Drummer Joe Russo and keyboardist Marco Benevento spent their middle school years playing Led Zeppelin covers in Russo’s parents’ basement, so it always seemed natural to throw a few Led Zep tunes into their set list when they played together as the Benevento/Russo Duo. Their Zeppelin cover band, Bustle In Your Hedgerow — like its sibling band, the better-known Grateful Dead tribute Almost Dead — was formed literally as a party band.
“We did a whole set of Zeppelin, which we’d never done before, for our friend’s birthday party,” recalls Russo. For that occasion, the duo was joined by guitarist Scott Metzger. When they decided to play those tunes on more public stages, Metzger called in Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz to join. Prompted by his work with the Dead’s Bob Weir and Phil Lesh in the band Furthur, Russo decided to tackle some Dead songs for another party joined by the Bustle line-up along with American Babies guitarist Tom Hamilton, forming Almost Dead.
“None of these were ever intended to be a thing, but they’ve taken on their own lives,” Russo continues. “We don’t put too much weight on either of these bands, so we have a couple weird cover bands that we never intended to be in but love.”
Bustle will return to Philly for the first time in roughly a decade this weekend to perform at Live From the Lot, Ardmore Music Hall’s first outdoor music festival. The day-long concert, headlined by New Orleans legend Dr. John, will take place right outside the venue’s back door in the nearby SEPTA lot. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Ardmore Initiative, a local non-profit supporting local business and community efforts.
Also on the bill are Pink Talking Fish, a band that pays simultaneous homage to Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish; and Hamilton’s American Babies, meaning that all the members of Almost Dead will be on hand. At 9 p.m. the fest will move inside for an after-party hosted by Benevento.
Playing instrumental versions of Zeppelin tunes comes naturally, Russo insists. “If you ask somebody to sing ‘Black Dog’, they’ll most likely sing the guitar riff. Zeppelin’s so based in huge guitar riffs and drums that not a lot of thought goes into it. It really just feels like being a teenager in your basement playing Zeppelin tunes with your buddies."
If you go
Live From the Lot
July 19, 1:30 p.m.
Ardmore Music Hall
23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore