Ultimate Interviews

Ultimate Interviews

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hell N Back

Frank's Pasta & Grill
Sept 19, 2015

There are many AC/DC song references that you can use when describing your experiences at a 'Hell N Back' show. Last night in Cobourg was no exception.
To say the music was good and the music was loud would be an understatement. The boys had vibrations coming up from the floor...so much so that one overhead light fixture couldn't hold on any longer and shattered when it fell to the wooden floor.

It was five months earlier that we witnessed their first time performing at Frank's Pasta & Grill. (Read review here.) There was no doubt that they would repeat with the same intensity as before, but this time word was out that they were going to debut some new songs. Frank's filled up quickly with friends, family and fans. With their new banner hanging proudly behind them, they were set up and ready to deliver the straight up rock and roll that many in attendance had witnessed before.

Photo by: James Alcock
Once the gear was set up, Kyle changed into his suit an before long the show was about to start. Marty and Jeff's hypnotic bass and guitar, respectively, began to flow out of the speakers, followed by Garry's drums. Soon Kyle's lead guitar and James' vocals rounded out the lineup. The night kicked off with 'Livewire'. If that was any indication of what the rest of the night was going to be like, we were all in for a treat. Covering both eras seems to come easy for the guys. Impressively they can bounce back and forth between the two effortlessly. Whether you're in the mood for the classic Bon Scott songs or the more recent Brian Johnson tunes, 'Hell N Back' can satisfy any die hard AC/DC fan.

James interacted with the crowd throughout the night. He accepts the ambitious job of tackling both eras and gives it his all to deliver the songs. A charismatic frontman, climbing chairs, wandering throughout the crowd, it has always been quite entertaining watching him. Fronting a band where each musician is incredibly proficient in their role must make James' job much easier. You can also find James fronting his other band 'Rockin' a Hard Place'.

He may be hidden behind his drum kit but Garry's playing is anything but. The back beat of the band, his playing delivers power without being noisy. With creative flair he adds little things to the songs that take them to a higher level. May not be all flash and showmanship, but the power and strength of his playing keeps 'Hell N Back' going all night. When he's not keeping beat with the guys, he's regularly on the road playing with other cover acts. 

Garry's drumming may provide the tempo and feel, but Marty's bass locks it in. He's anything but a laid back bass player. You can usually see him with a smile and enjoying himself on stage. He carried the songs, both with his playing as well as taking to the mic for backing vocals. With a creative and propulsive style, Marty not only shines playing AC/DC but can also play many other songs. He gigs around the Toronto area with his other band 'Muffin'. The combination of the mid and low-rang percussion fills the sound and provides the other band members the rhythmic feel that they need.

The dynamics between rhythm and lead guitar is evident. Jeff's playing complements Kyle's playing and vice versa. What may appear to be repetitive playing, is quite the contrary. Jeff's playing intensifies as the song progresses. He kicks the songs up a notch and challenges his band members to keep up. 

He's also quite fascinating to watch. He can make you smile, laugh and enjoy yourself. A witty individual, you instantly find yourself with a permanent smile while watching him. He adopts that Malcolm Young stance and mannerisms while he's playing. Never one to shy away from the microphone, he contributes to the backing vocals along with bassist Marty.

Aside from AC/DC, Jeff also performs with his band 'Free With Admission'. They play gigs around his hometown of Bowmanville and cover a wide range of songs from a variety of artists. 

You can't have an AC/DC tribute band without an 'Angus'. 'Hell N Back' are blessed with one of the best. When it comes to the amazing guitar playing and showmanship that Angus Young is known for, Kyle assumes the role and doesn't disappoint. A guitar virtuoso beyond his years, he puts on the schoolboy suit and instantly is transformed into an energetic personality who is at the forefront feeding the audience's energy and excitement. 

He wandered throughout the venue, duck walked, stripped and recreated solos note for note. Hard not to notice that here's a young man who spends countless hours studying Angus and knows his material. It's indisputable that Kyle can have an incredible career in music.

The tightness of the band was evident throughout their two sets. There were even some surprises thrown in for good measure, including the debut of 'Shake Your Foundations' and 'Jailbreak'. Considering it was the first time they were playing these songs live, they pulled them off incredibly well. There was one more song they played for the first time last night. It is a personal favourite and was an ultimate surprise. I had previously suggested to the guys to learn it, and they kept it a secret the past little while. The slow bluesy number, with the ominous lyrics, from the 1979 iconic 'Highway to Hell' album..'Night Prowler'. It was definitely the highlight of the night for me. They did an amazing job, vocals were great, the guys played it perfectly. Looking forward to hearing them perform it again at a future show.

All night, the crowd enjoyed themselves and kept the dance floor busy. They ran through classics 'Shot Down in Flames', 'Hell's Bells', 'Back in Black', 'Highway to Hell' and many more. They closed the night with 'For Those About to Rock'.

There was such a great response, that the bar invited them back for another show in the near future.  

Photo by: Kyle Cyr
They also showed off their new shirts last night. The new logo was created by James' son. If you're interested in purchasing one you can contact the guys through their Facebook page.
You can also keep up to date with everything 'Hell N Back' on their official website. Bios, media, press, promotion, upcoming gigs and lots more. Check it out.

Once again, it was an amazing time at the show. These guys captivate their audiences and keep them rocking all night. With positive feedback and praise, it's pretty certain that you will see a lot more of them playing around Ontario.

I can't thank the guys enough for always putting on an amazing show and being so welcoming to their gigs. They are all professional, extremely talented and down to earth. A great group of guys and I'm honoured to call them friends. 

Thanks James, Kyle, Jeff, Marty and Garry!!

Photos from past shows can be found here:

Official Flickr

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