Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lez Zeppelin at John Varvatos

In 2004, Steph Paynes wanted to play Led Zeppelin music on her guitar. Before long, the New Yorker formed an all-female tribute act, Lez Zeppelin, to perform the work of the 1970s hard rocking British quartet. Lez Zeppelin played the club circuit and worked its way up to festivals. The band recorded a self titled album in 2007, which was produced by Eddie Kramer, who was the recording engineer on three Led Zeppelin albums, and was mastered by George Marino, who digitally remastered all of the original Led Zeppelin recordings with Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page. The Lez Zeppelin album featured six Led Zeppelin covers (one song from each of the first six albums) and two originals. Lez Zeppelin recorded a second album in 2010, Lez Zeppelin I, a replication of Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut; the band employed all of the same vintage equipment used by the original band in 1968, from the ’50s era Les Paul and Telecaster, to the Supro amp, 60’s era compressor, Hammond organ and Fuzzbender stomp box. Lez Zeppelin presently consists of Paynes on guitar, Shannon Conley on vocals, Megan Thomas on bass and Leesa Harrington-Squyres on drums.

Tribute bands provide a live experience of familiar music for nostalgia buffs. At John Varvatos tonight, the four women in Lez Zeppelin faithfully imitated many of the music licks, stage outfits and even mannerisms of the members of Led Zeppelin. Opening with “The Immigrant Song”, “Rock and Roll” and “Black Dog,” and moving through “The Song Remains the Same” and ending with “Dazed and Confused”, “Heartbreaker” and “Whole Lotta Love,” Lez Zeppelin diligently recreated a studious Led Zeppelin experience, down to the sound and the swagger. While interesting to watch, however, it was not Led Zeppelin, but a copy band playing 30-year-old classic rock songs. Lez Zeppelin’s performance was a curious novelty in that the members are female as opposed to the original all-male band. This could not generate in an audience the enthusiasm and expectation of hearing the original band nor a new band playing fresh music. Nevertheless, for a night out, Lez Zeppelin was very entertaining.

Visit Lez Zeppelin at