In order to be a truly artistically successful tribute band, you’ve got to do more than simply memorize the parts, put on the appropriate wig, and play pretend. No, to do it right, you have to dig deep down inside of the music, whatever that music is, to find out what makes it work, from whence the original magic flowed, and why it’s worth paying tribute to in the first place. This requires will, discipline, and a deep desire to do the music justice.
My research on Zepparella, via You Tube, leads me to believe that this all-female ensemble has approached its tribute to the music of the mighty Led Zeppelin in the proper spirit. Of course, it does not hurt that these ladies have some of the most killer chops imaginable. Guitarist Gretchen Menn has studied classical, jazz, progressive rock, and various permutations of all of these idioms, and it shows in her playing, which manages to capture the essence of Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, whose style was once described by Zeppelin singer Robert Plant as coming from somewhere “a little bit to the left of heaven.”
Drummer and Zepparella founder Clementine has made it her business to dig into the funk and Motown roots of Zep drummer John Bonham’s peerless style, quite wisely. Bassist Angeline Saris is a John Paul Jones acolyte, and her broad range of musical taste enables her to fill Jones’ shoes admirably. Finally, singer Noelle Doughty has both the pipes and the poetic presence that Plant personified in his Zeppelin glory days.
Zepparella has already earned a nationwide buzz for itself. Now, Buffalo audiences will have the opportunity to see and hear what the fuss is about. Zepparella plays the Forvm, Maple Entertainment Complex (4224 Maple Road) at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are priced $10 advance, $15 day-of-show, and can be found TheForvmBuffalo.com or TuneStub.com.