Tag Archives: Led Zeppelin

Gig Review – Dirty York

Very surprisingly I’ve been to two live musical events within a week.

Artist: Dirty York
Venue: Rainbow Hotel, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Date: Friday, 10 February, 2012
Who?: Melbourne’s premier Southern Rock perpetrators.
Crowd?: Typically thick around the waist, follicly challenged (but with considerably facial hair), raucous and appreciative, a complete lack of hipsters.
Best Bits: The riffs, the voice, the energy and good humour, and a clear passion for an underrepresented sound these days (i.e. LZ + BC), and that the band completely fit the bill (i.e. they nailed the skinny hipped, long and languid look).
Could be Better: in a bigger room (so the drummer could really bash out)
Dream Venue: Sunbury 1973
Dream Lineup: Motorhead, Billy Thorpe, Lynard Skynard.
Worth a Second Look?: Absolutely.
Give us a Look:

An L of a time

Finally we’ve crawled to the end of the letter L… and all those Lucksmiths albums. It’s been a long arduous journey. We started back on January 1. Forty or so reviews in 6½ months isn’t very impressive is it?  But that did span several countries.  It also spanned the usual diverse range of artists.  Looking at the resultant rankings, it would seem lighter indie pop won out, although soulfulness is as valued as always…

  1. Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  2. The Lucksmiths – “What Bird Is That?”
  3. The Lucksmiths – “Happy Secret”
  4. Bettye Lavette – “I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise”
  5. The Lucksmiths – “A Good Kind of Nervous”
  6. The Lucksmiths – “Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me
  7. The Lucksmiths – “The Green Bicycle Case”
  8. Bettye Lavette – “The Scene of the Crime”
  9. The La’s – “The La’s”
  10. Love Me – “Love Me”
  11. The Lemonheads – “Come on Feel the Lemonheads”
  12. LCD Soundsystem – “LCD Soundsystem”
  13. The Liquor Giants – “The Liquor Giants”
  14. Ray Lamontagne – “Till the Sun Turns Black”
  15. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin IV”

As has become tradition, here’s a “L” track that didn’t get a review, but is an old fave of mine:

466. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin IV”

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

It has taken four albums, but I’m finally hearing the Zep I expected. Here are the big riffs, the killer tracks that I’ve always associated with these big-haired, snake-hipped gentlemen.

It’s so very hard to argue with an album that opens with Black Dog with its near perfect call and response between lead guitar and vocals, and power-drumming to get anyone bashing the chopsticks on the table.

The fact that Rock & Roll follows immediately justifies the fact we own this album on both CD and LP.  The album understandably tapers off for a little from there on.

I was pleasantly surprised that the much overrated (and belittled) Stairway to Heaven doesn’t sound anywhere near as pompous in its natural setting.  In fact it seems relatively subdued (of course mentioning said song justifies one more cover clip – this time some girly indie-pop):

The album keeps it kicking along with the surprisingly funky Misty Mountain Hop, and then mellows out in the folky Going to California.

Having worked through our personal Zeppelin odyssey, I must declare this the pick of the bunch… and acknowledge Mr. Leonard Teale’s rightful ownership of the best Stairway rendition:

File under: The hep zep

464. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin III”

I like to believe that my reviews are highly scrupulous, and that I am not easily intimidated.

But, when one is 9 hours from home by plane, and one’s beloved warns from said home (via a blog comment no less) that you must give an album a “brilliant review”, one does feel a little compromised.

Of course, I think all my reviews border on brilliance, but not all albums I review do.

I can say I was surprised and intrigued in listening through this third Zep opus.  The band have revealed themselves to be much less rocky and much more exploratory than I first thought. While the album isn’t quite as hit heavy as the previous two, it is much more consistent in sound and quality.

The album has a killer opener in Immigrant Song, with a Robert Plant’s banshee howl one of the best welcome vocals ever:

The following Friends has some signature swirling guitar work, and Celebration Day sounds like the boys have been invited along to some party with Janis Joplin.

There is a welcome absence of much hobgoblin action on here (I’m not sure the vikings above count), but a welcome repeat of the blues tribute schtick with the excellent closer Hats Off to (Roy) Harper which frontporch blues of the highest order (with requisite tincan vocals).

I agree with her indoors that this is the best of the LZ albums thus far, and it is a grower too.

File under: Third time’s no harm

462. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin II”

Even I know enough Led Zep mythology to know that they considered themselves an ‘album band’, taking it to the extreme of refusing to release singles from their masterpieces.

Album cover Led_Zeppelin_II two Heartbreaker 2 CD reviewIt is a little surprising how patchy I’ve found the albums thus far, however. The long-players are just as reliant on a couple of standout tracks as the mere mortals I encounter here on a regular basis.

The biggies here are the opening Whole Lotta Love – built around a delightful, growling riff, and showcasing Plant’s best blues wailing; and the idiosyncratic Heartbreaker.

Those two tracks are enough to make me think a 1970s me would have been pretty chuffed when I insert this 8-track cartridge into the player in my Scooby-Doo styled van.  The band had certainly made a substantial leap in acumen and achievement since their debut.

They really start to push the psychedelic envelope with aural effects.  Unfortunately, they continue to wander further into the pompous and ponderous world of hobgoblins lyrically (Ramble On is the main offender here).  When they stick to the bluesier domain they are on much sturdier and less embarrassing turf.

Of course, they could also try some jazz showtune styling:

File under: Beware the hobbit references

460. Led Zeppelin – “Led Zeppelin”

I somehow missed out on a Led Zep phase in my youth.

Nevertheless, the band has always had some presence, if nothing else because of the repeated cover versions of their ubiquitous Stairway to Heaven on ABC show The Money or the Gun.

It took my always-surprising life partner to bring the first four Zep long-players into my life (including a CD and LP version of one of the them!).

This debut isn’t one she’s played me much however.  It’s a bit of a strange beast.  It kicks as a pretty standard blues-rock outing, with probably only Robert Plant’s overwrought vocals the distinguishing characteristic.  Sure Jimmy Page’s riffs are nifty (especially on Dazed and Confused), but with my modern(-ish) ears they seem pretty clichéd and old-hat.

The lyrical content is rather crude and a little bit silly, although there are some refreshing moments when Plant gets a bit more spontaneous and scatty on the epic final track How Many More Times.

As the album progresses there is more hints of the extent to which this band would get louder, more adventurous and preposterous  on future releases. Dazed and Confused, Communication Breakdown and the aforementioned closer get a very nice groove going.

It’s all a little histrionic for my liking, but then a Doors cover band make it sound even more so (I’m gonna pester you with the Money or the Gun clips over the four reviews):

File under: Oh the Huge Manatee