Whitley Bay charity worker to fund-raise with ZZ Top tribute act

Simon Balsillie's band ZZ Plop will perform at The Cluny in Byker.
Simon Balsillie's band ZZ Plop will perform at The Cluny in Byker.

A North Tyneside homelessness worker is staging a ZZ Top tribute concert in Newcastle to help him raise funds for charity Depaul UK.

Simon Balsillie, who has worked for 10 years with young people affected by homelessness at Depaul House in Whitley Bay, has assembled his band ZZ Plop for a gig at The Cluny in Ouseburn Valley, Byker, Newcastle, on Saturday, September 9.

He hopes the profits from the performance will help him raise money for homelessness charity Depaul, which has helped hundreds of homeless young people in Tyneside over the past 20 years.

Simon, who has been a musician in several bands before he started working for Depaul, said: “The charity makes such a huge difference to the lives of young people in desperate need that I decided to take part in one of its fund-raising adventure journeys.

“Participants raise funds and make personal contributions to the charity in exchange for enjoying a visit to Costa Rica. This gig is part of my fund-raising campaign to bolster Depaul’s funds in this way.”

He has been a fan of ZZ Top, renowned for their long beards, since the American rock band first introduced their blues-inspired rock in the 1970s.

The gig will recreate their music from those early days till the height of their commercial success in the mid-1980s, when big hits for the Texan group included Gimme All Your Lovin’ and Sharp Dressed Man.

Simon does admit, however, that the act comes with its challenges.

He said: “I will have to shave off my actual beard so I can glue on a phoney ZZ Top beard made from real human hair.

“ZZ Top are an iconic band. It will be a great gig and we’re hoping to pack out The Cluny on the night.”

And the tribute band has a secret weapon they hope will help it last the distance.

“We have two toilets on stage,” added Simon, “maintained by our own on-stage toilet technician!”

Tickets for the event can be purchased from seetickets.com