Monday, August 11, 2014

Led Zeppelin 2 @ the FIllmore, Silver Spring 8/9/2014

I went to see the extremely hard to google  Led Zeppelin cover band, Led Zeppelin 2( I got a free ticket, but I know some people paid around $20 for tickets).  I think it's pretty bad business sense these days to have a band name exactly the same as one of the albums  which has the same name as the band you're covering. A play on a popular/famous song would have been better, because the particular choice is really going to give you great results when you google Led Zeppelin 2 you'll get mostly items about their second album.  Anyways I met up with Mary and Jason, and Yave and Sara.  Unexpected but fun company!

I got there a little late, around 8:30 (show was to start at 8), and I immediately noticed that it was pretty crowded. Criminally crowded for a cover band, IMO.  The entire bottom of the Fillmore (about 600+ people I think? The tables added to the bottom floor were throwing me off) was pretty full, and there was a small balcony section open as well (but the majority of it was curtained off.  Not a bad turnout for faux Zeppelin.

Disclaimer: I'm not a huge Led Zeppelin fan, but I do like them.  I'm more of a Black Sabbath guy, so if there were subtleties about some of the solos or the like, they would mostly have been over my head.  I enjoy the songs, but I am a bigger fan of other bands.

W/ Violin Bow

I first noticed how they looked- pretty convincing. Bruce Lamont (of the band Yakuza, among others) as fake Robert Plant certainly looked the part with his poofy David Coverdale coif, skinny (what I swear were women's?) low cut tight jeans, open shirt, and Wonder Woman esque bracers.  His face looked like a cast member of Full House (Dave Coulier), as a friend pointed out, and then I could not unsee it.  Paul Kamp, impersonating Jimmy Page, had on black pants and an embroidered jacket (no shirt, classy) and his facial features were even very reminiscent of Page!  He played the Les Paul and then a double guitar (like Page had) and even did some solo with a violin bow on his guitar.   John Paul Jones was played by Matthew Longbons, who I had to look up a picture to remind me of what he looked like- he didn't seem like he stood out.  To round the band was a very X-Pac looking Ian Lee on drums as John Bonham. I can imagine (and certainly noticed) more than a few older rockers really getting into it and even remarking later that it was as if they were seeing Zep again (tho I'd argue not quite as good- but certainly authentic enough).  I never saw Zeppelin (Hey hey, what can I do?), so this felt pretty close.

A further away shot

The Fillmore's amazing system did the band great justice, but betrayed a few rough spots.  Overall, they were very competent, and it was eerie how great the Robert Plant impression that Bruce did was. The rest of the band was solid and I think John Fauxnam was actually a stronger player than Jimmy Fake.  John Phaux Jones kept things together when he pulled double duty as keyboard player (oh and mandolin too) in addition to bass.  The multi-colour lights seemed very fitting and really added to the ambiance of the show

Closer up of most of the band

The crowd was big but not very active. They were receptive in between songs, with a lot of applause and cheering, but during songs there was not much... mobility... (wait for the Summer Slaughter review, there's gonna be some wild stuff there) that I'm used to.  I think that was fine, just a different... older... scene. I did appreciate not being trampled under foot, but with the good times, bad times I still thought the crowd was mostly behaved. There were definitely some toasted people there, which was to be expected, but the wildest thing was the one crowd surfer on the last song.  He was pointed out as "cool" by Bruce Page, but I definitely heard him hit the ground with a sickening thud. I believe he stumbled around after that.

Groovy, man
They took a 12 minute break at 9:20 and then came out to "Dazed..."  Not a bad set length at all, if they did in fact go on at 8. The Fillmore's recording said that they were to be on 8-10, but they went to 10:36. A nice long set!  There was also some fellow in the front row wearing a goat costume for no apparent reason. Their Jimmy Page even had a (barely functional) theremin during "Dazed...!"

Setlist wise, it was pretty decent- I heard some of my favourites with some deep cuts, an other standards.  I don't think they played "Kashmir, " because I heard a group of drunk fellows chant for it after "...Levee." I think the acoustic songs, while sounding good, almost made it my time of dying as they kind of killed the momentum the overplayed "Stairway..." was atop.  But that feeling was rechristened for the love it or hate it "Moby Dick."  I think a drum solo that late in the set is a bit...trying... Hell, I think a drum solo ANYWHERE in the set is never going to being it on home.  It was nobody's fault but mine that I stood there and listened to it tho, as I could not remember how long that song actually was.  How many more times will I complain about drum solos? As long as they keep playing them.

W/ a guitar that's like... a double guitar

Anyways, they did a pretty decent rendition of one of my favourite Zep songs  ("Trampled..."), but they kind of did a 50/50 job with "Immigrant Song."  The music was great and even damn heavy, but Bruce Plant's voice was having a rough time on this song (actually I think this was the only one I noticed him struggling- every other song sounded really good).

Overall, a free show with some very competent players and friends made for a fun time out.  Some things were a bit rough, but there was a majority of good feelings about. I still think it was a shame that a number of these people probably haven't sought out more music and just stopped at Zep.  This fake band (tho by no means talentless) drew more than many shows I've seen at Empire/Jaxx!

next show: Summer Slaughter?

Led Zeppelin 2 (?8:30-10:36)
  • Heartbreaker 
  • What is and What Should Never be
  • Immigrant Song
  • Trampled Under Foot
  • Thank You
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • Going to California (Acoustic)
  • Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (Acoustic)
  • Dazed and Confused
  • No Quarter
  • Misty Mountain Hop
  • Moby Dick
  • Black Dog
  • Whole Lotta Love
  • When the Levee Breaks