Bustle In Your Hedgerow, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC – 1/26
Marco Benevento and Joe Russo first played Led Zeppelin songs together as friends in middle school, and they’re not bored with them yet. The pair started forging their magical musical chemistry over basement jamming to Zeppelin all those years ago, and to this day, still honor their early musical heroes with side project Bustle In Your Hedgerow. In Bustle In Your Hedgerow, Benevento and Russo, along with their friends, guitarist Scott Metzger of Wolf! and bassist Dave Dreiwitz of Ween, perform instrumental takes on Zeppelin classics with explosiveness that rivals the originals.
That spirit of loose basement jamming is still strong with Bustle In Your Hedgerow and fueled their Thursday night show at Brooklyn Bowl. While the band managed to stay fairly honest to original arrangements, they also used some songs as vehicles for exploratory jamming. Doing justice to Led Zeppelin is no simple task, but the musicians in Bustle In Your Hedgerow are such talented improvisational masters that they undoubtedly left their stamp on each cover.
It would be impossible to reinterpret Led Zeppelin without a powerhouse drummer, and Joe Russo more than lived up to the challenge of filling John Bonham’s giant shoes. Whether it was his thrilling solo on “Moby Dick” or tight grooves in “The Lemon Song” and “Trampled Underfoot,” Russo’s playing was a constant highlight. Bassist Dave Dreiwitz rumbled along with Russo, and the locked in rhythm section gave the band that heavy bottom end that made Led Zeppelin the godfathers of hard rock and metal.
While Russo and Dreiwitz gave the material a familiar booming thump, Benevento and Metzger traded riffs and solos. “The Lemon Song” saw bandmates flashing huge grins as Scott Metzger’s searing blues soared above the reckless tempo set by Russo and Dreiwitz. Undoubtedly, Jimmy Page is as legendary and irreplaceable as lead guitarists get, but Metzger blew the crowd away with powerful riffs and precise shredding. While Metzger handled most of the lead solos, Benevento inventively covered vocal melodies. Robert Plant, perhaps more than any other rock singer, used his voice as a unique instrument, and Benevento channeled Plant’s howling vocals, wailing away on his Fender Rhodes during “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Dazed And Confused.” “Dazed And Confused” kicked off a three song encore and was the highlight of the night, with a scorching jam full of guitar fireworks over the relentlessly energetic rhythm section.
By now Bustle In Your Hedgerow have been performing live for nearly ten years, and even as the band packs venues like the Brooklyn Bowl on a week night, their shows still feature the infectious enthusiasm of friends casually jamming in a basement. They never lose sight of the fact that covering your musical heroes is supposed to be fun, and carefully toe the line between reinventing these songs and keeping things loose, familiar and fun.