Quartet puts shiny new licks on Led
No Quarter's hard-driving secondhand songs strike a chord with all age groups
Hipster law has been laid down. There's a scene in the film 'Wayne's World' that takes place in a music shop. When Wayne Campbell sits down to try out a guitar, he starts to pluck some familiar notes, causing an employee to point out a sign that reads: 'No 'Stairway to Heaven.' '
'No 'Stairway'?' Wayne retorts. 'Denied!'
The lads in No Quarter stand ready to defy the law. As members of the foremost Led Zeppelin tribute band in the Northwest, they can and will play 'Stairway.'
'Yeah, there's times when we're very aware that we're playing that song,' says singer Terry Mriglot, who takes on the persona of Robert Plant. 'And there are people in the audience just waiting to hear one blown note.'
Considering that the real Led Zeppelin went down in flames 23 years ago after the death of drummer John Bonham, the size, age range and devotion of the crowds is somewhat surprising to Mriglot. (Thank you, classic rock radio.)
'My parents went to see Zeppelin,' Mriglot says. 'And it looks like parents are taking their kids to see us. At our all-ages shows, there'll be 13-year-old kids singing along with every song.'
Currently, the Seattle-based No Quarter is performing a set based on the Zeppelin concert film 'The Song Remains the Same.' Mriglot, 35, notes that the film hardly captures the band at its live peak.
'This (1973) was around the high point of their partying days,' he says. 'Plus they were a band that had clearly done shows night after night after night. They were showing some wear.' He adds that fans at shows have given them bootleg Zeppelin tapes in order to enhance the band's repertoire. 'We try to capture the sound of the songs in the studio,' Mriglot says. 'If we do any improvising, it's along the lines the band established in their live shows.'
Ultimately, the true test is whether or not people keep coming back to the shows, and Mriglot insists that hasn't been a problem. 'The feedback we get is like 100-to-1 positive,' he says. 'We've had a lot of people who remember the concerts and tell us that we out-Zeppelin Zeppelin.'
Strike up the lighters and let down the mullets! Hopefully they won't be at close quarters.
Twilight is the right time to turn up the Lanterna.
Like the photographs that adorn the back of the album, the music suggests desolation coupled with a boundless sense of wonderment, a serious effort to capture a time and place through mood, sound and memory. Song titles such as 'West Side Highway,' 'Fields' and '1975' read like terse notes scribbled on the backs of photos in a dusty scrapbook, and one person's effort to remember what it was about those particular moments that captured his imagination.
The person in this case is composer-instrumentalist Henry Frayne, the prime mover in Lanterna. Frayne, from Champaign, Ill., layers on the guitars and the echo effects, striking a shimmering balance between ambient music and rambling psychedelia. Throughout, songs such as 'Winds' and the title track remain unassuming yet full of interesting possibilities. Chew on the idea of Yo La Tengo providing the soundtrack to a film version of William Least Heat-Moon's 'Blue Highways,' and you'll be on the right track.
Lanterna plays at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Jackpot Records, 203 S.W. Ninth Ave., 503-222-0990, free; 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Blackbird, 3728 N.E. Sandy Blvd., 503-282-9949, $6