Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

February 27, 2010

Hell's Belles ~ We Salute You (EP)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: Hard Rock, Tribute
Label: self-released
Year: 2005
Home: Seattle

Members: Adrian Conner ~ lead guitar
Jamie Nova ~ vocals
Mandy Reed ~ bass/backing vocals
Lisa Brisbois ~ rhythm guitar/vocals
Melodie Zapata ~ drums

I bought this album after seeing in concert this tribute band of 5 girls doing their best AC/DC imitation. & when I say best imitation I mean it was so good I was willing to buy a CD of songs I already had done almost note-per-note perfect by imitators. & when I say note-per-note perfect I mean that I've played this EP, the only release by this creatively named outfit, back to back with the original. Tribute bands are funny. You don't listen to them for creativity, you listen to them for duplication skills of bands you can't see live otherwise. If they imitate well they're good. Interpretation can be a death sentence or a bad joke if it goes to far. When you have 5 girls imitating the husky-voiced blues music of an Australian band of nearly 40 years interpretation is hard to avoid. But, these girls do well. The lead singer wears a cap & shakes her fist like Brian Johnson, the lead guitarist dances across the stage with all the right moves with a schoolgirl's skirt while the rhythm section stays immobile in the background. It's a perfect gender bending reinterpretation that stays series & not falling into a joke. There is a slight difference in the singing, of course, but what's here is gruff & closer to Johnson's rasp than I've heard with any other band. The female vocal chords might just be the best for imitating AC/DC. This band has been officially recognized by AC/DC & deserves the accolades. What more can be said? The only funny thing about the group is the overly masculine nature of so much of AC/DC lyrical output. But, if you don't mind a girl singing 'Big Balls' or 'You Shook Me All Night Long' than be prepared to rock all night long. Though, I'll confess that I've always wanted to be in a tribute band. There's something alluring about playing fav songs & imitating a fav artist. I once saw an Adam Ant tribute band advertising on Craig's List for a singer - they even provided the costumes - but I'm way too tall & I'm not that big of a fan. Oh well, maybe the Talking Heads cover band might take me.

CONCERT REVIEW: Anna's Kaddyshack, Bellingham, Washington, date n/a. I saw these girls in a little club/restaurant/bar in a small town in northwest Washington that I frequently haunted for the local bands that played there ... which even included opening night of my 10th year high school reunion (Bellingham Raiders '96!). I'd only seen a poster of them but thought it would be an interesting night. It was far beyond my expectations & on a stage barely bigger than 2 baby grand pianos tore up the air. It's one of the few concerts I've left early - to go meet my parents, of course - & have regretted leaving. The merch table told me I was the first to buy their CD, as they'd luckily just announced it, to which I apologized for being the first & then leaving.

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews podcast: episode 1 "Classic Rock", August 2010, click here to listen)

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