Tribute bands can vary wildly in terms of quality and entertainment-value so it’s normally something of a lottery when you go to see one. In the absence of the fantastic Dread Zeppelin touring I thought I’d give Whole Lotta Led a go instead to see what they could make of some of rock’s classic songs.
Arriving downstairs in Rock City mid-way through a number, the first thing I looked for was – stupidly perhaps, I admit – any physical resemblances between the musicians on stage and Led Zeppelin. The similarities were non-existent but the guys on stage could have been doppelgangers for four other celebs; lead singer = Roger Daltrey, drummer = a young Keith Moon (maybe these two should have been in a tribute band called The Whom instead), guitarist = Peter Stringfellow (sorry, harsh I know), and bassist = Chris Langham (comedian currently in a spot of bother with the old bill, sorry, even harsher).
The first full number that I heard was, ‘In My Time Of Dying’, a meandering 11 minute stroll through slide guitar land. Singing and musicianship was all of a very high standard and made a very good job of imitating the original song. The audience was generally in the mature age bracket, shall we say, and seemed to be enjoying the show with some dancing occurring around Zimmer frames.
Next up was the bluesy 7+ minute long, ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’, and soon afterwards the instrumental, ‘Moby Dick’, complete with obligatory 10-minute drum solo. These are all good songs but when the singer mentioned later that they were having to cut the set short due to Rock City’s timetable it made you wonder whether playing a few shorter, snappier numbers might have been more appropriate.
Having said that they did also play, ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ and ‘Custard Pie’, a couple of great songs for a live set. Inevitably ‘Stairway To Heaven’ was played towards the end with the guitarist using a nice double-necked Gibson before proceedings were topped off with ‘Whole Lotta Love’. It’s the first time that I’ve seen a Theremin being played on stage and to be honest I could barely stop myself laughing. I know Jimmy Page used one but that was 30 years ago and it just doesn’t look very rock n’ roll downstairs at Rock City in 2006. You have to admire the effort and attention to detail though.
Overall, Whole Lotta Led do a very good job of paying tribute to Led Zeppelin and particular mention must go to the drummer who was really ‘giving it some’ all night, despite not looking a day over 16.
Recommended for all fans of Led Zep or even if you’re open-minded and just want a good night out listening to four quality musicians playing some quality old songs.