Tres mal hombres strode into the Capital Centre Saturday night as Z.Z. Top, the archetypal Texas power-metal trio, made its annual cook's tour of the capital. What it offered--in fact what it has served up for 13 years--was gut-basic blues-and-boogie cranked up to the nth degree. This relentlessly hot and nasty chili rock was heated up by the canyon-deep grooves of drummer Frank Beard and bassist Dusty Hill and driven home by Billy Gibbons' buzz-saw guitar. Gibbons and Hill chuckled and declaimed the lyrics with demented glee.

It was raunch 'n' roll seasoned--and saved from redundancy--by the group's on-stage appearance (the bearded Hill and Gibbons sporting a distinctive Sleepy Hollow look) and by the good-natured playfulness and acerbic wit of songs like "TV Dinner," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Cheap Sunglasses" (worn and celebrated by a good many in the crowd of 15,000).

Although new songs like "Under Pressure" and "Gimme All Your Lovin' " came across strongly, it was the high-energy classics--"Waiting For A Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago," "Tube Snake Boogie," "La Grange" and "Tush"--that left the diehard-of-hearing cowpunch dizzy and as fried as if they'd been in the sun all day without a 10-gallon hat. Z.Z. Top staked out its territory years ago and it's been building a home on deranged riffs ever since. What fun.