SHERIDAN OPERA HOUSE: LEZ ZEPPELIN

This Sunday, four women playing heavy, blues-based rock and roll will rock the Opera House. To many rock fans, wading into Led Zeppelin’s well-loved catalogue is sacred territory. Lez Zeppelin, however, reigns over it like leather-clad goddesses.

Led Zeppelin is arguably one of the most influential rock bands in history. It is not often that superlatives can be tossed around with impunity, but this is one of those rare occasions.

The Led Zeppelin of both myth and fact were four English musicians with blues on the brain and rare, musical chemistry. They amplified the blues, snatched songs from the master’s palm and forged a new chain in the long link of musical innovations through the years. The band’s singer, Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham each soar above many of their peers in rock and roll and blues in the 1960s-70s, but the band was truly the vision of alchemist guitarist Jimmy Page. The collaboration of these four monsters produced music that dripped power and finesse, a rare combination when amps are turned up high. So what makes you think women can touch that electrified mansound?

The four women who call themselves Lez Zeppelin can. And they do. With authority. This Sunday, March 18, at the Sheridan Opera House, they will prove it to you. New York City-based guitarist Steph Paynes, whose passion for her idols coupled with her six-string virtuosity, has lead the coyly-named Lez Zeppelin into a rarified role in rock history ñ the tribute band that matters. The achievement is all the more remarkable for its successful foray of an all-female band into what is generally accepted as a boys-only blues-based hard rock domain. Paynes on Les Paul, clad in Page-y, mystical garb, is stunning in not only how she plays the Led Zep opus with precision, but how she makes it looks so easy and so loose, a hallmark of the original band.

Paynes has gathered various musicians around her through the years since Lez’s founding in the early part of this century. But the band that will thunder into the Sheridan Opera House this Sunday, March 18, is at the height of its powers. Musical chemistry and a critical, deep understanding of the music they play make for a show that will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Yes, they are that good.

Reserved seating and general admission standing tickets are available at Sheridan Opera House, or by calling 728-6363.

Until Sunday’s show, here’s something to prime you: http://www.lezzeppelin.com/video.

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