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The COMPASS Group > August 2012

Hell Bent Angels

Hell Bent Angels

Hell Bent Angels: Taichung's newest musical revelation

By Derek Kensinger
Translated by Angel Pu

When it comes to channeling classic rock icons, it's hard to beat the latest rock band to be formed in Taichung, Hell Bent Angels. This new group is comprised of six members, led by Canadians Josh Boldt and Jessica Martin on vocals, backed by Canadians Pat Reid on bass and Clayton Skinner on acoustic guitar, and rounded out with American David Ramey on drums and Englishman Mark Harris on electric guitar.

HBA's style can be best characterized as "Americana", a blend of traditional Western music genres like folk, country, bluegrass, blues and rock and roll. As evidence of such eclectic influences, the band cites Ben Harper, The Black Keys, Johnny Cash, and Creedence Clearwater Revival as inspirations. But, ultimately, they create their own sound by playing "what feels right at the time". Their real mojo comes from the vocal harmonies of their two lead singers and the roots-influenced accompaniment of their band, evidenced by their crowd-moving covers of iconic Canadian band Blue Rodeo.

The band also really rocks on their Johnny Cash covers. If you thought Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix did justice to the Man in Black in 2005's award-winning film "Walk the Line", Boldt and Martin will you make you feel like you are witnessing a live sequel. But Hell Bent Angels doesn't stop there. At the sun-soaked 2012 Compass Food Festival, following a spot-on Cash/Carter "Walk the Line" rendition, the band transitioned to a rollicking version of the Grateful Dead's "I Know You Rider" and, later in the set to a well-fed and ready crowd, they absolutely killed Eric Clapton's "Cocaine".

This band is young, having been around just a few months, but they have already performed at various Taichung venues and get stronger and more confident with each show. As they mature, look for their sound to evolve like Wilco, which started as a straight-up rock/country ensemble and has since morphed into alt-rock trend-setting geniuses. The band would like to thank all their fans and remind everyone to "support the live music scene in Taichung so that it grows like it should".

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