The Tin Roof
A rumor buzzed around town recently about an unusually named musical project from singer/songwriter Lindsay Holler. Booked under the moniker Killing Floor in a Sunday night slot, some folks assumed it might be a straight-ahead acoustic set with a special guest or two.
The lineup actually included guitarist Sadler Vaden (of Leslie), bassist Dwayne Mitchell (of White Boy Crazy), and drummer George Baerreis (of A Decent Animal). The collage on the gig flyer resembled the cover of Led Zeppelin II.
A crowd of locals crammed into the main room (including the three very young members of East Cooper rock trio The 3 Dudes) as Holler and her mates took the stage around 10 p.m. The gong-less Baerreis had his vintage, see-through blue Ludwig Vistalites set up like John Bonham's classic kit. Vaden sported his Gibson SG guitar; Mitchell stood stoically to the side with his five-string Fender.
With little dilly-dally and zero explanation, they launched into "Whole Lotta Love" at top volume. Holler grasped her mic stand and heartily belted out the opening line, "You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin'!" Her stance and rhythmic head-shaking actually resembled that of Ozzy Osbourne, circa the 1970's Beat Club clip of "Paranoid."
Vaden's echo-laden feedback and slide work and Baerreis' chiming cymbal fills led the way through the psychedelic break. Things were off to a strong start.
They stuck with Zep's earliest stuff, frequently drawing tunes from Led Zeppelin II. "What Is and What Should Never Be" demonstrated the quartet's handle on sonic textures and dynamics — from Holler's whisper-to-a-scream range to Vaden's collection of delectable guitar tones.
Holler hollered, "I should have quit you ... long time ago!" at the top of "The Lemon Song" (the final line in the final verse provided the band's name for the evening). She didn't bother to switch the gender of the lyrics at all, adding an amusing confusion to lines like, "The way you squeeze my lemon, I'm gonna fall right outta bed" (what lemon?).
"Thank You" cooked as the rhythm section locked into a swingin' groove. Vaden donned a double-neck Dan Electro, playing the top 12-string neck with ease.
After closing the first set with a soulful rendition of "Bring It on Home," they returned to the stage for a second, opening with a delicate Holler/Vaden duo version of "That's the Way" before cranking it up with a kick-ass cover of "The Ocean," which elicited plenty of la-la-las from the crowd during the breakdown. "When the Levee Breaks," "Ramble On," and "Dazed and Confused" rocked hard, too, with Vaden's fiery hammer-ons and embellishments stealing a bit of the spotlight.
Hipster townie musicians doing Zep justice? Who knew they had it in 'em?