“Comin’ out of nowhere, drivin’ like rain; Stormbringer dance on the thunder again. Dark cloud gathering, breaking the day. No point running ‘Cause it’s coming your way”….oh wait – I apologize, that’s a Deep Purple song and not a Led Zeppelin number and yet with the pending assault of Hurricane Irene that’s coming this way I could think of no better manner to start off my narrative about the Lez Zeppelin show that was taking place this past Friday evening at Irving Plaza. The gig was to be my third chance to enjoy what the ladies of Zep would bring to the table and the first true venue performance. I first saw them at J&R Music World playing acoustically and then last month on a Circle Line Cruise boat ride. It was going to be fun to catch them delivering the goods on a familiar venue stage to my reporting eyes and ears but let’s face it, I already enjoyed what they were all about. The show was going to find a band called The Dead Exes opening up but with my arriving just a little after 8:20pm found me missing almost all of their set. The songs I did hear I enjoyed so I will be hoping to catch them at some other event. Here’s what you missed out on if you passed on the show.
The show was initially announced as a chance to participate in a mass wedding of same sex partners based on the Marriage Equality Act being passed back in June and since the band’s drummer Lisa Harrington-Squires was an ordained minister. However with the looming storm and well-publicized citywide transportation shutdown preceding it, far too many people bailed on the idea and the show itself. I agree that discretion is the better part of valor, but let’s face it, the storm was still a day away from us and there was nothing happening on Friday night. That being said the band hit the stage with the same amount of energy that I would have expected them to deliver and they sounded fantastic. Some have noted how singer Shannon Conley does not do a perfect rendition of Robert Plant, but I will direct those naysayers to official Zeppelin clips from back in the day and even Plant does not sound like Plant in most of them. Shannon exudes Rock and Roll sexuality with her tasteful Bluesy register and really comes across as the perfect vocal for the six-string power coming off of Steph Paynes axe. They would open the show with “We’re Gonna Groove” and follow it with a fan favorite “The Ocean” and of course were sounding fantastic. Newbie’s to the group would be interested in knowing that they have some vintage gear on the stage with them for extra authenticity.
Tonight I was also paying close attention to the rhythm section of Thomas and Squires because they are both spot on in their roles. Squires uses a drum setup that seemed to mirror Bonzo’s and she was doing some justice to his technique while Megan swapped bass for mandolin for keyboards for bass continually during the show. Whew, it was sometimes difficult to keep up with her but wow was she awesome. As a card carrying Traditional Rock fan there is very little Led Zeppelin music that I do not like, but I do have some absolute favorites in that mix and I was happy to find the girls bringing a lot of them to the table this evening. We found “No Quarter”, “When The Levee Breaks”, and “Kashmir” being delivered to perfection. A quick pseudo-sexual anecdote came from Conley as guitarist Paynes brought out the double neck guitar as she quipped to the crowd about “loving when Steph straps that on”. It was met with quite a few chuckles to say the least. This was the first time I would see Paynes use this guitar, and I guess that the acoustic and boat gigs did not require it being brought along with them. There was also some use of the bow during “The Song Remains The Same” which was pretty cool to see being done in the live sense. I never saw that done before so rather enjoyed it.
“Heartbreaker” was mixed in with “Since I’ve Been Loving You” but that would bring us to the end of the night even though “Whole Lotta Love” was listed on the set for this evening. I was not arguing of course because the band had been on for what seemed like two hours and that is a hell of a show for the money at the end of the day. After the show the band hung around at the merchandise table and that was nice to see happening because it appeared that everyone who wanted to stay and say hello to the band was able to do so. They had assortments of shirts, music and other paraphernalia up for purchase and the main dude of Dead Exes was hanging around at their table as well. Sadly the pending storm kept far too many people away from this show and since it was not yet upon us I didn’t see what the big fuss was all about. I say stay inside when the rain is actually here and not otherwise. Still I hope that no one suffers any injury or hardship when it finally gets to our neck of the woods because no one wants to see that happening. Those folks who locked up shop earlier than necessary really missed a fun time so I hope they manage to come out and see the girls the next show. I know that I am going to try and be there depending on my own hectic itinerary. My own next adventures would be Kamelot and Diamondhead at Gramercy Theatre and B.B. King’s respectively.
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Official Web Site: www.lezzeppelin.com
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