perfect,’” said drummer Chris Fryar.
The Atlanta band will play at 7 p.m. July 6 at the Toledo Zoo. The show is sold-out.
“Have we ever played at a zoo? Well, I don’t know; there’s definitely been some bars that we played at that resembled a zoo, a lot of ape-like activity going on,” Fryar joked during a call from Minnesota on a day off from the tour. “I didn’t realize that was really a zoo. Cool!”
His excitement was genuine, like the simple, good-time, country-flavored music the band has become known for since releasing “The Foundation” in 2008.
Consider lyrics from the group’s first hit, “Chicken Fried”: “You know I like my chicken fried/ Cold beer on a Friday night/ A pair of jeans that fit just right/ And the radio up.” And then there’s “Toes”: “I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand/ Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand/ Life is good today.”
“We have so many different musical influences that we allow to seep in and color the music that we play … to say that we’re just a country band is really not a correct way to describe us because we do have such heavy reggae and rock and funk influences, and we just try to bring it all to the table,” Fryar said.
Fans and critics are eating it up. The group’s debut was certified double-platinum in April by the Recording Industry of America. And in January, the band received the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
“All of us in the band were expecting Keri Hilson to win. She had a spectacular year in ’09,” Fryar said. “To win it was quite a shock and quite a surprise to us. … And there’s the Dave Matthews Band sitting in the row in front of us and they’re turning around and looking at us and clapping. Bon Jovi was on the other end of the row from where we were sitting and they were looking down the row, and I just remember looking around going, whoa, this isn’t real; somebody’s about to wake me up.”
Fryar joined lead singer and guitarist Brown, fiddler Jimmy De Martini, bassist John Driskell Hopkins, and guitarist and keyboardist Coy Bowles in 2008.
“I showed up and sat down behind the drum kit; musically, it just went really well, like putting on a really comfortable pair of jeans or like your favorite T-shirt. I felt very at home musically and with everybody’s personalities, just immediately felt like I was part of a family. And that was just the audition, and then I got the gig,” Fryar said.
Multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook joined the group in 2009.
In May, the band released, “Pass the Jar,” a DVD and two-CD set recorded live in Atlanta.
“When we get through with the show, we’re all completely exhausted because we’ve given all that we had to give, and we do that whether we’re playing in front of five people or 20,000, it does not matter,” Fryar said.