P. D. Kelley
Just before 8 p.m. on Friday, December 8th, about fifteen or twenty fans (all male) gathered around the Rogue Theatre’s stage in what looked like high anticipation. Hmm, could it be that they knew they were about to view, up close and personal, four beautiful women in sexy but elegant costumes, who were also really really good musicians? If the answer is “yes” then it could only be Zepparella! Of course, this tribute band to Led Zeppelin has fans of all ages and both sexes and I use the word “tribute” with some caution. Clearly they love all things Zeppelin and do their best to honor one of the greatest and most innovative rock and roll groups of all time. But they are not trying to sound just like their icons. Zepparella has their own unique style and flavor. They do channel the energy and spirit of Led Zeppelin and it is thrilling. Drummer Clementine (could not find a last name anywhere) said she co-founded the band twelve years ago along with guitarist Gretchen Menn. Bassist Angeline Saris got on board along with vocalists Anna Kristina who left, replaced by Noelle Doughty, who left, and Kristina stepped in again. I suspect some drama there as I watched Kristina’s face when she chatted with me after the show, but she was very circumspect and just said she had always kept in touch with the band and was glad to be singing with them again. Fans are glad, as well, as her voice is versatile (she has sung everything from jazz to blues to country) and on point at all times. She appears strung like a high wire, with legs and arms vibrating, and is mesmerizing to watch. Clementine on drums is a force of nature. “Fierce” is the word I thought of as I was watching her. To say she “drums like a man” would do her a disservice but I’ll bet she’s heard that a time or two in her long career. I’m guessing John Bonham would have been impressed. Gretchen Menn was simply sterling on guitar as was Angeline Saris on bass. Menn told me that “I feel like I’m fifteen again every time I step on stage.” I felt like I was fifteen again listening to these marvelous women. I remember my father walking into my bedroom when I was playing LZ (vinyl on a bad stereo) and the horrified look on his face said, “Civilization as we know it has ended!” He also told me that The Beatles wouldn’t last.
What really made me happy was that, to a woman, they loved the energy of the audience and Kristina exclaimed, “I just love this room!” Don’t miss Zepparella if you can help it. They’re from the Bay area so a road trip might be in order.
Catch you on the flip side…