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Led Zeppelin tribute band Zoso to bring ‘Whole Lotta Love’ to Columbus

The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience is scheduled to perform Sept. 8 at Newport Music Hall.

Led Zeppelin fans who were too young to see the band live or even older fans who just want to relive their glory days have an alternative to old recordings and movie footage. Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience plays shows in the likeness of the classic band and is scheduled to perform 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Newport Music Hall.

Matt Jernigan, frontman of the band, said Zoso formed in Los Angeles in 1995, but not initially as a tribute band.

“At the time, we were trying to get another record deal out there and they weren’t signing our kind of band,” Jernigan said. “So this was a suggestion by our management company. We probably thought about it for three or four months before we undertook it, so we did and we got bigger and bigger, and here we are 17 years later.”

Since then, members of the band have developed a persona and reputation for portraying the original members of Led Zeppelin, with Jernigan as Robert Plant, guitarist John McDaniel as Jimmy Page, bassist Adam Sandling as John Paul Jones and drummer Greg Thompson as John Bonham.

“The whole thing is to bring the experience, so we’ve gotten into this whole other realm of acting,” Jernigan said. “Putting somebody in the time and place and giving them that whole experience instead of just playing the music. It enhances the show visually, having someone see what it might have been like.”

Jernigan said Led Zeppelin’s musical diversity is something that makes it such an influential band.

“It’s such a diverse band,” Jernigan said. “You’ve got four band members but you have keys, you have acoustics, you have mandolin. If you think of styles of music, you’ve got rock, you’ve got heavy metal, you could say you have soul and renaissance. All these different styles of music, maybe even Celtic.”

Sandling agreed Led Zeppelin’s music represents several genres that hold something for everyone.

“They broke a lot of ground and set standards for every rock band that came after them,” Sandling said. “Led Zeppelin has a song that everybody would like. If they don’t like ‘The Immigrant Song,’ then they may like something like ‘Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.’ So it’s the diversity in their music, it reaches a lot of people.”

One can expect to hear music from Led Zeppelin’s prime years of 1971 through 1977 in Zoso’s set, Jernigan said. Sandling said the band bases the majority of its live performances off “The Song Remains The Same,” a concert film of Led Zeppelin’s 1973 U.S. tour.

Mentioning that Zoso has played at the Newport Music Hall and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion several times, Jernigan said it’s always a fun time when the band tours through Columbus.

“Columbus is a great, great city,” Jernigan said. “It’s just excellent and the people are excellent. It’s just a very supportive city.”

Raad Shubaily, who is a former reporter for The Lantern and works at Magnolia Thunderpussy, a record store located at 1155 N. High St., said Led Zeppelin records sell remarkably well.

“With certain bands like that, it’s just kind of like someone’s always going to end up buying it,” Shubaily said. “It’s called the classics because it is. Hopefully one day people don’t just stop listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, that’d be depressing.”

Jernigan said Led Zeppelin is a band that is difficult to dislike.

“Led Zeppelin, they’re just so embedded in the fabric of modern music, you just really can’t avoid it,” Jernigan said. “The greatest rock band ever. I think people more or less gravitate toward them.”

Tickets for the show cost $12 in advance or $15 at the door the day of the show.

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