Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath...

The Mermaid Lounge

October 29, 2004

The rock zombies came out for Halloween at The Mermaid Lounge Friday night.

Apparently, the Clear Channel fellows have been impressed by White Bitch's recent rave-up's. They turned him into White Bitch 2000, an even more sinister evolution of the company's radio consolidation. All radio songs will be fed through White Bitch 2000, who will perform them in his unthreatening and cold manner. White Bitch 2000 did his job well last night, focusing on today's R&B and hip-hop hits--Nelly, Ludacris, The Neptunes, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, etc. White Bitch 2000 delivered vocals and guitar lines flawlessly, as would be expected. He was accompanied by a 13 year-old spliff star, who was of much help and humor for Usher's "Yeah."

Next, Kraftwerk emerged from a fog in matching red button-down shirts and black ties. Three manned synthesizers and vocal programing, while one added beats via drum sticks and an electronic drum pad. The four Germans looked suspiciously like the boys from Chef Menteur, but I'm sure the guys wouldn't mind having their looks compared to the handsome robotic features of the pioneering electronic band. Kraftwerk's music was dance-able and comfortably detached. I waited for "Pocket Calculator," but the band focused on the songs from "Autobahn" and "The Man-Machine." The Mermaid began to fill during Kraftwerk, and by the way people were dancing, I think they enjoyed them.

The place just got more crowded for...get this--Black Sabbath! After their Ozzfest shows, the super-influential sludge rock band from England apparently got sex change operations together. I'm not judging. I'm all for band unity. Whatever you have to do to pull together, ya know? Ozzy went from the most feminine member of the group before the operation to the most masculine member of the band afterwards. You go, Ozzy! He was in top form, throwing himself around the stage and inciting the crowd. Ward, Butler, and Iommi were solid, and they played like I'd imagine The Hazard County girls would if they covered Sabbath. That's a compliment for the girls if I ever heard one. The set list consisted of favorites "Sweat Leaf," "Paranoid," and "Iron Man."

Then came the supernatural kicker. John Bonham appeared in zombie form, and the miracle extended to Page, Plant and Jones, who were all restored to their 1974 youth and glory. Unfortunately, during the Zeppelin set, Bonham announced to the crowd he was going to choke on his own vomit again after the show. Very sad. I thought he had learned his lesson. So, since Bonham probably passed away again sometime this morning, last night's performance was a once in a lifetime show for our generation. Zeppelin were in top-form. Plant exuded more energy than I saw on their recently released live DVD, and the band as a whole was heavier than I've heard them. It was great. Super-rock! Page climbed atop the bar for a solo that he conquered like he was brushing it off his shoulder. Validation of their legend continued as Bonham took a solo that sounded like classic...Bonham. The best compliment I can give Bonham is that he sounded like himself. Who's a better hard rock drummer than him?
The band ran through classics like "Good Times, Bad Times," "Heartbreaker," and "Immigrant Song." Plant let his star power and vocal range show on slower numbers such as "When the Levee Breaks" and "Since I've Been Loving You." The only local band that could have rocked as hard as Zeppelin did last night is The Bad Off. They're coming up.

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