Presence - A Tribute to the Music of Led Zeppelin
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Presence - A Tribute to the Music of Led Zeppelin

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Presence - A Tribute to the Music of Led Zeppelin @ The Elevens

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

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Clubland: Led it all hang out

By KEN MAIURI
Gazette Contributing Writer

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's possible that every American teenager since 1970 has gone through a Led Zeppelin phase. And that every Classic Rock radio station has a "Get the Led Out" show, broadcasting the British band's hallowed hard rock forevermore.

And lo, there came Presence, a local tribute to the music of Zep. Vocalist Tom Ingram, guitarist Seth Fleischmann, bassist John O'Boyle and drummer Chris Ryan make up the quartet, which will play a show at the Elevens in Northampton on Saturday at 10 p.m. But the guys put the emphasis on the tunes, not the tight trousers.

"I think it's important to acknowledge that we're not trying to look like the band," said O'Boyle. "So if anybody's expecting to see a guy with long blonde flowing locks singing ... sorry!"

Presence care more about the sound, so superfans and gear heads will be happy to hear that the band uses the same type of equipment that Zeppelin did: Ludwig drums, vintage Les Paul guitar, vintage Marshall Plexi amp, and a Jazz Bass.

The band has been together for just over one year and knows roughly two long sets of material, but amazingly has not learned anything from Zeppelin's legendary untitled fourth record, the one with the most inescapable classic rock staples on it.

"I have to be honest," said O'Boyle, "we're not into playing 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Rock and Roll' and we've gotten away with not playing them so far."

Presence is trying to get at the musical heart of what has made Led Zeppelin such a massively popular band, and the guys have learned a lot about the breadth of its members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and the late John Bonham. "There wasn't a style of music that they couldn't play," said O'Boyle. "They're also an amazing jam band. We've made it a point to dig up old bootlegs and learn actual live versions of songs with extended solos and segues."

Their studious approach has not gone unnoticed. "We had this one guy who was freaking out because Seth played the live version intro to 'Over The Hills and Far Away,'" said O'Boyle.

Presence doesn't have any keyboards in the mix yet, which means they've left songs like the epic "No Quarter" and the multi-generational prom anthem "All of My Love" out of their repertoire - so far, anyway. The band adds two or three new songs for each gig.

Some musicians put up their nose at the idea of a "cover band," but O'Boyle - who spent four years with Ryan as the rhythm section for a live karaoke band at the Elevens - enjoys playing other people's music.

"I love to dig into the bass part and really try to learn it note-for-note," he said. "It's all about learning and growing, and hopefully becoming a better player as a result."

Plus, in the case of Presence, O'Boyle added joyfully, "I get to play John Paul Jones riffs all night!"

"We enjoy the challenge of trying to pull off something like 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' or 'Ten Years Gone,' so that's very satisfying," the bassist said. "Not to mention we're all such good friends, we hang out outside of playing music, so that tends to make it easier when you're in the middle of a four-hour rehearsal."

Opening for Presence will be The Glimmer Twins, a Rolling Stones cover band. - Daily Hampshire Gazette


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Bio

Hailing from the Springfield and Northampton areas of Massachusetts, Presence is a "tribute to the music of Led Zeppelin" because they don't try to look like the members of the band, or recreate the visual experience of their concerts. Instead, the focus is on delivering a detailed and accurate representation of their music from all phases of their career.

Presence was formed in 2007, and consists of Tom Ingram (Vocals, Guitar, and Harmonica), Chris Ryan, (Drums), John O’Boyle (Bass) and Seth Fleischmann (Guitar); four seasoned musicians who had played with one another in various projects before. Each of them has very different musical influences, and a common passion for Led Zeppelin’s music

All performances feature period musical equipment and a constantly evolving set-list that is packed with well known hits and deep cuts. Presence is sure to please both die-hard and casual Led Zeppelin fans alike