As the four ladies that make up the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Zepparella made their way to the stage at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn, the vibe in the room seemed to change. Not only was there a certain sense of excitement, but also an expectation of what was to come.
The fact is, there are plenty of bands that cover the music of Led Zeppelin, but when a band bills itself as a tribute band, the stakes are higher. The band has to be tight and the songs must be true to the studio versions. Band members don’t have to resemble the original artists, but they better sound like them.
And that’s exactly what Zepparella is all about. Not only did they turn in some note-for-note renditions of some classic songs like Communication Breakdown, The Lemon Song and What Is and What Should Never Be, but they also delivered a bone chilling version of Dazed and Confused that featured Gretchen Menn slashing a violin bow across the strings of her guitar (check out her killer instrumental album, Hale Souls)
Another standout moment was during the drum solo in the song, Moby Dick. Drummer, Clementine nailed all the fills, played with her bare hands and even pulled off that little hollow pitch bend on the snare (I always wondered how John Bonham did that). Listen to some of Clementine’s solo work here.
There was also a cool guitar duel between Menn and the bass player, Angeline Saris midway through the song, Trampled Under Foot. They traded licks back and forth, and both guitarists showcased some impressive two-handed tapping during their solos.
As for the vocals, it’s not easy to mimic a young Robert Plant. Not even the Man himself can hit those high notes anymore. But despite the fact that he’s not an easy singer to copy, lead vocalist, Noelle Doughty was able to bring it on home. She may not sound exactly like Plant, but she’s a passionate singer that belts out the lyrics with fiery resonance.
The only low point of the night was with their opening number, The Rover. Although they played it well, and the song is an interesting selection, it’s not a crowd pleaser. Zepparella could have kickstarted the party early with any number of fan favorites: Good Times Bad Times, Rock and Roll or Black Dog just to name a few.
Some might call this nitpicking and they would be correct, especially since Zepparella were able to engage the audience and keep them entertained for the entire show. So if you like Led Zeppelin, then go see Zepparella. They’re not a gimmick, they’re the real deal, i.e. four talented musicians. In short, they rock!
To watch video, buy merch, or to catch Zepparella on tour, click here. All photos by Michelle Jesipaz.