Lez Zeppelin | 08.16.07

lezsmall After one song I was hooked. I knew the crowd was not going to be bored by some weak, imitator, wanna-be band – these girls were on a mission to pay homage to a rock and roll legend.

 

 

 

 

Lucas School House, St. Louis

 

"All Girl. All Zeppelin." That is the how the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Lez Zeppelin, describes themselves. Currently on tour to promote their self-titled CD, the girls made a pit stop in St. Louis at the Lucas School House. A quick word about the venue – wow. Never having been to the Lucas School House before, I was overly impressed with the swank furnishings and spiffy decor. And just to make the evening that much more terrific, the venue is smoke free.

When I found out about Lez Zeppelin coming to town, I chomped at the bit to review their live show. I mean, what's not to like? Rumored lesbians playing Led Zeppelin music – in my book that is a win-win situation. I say "rumored lesbians" seeing how the band members have never officially come out on record. But then again, does it really matter? I was there to comment on their live show and musical ability, not on their sexual orientation. And as far as the first two items are concerned, Lez Zeppelin scored high marks – very high marks.lez-zep-singer

From the moment lead singer, Sarah McLellan hit the stage, I knew we were in store for a very special night. Point in case – on the opening vocals of "Immigrant Song" McLellan proved she had the goods as she tore through the song with an impressive amount of energy and passion. It is not an easy song to sing, but McLellan gave it a kick in the ass with her impressive vocal range. After that one song I was hooked. I knew the crowd was not going to be bored by some weak, imitator, wanna-be band – these girls were on a mission to pay homage to a rock and roll legend.

Accompanying McLellan on stage were Steph Paynes on guitar, Lisa Brigantino laying down the rhythms on bass, and Helen Destroy kicking out the beats on drums. Where McLellan succeeded in her role as front woman, the three other member of the band gave her a run for her money as they all nailed down their roles with equal amounts of talent and energy.

It didn't matter if they were playing the more hard rocking tracks like, "What Is and What Should Never Be," or if the band ventured into Led Zeppelin's more blues infused song like "Since I Been Loving You," it was evident these ladies came prepared to rock.

To say Paynes was impressive guitarist would be an understatement. Not only did she walk the fine line of re-creating Page's legendary riffs without putting her own stink on it, but Payne also gave each song a vulnerable overtone which most male guitar players are unable to achieve. The permanent smile pasted across her face gave me the impression that not only did she enjoy playing Led Zeppelin's repertoire, but she also enjoyed performing with the other girls.

Paynes' sentiments were echoed by Brigantino as the bass player's sunny demeanor gave the performance a healthy dose of charm and charisma. Finally, Destroy's brilliant drumming may have impressed me the most. John Bonham was known for his heavy foot and Destroy's foot was just as heavy if not heavier. It is rare for me to take notice of the drummer, but Destory's name says it all  – she destroyed the crowd with her intense pounding and abundant energy.

And then there is McLellan – her sensuality and stage presence was off the chart. She seals the deal by giving each song an overabundance of sex appeal. It was hard for me to take my eyes off the talented singer as she swooned and crooned her way into the crowd's heart. It appeared to me that both the men and the women in the crowd were taken aback by the singer. Not only did she impress the crowd with her stunning vocals, she worked them into a sexual frenzy. Even when the band performed an original instrumental song, "Winter Sun" – which would normally make a crowd run for the bathroom or drink refills – the crowd ate up every note.

Normally, cover/tribute bands make me cringe, seeing how nothing is as good as the original. But in this instance, I will take Lez Zeppelin any day of the week. They were well prepared, genuine and passionate. Where most tribute bands get caught up in the glamour and glitz of living the life of their musical heroes, Lez Zeppelin got it right. They didn't camp it up or go overboard with silly stage antics. They came out, plugged in, and let the music do the talking.  Of all the bands I have reviewed, this performance will be permanently etched on my all-time list of most enjoyable concerts. | Jim Campbell

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