Lez Leppelin and The Cutthroat Drifters at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver CO on 1/29/16

It was an extremely mixed crowd that came out to see the female Led Zeppelin tribute band Lez Leppelin. They performed the sound track of the 1973 movie “The Song Remain the Same” in its entirety. There were kids with their rocker parents, teenagers with their multi-color hair, and same sex couples in their Lez Leppelin T-Shirts. Let’s just say I wasn’t “The Old Guy at the Show” that night.

Lez Leppelin wearing Led Zeppelin

The group started in 2004 by guitarist Steph Paynes sparking the beginning of the current all female tribute bands Hells Belles (AC/DC), Iron Maidens (Iron Maiden), and Cheap Chick (Cheap Trick) to just name a few. Led Zeppelin was a super group that started Heavy Metal as we know it. It’s not easy to play. The music is a mix of unworldly guitar licks with incredible vocals driven by thunderous mythical drumming. Lez Zepelin recreated it admirably with passion.

A funny video with the band members re-enacting the beginning of the very seventies influenced film “The Song Remains the Same” started the show.

Lez Leppelin

After that finished, Steph Paynes came out wearing a Jimmy Page inspired Moon Outfit and vocalist Shannon Conley appeared wearing a very tight Robert Plant denim influenced ensemble. Sadly, bass player Megan Thomas and drummer Leesa Harrington Squyres didn’t participate in the John Paul Jones/John Bonham clothing tribute.

“Dazed and Confused” with Conley’s insane vocal range and Paynes’ master guitar playing was definitely a highlight. Squyres played the lengthy “Moby Dick” drum solo. She looked so intense during her drumming the crowd started to worry about her (she’s okay. Paramedics were not dispatched). Steph Paynes brought out a double neck guitar similar to the one Jimmy Page played in the movie that weighed more than her. After a few songs, she pleaded with the band for permission to put it down. Near the end of the evening the crowd starting yelling out requests that were not part of the movie missing the point of the show. But Conley charmingly declined and told them, “We will play the other songs another night.” One of the inebriated fans offered his Beaver Baseball Hat to the “All Girls All Zeppelin” group. It was accepted with gratitude and puzzlement making the song lyrics of “Dazed and Confused” come to life.

Lez Zeppelin after completing their performance
The Cutthroat Drifters

The Cutthroat Drifters, a local band lead by Nick “Black Beard” Kjolhede, warmed up the crowd. The singer came out with a white fur coat, sunglasses, and rings on every finger. (I am so glad I didn’t wear my similar accoutrements. We would have matched and that would be embarrassing.) The old school rock quartet played a high-energy set featuring the dancing styles of Kjolhede with moves somewhere between Axl Rose and Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega. They ended with a cover of Bad Company’s “All Right Now” getting the crowd ready for a night of Classic Rock.

See you at the next show.

Fruition, The California Honeydrops, and Gipsy Moon at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, CO on 1/22/2016

Scott Morill, the co-owner of Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom celebrated his birthday by having three spirited bands perform. The party sold out the 900 capacity venue. Audiences and the musicians appreciate Morill’s efforts to keep the historic building alive. It’s in the old Casino Cabaret located in 5 Points that dates back to the 1930’s. Everybody from Benny Goodman, James Brown, and BB King has played there. Jack Kerouac described it his book “On the Road.” It reopened as Cervantes’ in 2003. I am geeking out on the history because it was the first time I attended a show there.

Fruition

Fruition is a self described Folk-Rock American Soul Blues Band based out of Portland, OR.  The three singers Jay Cobb Anderson, Kellen Asebroek, and Mimi Naja took turns leading the band though a mixture of soulful originals and classic rock covers. Mimi Naja wore a backward baseball hat and a tank top that read “Don’t Worry Be Yonce.” (Thank goodness because I was worried. I was in 5 Points.) She played the mandolin with an impressive bluegrass style that was a perfect fit for their cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do.” Naja seemlessly switched to electric guitar on Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good.” Since they recently recorded an EP in Colorado, Fruition has many ties to the local music scene. Many of their musician friends joined them on stage throughout the night to celebrate. They ended their first set with the Colorado inspired, “Meet Me on the Mountain.” I left before the second set because it was one in the morning and I am old.

The California Honeydrops

Before Fruition took the stage, The California Honeydrops set the festive atmosphere. They describe their sound as Street Corner Soul, Roots, Delta Blues, Bay Area R&B, and New Orleans Style. (These bands like long descriptions.) Lech Wierzynski, who was born in Warsaw, Poland and raised by Polish political refugees, lead the Oakland, California Band through a fun set of sexually charged songs entitled “Like You Mean It,” “Pumpkin Pie,” and “Ride It Like a Pony.” Playing the trumpet and singing, Wierzynski was ecstatic because this was the largest Colorado Audience the band had played. Stepping out from the drum kit Johnny Bones dressed in a vintage Denver Nuggets Jersey switched to the washboard. This changed their sound to a New Orleans Style making it even more of a party. They will be opening up for Bonnie Rait in March.

Gipsy Moon

Gipsy Moon started the night’s celebration by playing their haunting gypsy style of folk music. They are a local band out of Nederland, CO. Andrew Conley’s cello playing made the four piece have a remarkably spacious tone.  He played standing up with only the help of a brace on his back. The last time I saw the band was when they opened for DeVotchka on Halloween dressed as the Addams Family. The band was out of costume this time, but singer Mackenzie Page did have on a witch inspired hat. Making everyday Halloween.

Photo by The Rock and Roll Princess

After Frution’s first set, it was announced a Soul Train Dance Line was about to start. Security parted the crowd with a open space to start the dance line. At that point, Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty young Thing) played over the PA.  Since the audience was either too young or too stoned to know what a Soul Train Dance Line was, they just closed up the space and danced … badly.  That’s when it was time for me to leave.

See you at the next show.

Luke Schmaltz, Straight Outta Luck, Munimula, The Wow! Signal, and Ooh La La Presents at 3 Kings Tavern 10th Anniversary Party in Denver, CO on 1-8-16


3 Kings Tavern celebrated their 10th Anniversary on Friday with free admission to tons of bands, an art show, and burlesque dancers. The South Broadway crowd was a mix of everyone. I noticed many beards, aggressive piercings (it looks like those hurt), face tattoos, and women with rainbow colored hair. I fit in perfectly.

The Wow! Signal and Rosie


The Wow! Signal (named after a mysterious narrow-band radio signal detected in 1977 for 72 seconds and disappeared) opened the show. Their set consisted of fun yelling songs. Things got interesting when the drummer took his shirt off to the delight of the ladies (okay some ladies who like a Kevin Smith Body Type). Their “Summer Song” that was re-titled “Winter Song” had a respectable hook. That’s when Rosie, their interpretive dancer, came out and frolicked in a t-shirt, high heels, and a g-string. The drummer carried her off after the last song as she yelled “God your sweaty!”

Munimula

Next Munimula (Aluminum spelled backward) a guitar and drum duo took the stage.  They were dressed like Mormon Missionaries that just got back from lumber-jack camp. They played Punk Jazz fusion between recorded dialogues. It was a really unique sound that I am probably not smart enough to appreciate.

Straight Outta Luck


Straight Outta Luck (a street punk quartet that formed in 2008) started their set by insisting an audience member join them on stage to blow out candles on a pizza with a pepperoni phallic design. The birthday boy didn’t seem thrilled. Ryan Jacobs, the bass playing singer, lead the band through infectious songs that got the crowd’s attention especially the mosh pit. I was enjoying their performance while hiding in a corner. I don’t like Mosh Pits (it’s a long story involving dental work).

Luke Schmaltz





Luke Schmaltz, lead singer of King Rat (a punk band that has been around for two decades), calmed the crowd down with a few acoustic songs. He states his main influence as the poet Shel Siverstein which is apparent with his song “It’s Fun to F*ck A F*ck Up” with the lyrics “Because nothing is more boring than perfection.” One of the mosh pit members failed to keep the moshing going to Schmaltz songs. Funny Acoustic Songs might be a great method to derail the next mosh pit formation.

Surlie Temple

Between bands Ooh La La Presents performed avant-garde stripe teases with troupe members Kitty Crimson, Cherry Pop Pop Poppins, and Surlie Temple. The highlight was Surlie Temple’s Undone Routine to Weezer ‘s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” in a sweater that unraveled. She has been performing it since 2009. The ladies only striped down to pasties. Keeping it classy Denver.

I left before the rest of the bands performed because Old Guy at the Show gets sleepy.

See you at the next show.