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Getting the Led Out
October 17, 2010 - Jim Price
In the course of any year in my endeavor as a live music-o-holic, I see many good shows…a few great shows…and that one rare show that leaves my jaw on the floor or has me spellbound and staring off into space afterward.
Last night (Saturday, Oct. 16) in Gallitzin was that rare show instance.
The occasion was the inaugural Everybody Fest at the Oriental Ballroom, the subject of my previous blog earlier in the week. The performance that had me picking my lower jaw off the floor was a local music “all-star” Led Zeppelin tribute.
Some 14 different area musicians participated in this tribute. The cast included: Steve Oswalt, Everybody Fest organizer Ray Springsteel, and 15-year-old Aislynn Feathers on vocals; Jason Feathers (Aislynn’s father) on lead guitar; Jeremy Nelson on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Dwane Edmiston on acoustic guitar; Todd Holes and Dave Odelle on guitars; Kelly Montgomery on bass; Brett Fanelli on keys; Nate Woods and Randy Servello on dual drumkits; Shawn Gority on bagpipes and flute; and a cameo appearance by John Stevens on harmonica.
This group of musicians spent most of the past month rehearsing and preparing for this night, and it showed. Opening with “Communication Breakdown,” the musicians tackled a wide assortment of Led Zeppelin classics, including numerous deep cuts from the catalog. Among the songs performed were “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Four Sticks” (which sounded incredible with two drum sets working in tandem), “Lemon Song,” “Immigrant Song” and “What Is and What Should Never Be.”
There were numerous highlights along the way. Jason Feathers took a bow to his guitar strings during “Dazed and Confused.” Servello and Woods showcased their Bonzo-styled solo thunder skills on “Moby Dick.” Stevens chimed in with his harmonica during “Bring It On Home.” There were the absolute musicianship displays on “Kashmir,” “In The Light,” “Ten Years Gone” and “No Quarter.” (A few observers remarked that the real Led Zeppelin probably never sounded this good on a few of the songs, given the numerous overdubs that Jimmy Page gave the studio versions that the group couldn’t replicate on the live stage. These musicians, by their sheer numbers, could flesh out and approach replicating the Zeppelin studio versions.) And musicians donned acoustic instruments for a brief unplugged mini-set that included “Gallow’s Pole” and “Tangerine.”
And the singers provided dazzling highlights as well. Both Oswalt and Springsteel showed incredible vocal power and range throughout; approximating Robert Plant’s howl without aping it. And standing beside her father, young Aislynn Feathers dueted with Oswalt on “The Battle of Evermore,” and triggered unanimous cheers of approval from the crowd with her gutsy performance on “Stairway to Heaven.”
This Led Zeppelin tribute provided an adrenaline rush that had the onlookers buzzing about it for the rest of the night.
While I would be inclined to tell anybody who chose to bypass this show to violently kick themselves; I’ll instead suggest holding off on the self-inflicted violence, as several of these musicians indicated that they would like to do this tribute again sometime. So there may be a sequel to this special local Led Zeppelin tribute.
Although Everybody Fest continues on Sunday (Oct. 17) with a full band line-up, I think Sunday’s performers have their work cut out for them, as this Led Zeppelin tribute will prove to be a hard act to follow.
Providing dual drum thunder during the Led Zeppelin tribute, Randy Servello and Nate Woods.