The Raleigh rockers play The Monk in Wilmington Feb. 23.

When Shoot to Thrill, an AC/DC tribute band from Raleigh, arrive at a venue to play, it's happened more than once that they were mistaken for girlfriends of the band.

"No, we're the band," said Wendy Brancaccio, guitarist for the all-woman tribute act, with a laugh. 

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Shoot to Thrill returns to Wilmington to play The Monk a little more than a month after a well-received show there during the recent snowstorm. 

"We called that day, 'Are we cool (to play)?'" Brancaccio said. "A lot of people showed up and we had so much fun. People stayed the whole night."

The band formed seven years ago after friends who bonded over learning AC/DC songs graduated to playing shows. Shoot to Thrill has since had a rotating cast of players.

"They hung out in the living room for a year every Tuesday night and learned songs, just do it to do it and have fun," Brancaccio said. "They had a great idea but a lot of them moved away. It has a nice legacy in our area."

During shows, Shoot to Thrill covers both eras of AC/DC: singer Bon Scott's boogie-filled period across six albums during the 1970s, and Brian Johnson's tenure after Scott's passing. AC/DC followed up Scott's tragic death with a continued successful career starting with 1980's "Back in Black" and such signature tunes as "You Shook Me All Night Long."

"I had (the albums) 'Back in Black' and 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,'" Brancaccio said. "My sister and I were really little and my cousin was 10 years older. She stayed with us and played (the song 'Dirty Deeds'). We sang it, but we didn't understand it until years later."

Brancaccio was playing guitar in a band called Viva la Venus when she caught a Shoot to Thrill show at Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre. She loved them immediately, and was later asked to join.

"She's our very own Malcolm (Young)," drummer Kate Martin said of Brancaccio, referencing the AC/DC rhythm guitarist who died in 2017.

Brancaccio said that learning material is more than just listening to songs or watching YouTube videos. It's also learning the nuances.

"On 'Thunderstruck' (Young is) picking and strumming," Brancaccio said. "He tucks his pick under so he can pick and strum. You wouldn't know from listening but when you're trying to emulate, oh my gosh. I think with them, silence is just as important as riffs. 'Back in Black' wouldn't be the same riff without the silence. So it's the space and the groove. We work it on it all the time."

Though paying tribute to one of rock 'n' roll's great bands, the band's members bring a little of their own personalities as well. Lead guitarist Susan Darney dresses like a schoolgirl, rather than in lead guitarist Angus Young's schoolboy outfit, giving things a Catholic schoolgirl makeover.

The band also includes singer Kara Damboise and bassist Jai Dollie.

During shows the band often gets requests for deep cuts. They know most of them, having learned much of AC/DC's catalog, and are prepared just in case. But each show is about gauging the audience -- and about having fun.

"It's not that deep," Brancaccio said. "We all have jobs, bills to pay, things to tend to. It's so fun to play music about rocking and drinking, whatever, to keep it light and having fun with it."

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