Friday night, City Hall Newcastle was where the Zep Boys resided for one night only, celebrating the music of Led Zeppelin  with The Black Dog Orchestra centre stage.

Growing up, rock music was not something I tended to listen to through choice but rather because my brother used to play it. FULL BLAST! So much so it reverberated in my room. I learned to like it more when I graduated to visiting the Mayfair in Newcastle where rock would be in the Ballroom and rave would be in another room. Just a little fact: Led Zeppelin’s first ever live performance was at the Mayfair Ballroom in 1968. Fast forward a couple of decades and I thought it was about time to revisit live rock music.

Headed by Vince Contarino this was a very ear-piercing evening despite Mr. Contarino having to cancel a performance earlier in the week due to a throat infection (now rescheduled to Mon 15 April). So much so he joked about turning the evening into a Johnny Cash tribute as it would be much easier (so glad he was joking though).

The opening to the music ensemble was a teasing and atmospheric rendition of Kashmir (I LOVE this song) and Stairway to Heaven by the 35-piece Black Dog orchestra. They were truly wonderful, so much so I didn’t notice the rest of the band make their appearance on stage. Yes, the orchestra were really that good.

Despite the band being made up of just four, guitarist Tzan Niko, bassist Warwick Cheatle, drummer Bradley Polain (encapsulated behind a Perspex screen) and singer Vince each they were more than able at times to drown out the orchestra, but it was fabulous to see just how much the orchestra seemed to enjoy listening to the band whilst having some down time.

All band and lead orchestra members had their time to shine whilst the majority of the audience loved the drum solo by Polain which was a true art and thrashing of the drum kit for me it went on a little too long and I do hope I don’t have to witness a violin bow being used on a guitar again (that’s where the mention of piecing in para two derives from).  

The audience was a mix of old and new (mostly old and even older fogy’s like myself). On the aisle next to me there was a father and son (about 9 or 10) who was patiently talking photos for his dad who was so absorbed in the music. Nearer to the front there was some true headbanging swaying hair antics. It’s true to say that there was a lot of love in the room for the people on stage and it genuinely felt reciprocated.

All in all a good night.

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