Music review: Zepparella rocks Humbrews with classic metal

Zapparella rocos Humbrews. KLH | Union

Zapparella rocks Humbrews. KLH | Union

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

HUMBREWS – Anyone who may still think that girls can’t rock like the boys should take that assumption and go bury it about eight miles down, cover it with dirt, stomp up and down on it, cover it with some branches, then burn the shovel and get a lobotomy.

Or, you could just go see Zepparella. Because they rock, and rocked Humbrews last Thursday night.

The four-woman Led Zeppelin tribute band offered powerhouse versions of multiple Zep classics, including “The Song Remains the Same,” “Heartbreaker,” Moby Dick,” “The Ocean” and “Whole Lotta Love.”

The rhythm section, consisting of drummer Clementine and Angeline Saris, were locked in and rock-solid the whole night, something obviously key to decent Zepterpretations. Clem’s Ludwig drum kit perfectly captured John Bonham’s signature chock-a-block sound, offering vital verisimilitude.

Guitarist Gretchen Menn channeled Jimmy Page’s muscular stylings with precision and color. Singer and power-waif Noelle Doughty doesn’t just look kind of like young Robert Plant, she sounds the part as well.

You gotta whole lotta love a band that aspires to replicate the oeuvre of one of musical history’s most accomplished metal groups, and actually pulls it off with no excuses.

Were they Led Zeppelin-grade? Well … look, who is? But on a technical level, they were better. I saw Zeppelin in ’73 in New Orleans, and they were so chemically modified they didn’t even know what town they were in. JohnPaul Jones was hitting all kinds of clinkers on his keyboard. But they were so raw. Bonzo did a massive drum solo, at one point pounding out awesomeness on his Ludwig Vistalite set with his hands. Try that sometime; it’s near impossible to reach the damn drums, much less make any sound (for mere mortals anyway).

Nitpicks would be that Zepparella didn’t do some classics one might consider essential – “The Immigrant Song,” “Black Dog” or “Rock and Roll.” (I guess it’s OK – one time I saw David Bowie in Detroit, and he didn’t do “Panic In Detroit!”) Also missing were Zep’s lighter, prettier fare like “Battle of Evermore” and “Going to California.”  Thankfully though, the ladies didn’t bother with the tedious warhorse bane-of-guitar-shops, “Stairway to Heaven.”

There are other all-woman Zep tribute bands you can see on YouTube, each with a different flavor. Lez Zeppelin seems the loosest and zestiest; I’d like to see them. Lady Zep seems pretty good, maybe a little less slick than Zepparella. They’re not to be confused with Lady Zeppelin, which at one time featured the insanely talented Lucrecia Lopez Sanz. Check out her sick versions of “Rock and Roll” with her current band, Nube 9.

So, was Zepparella cosmically mind-blowing? Not for me, though lots of people up front near the stage were clearly enjoying near-religious epiphanies.

What is was though, was solid, classic metal that by now is part of your DNA, songs that will always remain the same as long as the Zepparellas of the world keep rocking and rambling on.


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