Letz Zep -
Classic Rock. They simply just don’t make that kind of music anymore. Nowadays there are numerous bands around impersonating the old classic rock acts of a bygone era. Some are bad and some are good. Led Zeppelin tribute band Letz Zep from the UK falls in the category of absolutely amazing. Currently touring through Europe as part of their Songs Remain The Same tour they haven’t left Amsterdam out of their itinerary. “We love this place,” explains front man Billy Kulke. At the Melkweg venue they perform Led Zeppelin songs from up until the Song Remains The Same era.
When they walk on stage it is striking how much singer Billy resembles the real Robert Plant. When he starts to sing opening song ‘Rock and Roll’ it is also remarkable how much he sounds like him. And aided with wigs and the proper clothing the other three members look very much like the real deal. Even bass player Steve Turner plays keys like John Paul Jones did. Many people have stated that Letz Zep is the ultimate tribute band. A journalist in Spain for instance wrote that these guys are better than a reunion of the original band. I can add to this that their show is absolutely fabulous. Songs like ‘Black Dog’, ‘When The Levee Breaks’ and ‘No Quarter’ are performed in the way Led Zeppelin used to perform them live, including its improvisations. Speaking of which, ‘Dazed and Confused’ has that reputation of being performed over half and hour long. Tonight’s version was somehow illustrated by a spontaneous performance of a girl in the audience. She inadvertently crawled onto the stage and showed the audience…well, what nature has given to her. Anyway, this great gig of about two and a half hours including acoustic intermezzo is so realistic that they are definitely a must see tribute act.
Since they recently performed in Venezuela to an audience of 15.000, it is quite clear that things are going very well for these guys. Just before the gig I had a short conversation with these gentlemen. For something that started out as a hobby they sure are breaking a lot of ground. Billy: “From 2004 on, it became a serious matter, especially when Robert Plant himself saw and praised us. It was then that more and more offers came our way. We made an effort to make the show as authentic as possible, including clothing, wigs and musical instruments. We made it in fact so good that for instance nobody recognizes our guitar player Chris Cawte after the gig is finished. He walks up to people to shake hands and thanking the people for showing up. But they all go like: Who is that?”
This level of authenticity has taken them for instance overseas to this Venezuelan festival Billy: “That was partly organised by the governor of the state. He happened to be a big fan of Zeppelin and wanted the best tribute band to perform on his festival. And he happened to stumble upon us on the Internet.”
Makes you wonder if these guys from ol’ England would like to be out there with their own original material? “We all have been in bands before, this one is actually pretty successful. And there isn’t much ground to break anymore. Much has been done already,” explains drummer Simon Jeffrey,“And back in the old days the record companies gave you almost total freedom. Led Zeppelin could do what they basically wanted. The company knew they were going to sell shitloads of records anyway. Not something that happens today. It is more like Oh you didn’t sell enough of your first record? Next band please. We are out there to keep the flame of classic rock alive. We found out that not just older rock fans come to our shows. But also people in their teens and twenties go out to see us. So we are quite sure that there will be always a demand for this kind of music.”