The Black Belles @ Camden Barfly, London
Hell’s Belles! Libby Moné is at the Camden Barfly where Southern vampirism and rock and roll are proving themselves comfortable bedfellows. Just one question though: where's the fourth Belle?
PHOTO: BEKI COWEY
Tonight, the upstairs at the Barfly are teeming with anticipation as to what dark art upstarts The Black Belles have in store for us. They certainly know how to make an entrance, making their way onstage wearing sexy lace and pinafores - all different shades of black of course. Their style is topped off by alabaster skin the extreme opposite to the raven hair and 20 gallon modern stetsons.
Initially this appearance gives the impression that they wouldn’t make it out of Salem alive; they’d be tied up and set aflame. But then the singer greets the crowd with a black lipsticked smile that's almost as big as her hat, and it seems good ole' Southern American manners are alive and well.
This appealing demeanour both chimes and contrasts with their song themes – death, death, gore, horror, more death, and a pinch of humour – and striking sound. From ‘Pushing Up Daisies’ to their cover of ‘Lies’, the songs are all imprinted with dirgy rock effects and tight arrangements.
Meanwhile, singer Olivia Jean’s snarl could compete with Jennifer Herrema and Joan Jett - yet she can also switch to a lovely deep, Southern croon on tracks like ‘Howling At The Moon’ and ‘What Can I Do’.
This all offers a brief reprieve from the question that’s on everyone’s mind – where’s the fourth Belle? Bassist Ruby Rogers breaks the news: they are now a 3-piece. Jean repeats this statement a few times ("Yeah, a three piece") as if she’s still coming to terms with it, or perhaps even chanting it like a bewitching spell. In any case, she attacks the keys and she’s over it.
If they keep ploughing away at their Salem’s Lot rock, and keep their inimitable vaudevillian themed style, these ladies could rock it to the crypt.