Hell’s Belles rock AC/DC covers
Vail CO, Colorado
RED CLIFF, Colorado ” Some parents are afraid to let their children listen to AD/DC, one of the hardest rocking bands of all time. And with songs like “Highway To Hell,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Big Balls” and “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be,” it’s no wonder.
That didn’t stop the five girls in Hell’s Belles (a play on another AC/DC song title). They make a living playing the songs kids love and parents love to hate. They’ll be rocking Mango’s in Red Cliff Saturday night as they return to Eagle Valley and remind us all that music has more to offer than banjos and mandolins. There’s still shredding guitar solos, mean bass lines and plenty of rock-and-roll attitude to go around.
Hell’s Bells, an all-female AC/DC tribute band, have become something of a staple in these parts. They’ve played in the valley at least once every year for the past five years and it’s all due to the fans, according to lead guitarist for the band, Adrian Conner, who plays the role of the shorts-and-tie wearing Angus Young.
“They come out and rock out and they just keep coming so we keep coming,” Conner said.
Gypsum resident Heather Potts is one of those fans. She saw the band play in Salida this summer during FIBArk, the town’s annual boating festival, and was impressed by their show.
“They’re really great. They have tons of energy. The guitar player is amazing,” Potts said.
‘You’re somebody else’
Conner originally joined the band (which is endorsed by AC/DC) as the rhythm guitarist, but after a couple of lineup changes she got the lead spot with only a month to learn all the blistering solos she now plays effortlessly. On any night of a Hell’s Belles show, Conner can be seen running all over the stage, jumping up and down, even laying down while pounding out face-melters on her ax. Her behavior is slightly odd, considering she wasn’t a huge AC/DC fan when she joined the band.
“I was kind of more of a Zeppelin fan,” Conner said.
Regardless, you’d never know it these days. She credits learning the AC/DC riffs for making her a better all around guitar player.
Now the dreadlocked, mini-skirt wearing rocker is part of an explosive stage show with her bandmates (lead vocalist Jamie Nova, drummer Melodie Zapata, bassist Mandy Reed and rhythm guitarist Lisa Brisbois) who have no problem living up to their Australian counterparts while performing. They may not have the facial hair or Adam’s apples, but they have the music and personas down.
“As soon as you set foot on the stage, you’re somebody else,” Conner said.
Although not an AC/DC fan in particular, Potts was amazed at how close Hell’s Belles sounded to the real thing.
“It’s pretty right on. The vocalist … she’s got the raspy, hoarse voice type of thing going on. The guitar player … she sounds almost just as good as whatever that guys name is (Angus Young),” Potts said. “They put on a great show. They’re great entertainers.”
‘It just works’
AC/DC has an impressive catalogue of songs to choose from, and each member of Hell’s Belles has their favorites they work into the lineup. Conner also said the girls are currently working on learning both the “Back in Black” and “Highway to Hell” albums in their entirety to play in concert. They also poll audiences to find out which songs their fans want to hear them play.
“It’s good music, it’s some of the best rock and roll ever written,” Conner said. “The lyrics are so clever and I think it works really good in a bar setting because it makes people want to drink and party. It just works, it’s good. We really love it and as long as the fans love what we’re doing and they keep coming back, then we’ll keep doing it.”
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or email@example.com.
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