Hell’s Belles played at The Crystal Ballroom last Saturday night, April 14. Months prior to my attendance of the show I had heard rumors of an all-girl cover band specializing in AC/ DC tunes that kicked some major ass.
Cruising down the highway going to the show I was quite skeptical. Who had ever heard of an all-girl cover band headlining? Let alone girl rockers who kicked ass, besides Bikini Kill and the female master guitarists Poison Ivy from The Cramps and Ruyter Suys from Nashville Pussy. I assumed Hell’s Belles must be a group of burned out porn stars who, for their love of AC/DC, turned into rockers. In my mind, the band had to consist of luscious vixens in order to have any type of success.
I arrived at the Crystal, stag. My old man and roommate were attending the D.I. and D.O.A. show at Pine Street, and I was quite jealous of them scoping out the crowd in the Ballroom. There was a mass of 30-somethings and young professionals, a red light for me, indicating I was in for one of those hardly mediocre alterna-hessian performances.
However, to a point, I enjoyed the Van Halen blasting through the ballroom speakers, watching the crowd get into a nostalgic frenzy. I have love deep in my heart for Van Halen, but when drunk mullets start doing the David Lee Roth “Jump!” maneuver, thinking they’re cool, the entertainment quickly subsides to your own personal feelings of shame and embarrassment because of your “Jump!” performance in the second grade talent show.
The opening girl bands were unmentionable, so I headed up to the balcony to grab a fresh breath of carbon monoxide and a whiskey sour. Rumor had it that the Belles were only going to be covering the Back In Black album. A legendary album, but not AC/DC’s best because it lacked the Bon factor, and I guess in a way that was why Back In Black was so successful.
I was in the middle of filling out my 18th submission form for the AC/DC concert ticket giveaway when I heard that old familiar sound of the tolling bells from the song “Hell’s Bells.”
And then there it was. Angus, or Amy rather, with her shaggy hair under a baseball cap adorned with horns, wearing a catholic school girl outfit. She was the female Angus Young, her playing couldn’t have been more perfect. If the vocals were even close, I knew right away I was in for a good time.
The vocals came, Brian was embodied by a beautiful African American woman whose voice had Billie Holiday tones, but Brian’s force. No other woman on the planet can sing AC/DC better.
She had all the facial expressions and hand motions down, it seemed, but they were very much her own.
She was smoking, drinking whiskey from the bottle and singing all at the same time, she even showed us her rack. You can’t get much cooler than that. Malcolm Young’s female version, Mandy, was incredible as well.
Mandy was short and kinda of mousy with the shaggy black hair. Hell’s Belles were the female equivalent of AC/DC, period. They are amazing. Their energy is incredible. I found myself thinking that the Hell’s Belles probably put on a better show than the now 50-something AC/DC.
I know it’s a profane thought, but the music took on a greater realm because women are singing and playing “Givin’ the Dog a Bone,” “Let Me Put My Love in to You” and “Big Balls” with the instrumental talent and the hard-core rock factor the original creators have, but creating a new context that is only a greater testament to the genius of the music.
They didn’t just stick to Back In Black, which was appreciated by the crowd and myself. The Hell’s Belles are the best damn cover band around and everyone should check them out. As for me, I still haven’t gotten my free AC/DC tickets, but I am sure by 8 p.m. today I’ll be on my way to the Rose Garden.