July 30, 2014
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Michael Insuaste
Photos by Michael Insuaste
Zepparella Gets The Lead Out
The California beauties, Zepparella, rolled into town making their Dallas, Texas debut appearance at the world famous Deep Ellum venue, Trees. On this evening, Zepparella would be performing to an established fan base of Led Zeppelin enthusiasts. Paying tribute to the worlds greatest rock and roll band is not an easy task and with the added twist of an all female cast, Zepparella came to play and conquer!
The anticipation was finally realized as the curtain was drawn and the show began with the Zep classic, "Kashmir" from Physical Graffiti. With the bright stage lights, the band full of gusto and dressed in pure white, all four members of Zepparella presented a strong charisma that was consumed by the audience at first glance. As they kicked into the "Lemon Song," also known as "Killing Floor," a bluesy little number about love gone wrong, the band was slowly getting into their groove with great audience response. The love was strong and obvious!
Fronting the band on vocals was Noelle Dought. With her tight but loose physique and her smooth Robert Plant moves, she took hold of the crowd instantly. A powerhouse vocalist with pizzazz and charm, Noelle comfortably strutted her stuff with ease and confidence. On bass, Angeline Saris, with her silky and lusty appeal, quickly proved she had not only the style, but the bass riffs that give many Zeppelin tracks the moxy behind the groove. Percussionist and slight madwoman, Clementine, with her long blonde hair down all over her face at times resembled 'Cousin It' from the sixties Addam's Family TV series. She literally banged the drums with such force, she shook the kit off it's stands. Guitar virtuoso, Gretchen Menn or as some have called her, the Redheaded Jimmy Page, filled in the main impetus of the group with a persona no less than brilliant and carried Zepparella to many highs throughout the night.
With such a large selection of Zep songs to choose from, hand picking tunes from the LZ archives to play in a 70 minute set is not an easy task. "Immigrant Song" was one of the strongest numbers of the evening. So was a bitchin' rendition of "Dazed And Confused" that featured Ms. Menn and her violin bow extravaganza that blew the fans away. It was truly magical. Watching her emulate the great Jimmy Page was worth the price of admission alone. Just when you thought things couldn't any get better, the band whips into "In My Time Of Dying," a classic blues number played by many in the past, but none on the scale of Led Zeppelin. A show stopper indeed as Gretchen Menn and her Dan Electro provided a very placid slide guitar that had the crowd screaming for more. Fantastically done!
There are many Zep tribute and cover bands on a local and national level who play on a regular basis. Some are truly awesome with typical Zep flare and appearance, and then there are some who just love playing timeless classic rock. The difference Zepparella brings to the stage, besides the obvious of them being all female and eye-candy to boot, is their honest and very fresh appeal that many other Zep tribute bands cannot achieve. This is hard to understand without being at their live concert event and experiencing the feeling first hand. Zepparella reaches those heights!
Winding down their set, Zepparella closed with a few highly recognized songs like "The Ocean" and one of Zeppelin's earliest hit songs, "Whole Lotta Love." Honestly, I cannot say that they performed the songs to the exact measure of the original band, but then again, Zeppelin was known to add changes and a raw feel in all their live performances as well. To see these four talented women on stage and pouring out their interpretation of a band so widely known and doing it with such class, you have to applaud the music they played on this night.
For their encore, and a nice end to the evening, the band finished up with another familiar classic, "Ramble On." As a fan of Led Zeppelin that goes all the way back to my childhood years of the early 1970's, I will admit, I am a bit biased when it comes to Zep's music. After seeing Zepparella pay tribute to what I consider the one true rock band that has lived beyond the test of time, Led Zeppelin, I now have great appreciation for all their hard work and for keeping Led Zep alive in 2014. You girls ROCK!