Hells Gazelles sport the sort of look that could too easily remind you of Wayne’s World, with an 80s kind of swagger from a time when rocks stars really were gods. If I’m worried tonight is going to be some kind of 80s throwback, I’m quickly proved wrong.
Launching their new EP, Hell’s Gazelles have packed out the Bullingdon tonight and the local hype surrounding the band is justified, tight musicianship and a confident delivery fuelling a strong set of songs. Singer Cole Bryant’s pitch perfect vocals are controlled and fierce. Stand out tracks from the new EP include `You Ain’t Nobody’, with an extended outro showing a band who are musically well in sync; `Dr Strangechild’, meanwhile, is all early Iron Maiden speed riffs and drums, with the chorus refrain of “Doctor, fix me” in the vein of Judas Priest’s `Breaking the Law’.
Despite such 80s-style influences, there’s something modern and punk rock about Hell’s Gazelles, and set highlight, a cover of Billy Idol’s `Rebel Yell’, links in with their pop hooks/punk attitude vibe. A tongue in cheek cover of The Darkness’ `I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ showcases yet more vocal acrobatics, while suggesting they’d make a great wedding band. That’s probably not a future they envisage right now and everything tonight suggests that how they take those older influences and build on them will make them one of Oxford’s most exciting rock bands.