Zoso, The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience lands in Taos

Zoso performs live in concert Saturday (Jan. 25), 8:30 p.m., at the KTAOS Solar Center

Yvonne Pesquera
Posted 1/24/14

Led Zeppelin stormed the world stage in 1968 and introduced the sound we know as “hard rock” today: Shredding guitar riffs, blunt tones of bass, thundering drum rolls, and powerful vocals.

The legendary band broke up in 1980, but its quartet …

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Zoso, The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience lands in Taos

Zoso performs live in concert Saturday (Jan. 25), 8:30 p.m., at the KTAOS Solar Center

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Led Zeppelin stormed the world stage in 1968 and introduced the sound we know as “hard rock” today: Shredding guitar riffs, blunt tones of bass, thundering drum rolls, and powerful vocals.

The legendary band broke up in 1980, but its quartet of rock giants: Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham became enshrined in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. A Rolling Stone interviewer asked Plant then about the band’s continuing popularity.

Plant had replied: “I don’t get any sense of great achievement that ‘people still like it.’ But I do get achievement out of the fact that the music is good.”

And thanks to touring bands like “Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience,” we continue hearing Zeppelin’s great music and feeling an explosive performance as well.

Zoso returns to the KTAOS Solar Center on Saturday (Jan. 25) at 8:30 p.m.

Zoso not just replicates the music of Led Zeppelin, its performers all simulate the Zeppelin look and showmanship style: Lead singer Matt Jernigan, guitarist John McDaniel, bassist Adam Sandling, and drummer Greg Thompson work hard to make this a show to remember.

This hardworking team has played 2,400 live shows around the world. “We really enjoy coming to Taos,” Jernigan said. “It is now a bright spot on tour for us. It’s a special kind of place; you can just feel it in the spirit when you arrive.”

The band first played here in June 2013. Considering that KTAOS does a phenomenal job of booking a wide range of musicians, it’s pretty unusual that the same band would perform twice within a seven-month timeframe. This second appearance speaks to the quality of Zoso’s concert performance.

Paddy Mac, KTAOS morning show DJ and programming director, saw the Zoso summer concert and says, “These guys are great. They look and sound the part. ‘Rain Song’ was a highlight. It was quite easy to lose yourself and kind of slip into 1975.”

When Led Zeppelin released its fourth album in 1971, each band member adopted a symbol for himself. Plant drew a feather in a circle; and Page (who had attended art school) illustrated what looks like the word “Zoso,” but is actually a symbol of private meaning to the virtuoso guitarist.

Plant and Page also wrote nerdy songs and made them sexy. In the middle of his bare-chested strutting, Plant crooned about Druid mythology (“Battle of Evermore”); the fantasy of Middle Earth in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” (“Ramble On” and “Misty Mountain Hop”); and Moroccan Berber folklore (“Kashmir”).

Adam Olenn, a musician and web content producer at Berklee College of Music in Boston, points out, “Mixing art modalities wasn’t new when Page and Plant tried it. Opera had been mixing music, literature, art, and dance since the 17th century, but it was new to rock and roll.”

Paddy Mac, who plays a lot of music, says he continues to hear Led Zeppelin’s influence.

“The ‘light-to-heavy’ style in much of their music can even find echoes in bands you might not expect. Mumford and Sons, for example ... dramatic, slow intros that evolve into full-on raves,” he explains. “I have no idea if the Mumfords, or other bands, will cop to that, but I sure hear it.”

When people ask why I am interested in “just a cover band” (after all, it’s not the real Led Zeppelin coming to KTAOS), I recall Nick Hornby’s rock novel “High Fidelity.” He had observed that so much of adulthood is about accommodating our responsibilities: Our careers, our kids, our spouse, and our standing in the community. What I find refreshing is that Led Zeppelin’s music is not accommodating, even when it’s played by a tribute band. The music’s impact hasn’t softened or yielded over time.

It is still wonderfully titillating when “Whole Lotta Love” comes on the radio — and Plant’s earnest, lovesick vocal dissolves into a sonic orgy of mock orgasms. This release is rock and roll.

Tickets are $15. The KTAOS Solar Center is located at 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. Call (575) 758-5826 or visit ktao.com.

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