Ultimate Interviews

Ultimate Interviews

Saturday, May 2, 2015

High Voltage Rock and Roll

The dilemma I find myself faced with after seeing 'Hell N Back' a few times now, is discovering new adjectives to describe them. Sure you could use 'great', 'amazing', 'incredible', 'fantastic'...the list goes on, but honestly, those words don't do them justice. In the short time that I've known the band, I can say with certainty that I have nothing but the utmost respect for each of them. They are not only exceptional musicians, but down-to-earth guys, with hearts of gold, great sense of humour and it is just an honour to be able to call them friends.

Individually they have their own strengths and skills, but collectively they create something electric that they exude while on stage. There's that certain chemistry that makes a band a band. No inflated egos here. They play superbly together and anyone attending their show can undoubtedly see that.

Last night was proof positive why 'Hell N Back' can proudly boast to be 'The Ultimate Canadian AC/DC Tribute'. Appearing in Bolton at Stewart Maguire's Landing, the men in no time had their stage set up and were ready to kick off the night.
Stewart Maguire's is an impressive place, with a state-of-the-art sound system that can easily administer the output that 'Hell N Back' can produce. The stage is slightly raised off the main floor which allows for non-obstructed views for both the band and patrons. The atmosphere is welcoming, wait staff were friendly and attentive and would be a great place to go to any evening of the week, regardless if there was a band there or not.

Once it was time to begin, Marty kicked it off with the opening hypnotizing bass of 'Livewire'. Soon, Jeff and Garry joined in on guitar and drums respectively. Kyle soon appeared in schoolboy outfit, utilizing the floor in front of the stage and eventually James joined them belting out the first line of the song. In no time the five of them contemporaneously delivered the high energy rock and roll that they can do magnificently.

As they continued through the setlist of classic AC/DC hits, combined with hidden gems, 'Hell N Back' performed the songs with great prowess, all while having a good time. Similar to previous shows, the boys delivered the goods. The more familiar tunes get the audience up on their feet and filling up the dance floor. It's usually at this time that James will wander down to the floor and join in with the dancers.

James possesses all of the characteristics required to pull off not only one AC/DC singer, but two. A charismatic personality, he can switch between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson with ease, yet precision. He clearly enjoys himself while on stage. His friendly disposition, high energy and self-confidence contributes to his ability to approach the microphone with determination to deliver an amazing show to his audience. During the night, he wandered around the bar, even at times singing from on top of the divider railing. A showman in every sense of the word, he is fascinating to watch.

As a rhythm guitarist, Jeff strengthens the line up, thanks to his distinct guitar playing and his easy going personality. His whimsical sense of humour draws people in and makes those around him feel comfortable. He seems right at home on the stage and approaches the microphone to deliver backing vocals with confidence. A charming and talented young man, he knows his music and that will contribute to his future being very bright.

Accompanying Jeff in the band's strong rhythm section, is bassist Marty. He commands attention at the start of the set with the thundering bass intro of the band's opening number 'Livewire'. He maintains that attention quite effortlessly throughout the night. Originally picking up the guitar before he was a teen, Marty would eventually switch to bass. During those teen years, he would develop his ear for music to prepare him to play seriously in bands in his early twenties. I was impressed to discover that Marty learns everything by ear. That in itself is a gift. Some may say the bass is underrated, when in fact it's part of the heartbeat of the band. Marty said it best "Bass and drums are the most primal of sounds." 

Rounding off and forming the remaining part of the heartbeat of the band is Garry on drums. There are some drummers who need to flail their arms around like a madman to generate the thunderous sound that Garry can emit without all that excess flash. Powerful, but steady and fully capable of maintaining each beat throughout the night's performance. Besides being the timekeeper of the band, he's also very approachable and pleasant to speak with.

Last, but certainly not least, what would an AC/DC tribute band be without their own 'Angus'. Someone to adorn the recognizable school boy outfit, occupy as much of the floor as possible all while performing some of the most iconic riffs in music. For 'Hell N Back' they are blessed with the phenomenal presence that Kyle contributes to each show. A remarkable talent in spite of the short time that he has been playing. A modest personality that seems to change once he transforms into his stage persona. Dominating as much of the floor space that he can, Kyle is anything but short of energy. He's captivating to watch and there's no doubt that the future will hold many opportunities for a talent like himself.

When you go to a 'Hell N Back' show, you get the best of both worlds. The raunchy, innuendo laced songs from the Bon Scott era to the primal scream vocals and equally innuendo laced songs from the current Brian Johnson era. For James to convey both those eras throughout their two sets is quite remarkable.

Individually, all five men excel with their instrument, vocals included. While some members have various side projects, there's no denying that when you put them all together, it's like you've been 'Thunderstuck'. Still a relatively new band, each show seems to have improved cohesiveness. With the possibility of additional songs being added to their repertoire it's irrefutable that they will maintain the title of Canada's Ultimate AC/DC Tribute band for a long time coming.

First and foremost I personally need to thank 'Hell N Back' - James, Jeff, Marty, Kyle and Garry, for being both amazing musicians and friends. It's been an honour getting to know these guys and at every show there's always welcoming smiles followed by some incredible music.

These guys deserve all the success that the future holds. Be sure to check them out on Facebook for upcoming shows.
Official Facebook Page
Hell N Back Photo Albums-Flickr

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