10/30/16 – Middle East Downstairs

About halfway through Hinds’ mischief night set at the Middle East, Carlotta Cosials had a revelation. “Damn,” she said as she scanned the crowd, “We just noticed that you guys are ready to fuck this venue up.” The guitarist and singer from the Madrid-based band was taken aback at just how enthusiastic the audience was. But in reality, the crowd was just keeping in tune with the theme of the night: the passion and unbridled enthusiasm of youth.

Cold Fronts kicked off the night with an ode to devil-may-care surf rock vibes. A far cry from beach bums, band members spent their stage-time one-upping each other in acts of showmanship. There were solos, back-to-back solos, and battling solos back and forth across the stage like a fencing match.

Frontman Craig Almquist took the cake when he bounded off the stage and wandered through the bowels of the Middle East. He stopped to climb on whatever he could find: railings, chairs, tables. It was as if his natural energy always causes him to gravitate to the boundaries. He attempted to not hit his head on the low ceiling and sang out: “This always happens.”

After the sweaty and high-flying act from Cold Fronts, Hinds seemed poised to offer a more subdued set with their lo-fi garage rock. Hinds’ music is full of fuzzy guitars layered over dreamy vocals; the soundtrack to careless, sun-soaked days. The warmth of the tracks makes you want to be friends with everyone in the band and their lyrics concern the rites of adulthood, pain of first love, and a simultaneous craving and fear of freedom. 

Hinds played with an unexpected intensity that revealed their passion and energy. On “Garden,” Cosials completely changed the feeling of the track. She growled the last lyric: “Give me the keys / And I’ll show you how to fight for more.” Instead of the resigned plea on record, it was a demand.

The genuine connection the band shares was clear. Each member was comfortable tossing in their own improvisation, whether it was a last note held longer than expected, or a drum beat a second early, all to get a smile and laugh out of the rest of the band.

The crowd fed off of their energy, singing every word. At one point they sang along a little too well. Guitarist and vocalist Ana Perote laughed and noted that they couldn’t even hear themselves in the monitors on stage. The Middle East’s rough vocal mix was also to blame. Either way, Hinds’ vitality electrified the crowd. 

They closed their set with “Davey Crockett”, a cover of a Thee Headcoatees track. Somehow Hinds injected buoyancy into a 20-year-old song about a long-dead folk hero. It shouldn’t have been possible, but their  natural charisma and infectious charm turned the song into a feel good sing-a-long.

Hinds played with the relentless optimism of youth. They’re four friends chasing their dreams across the world, and it shows. Walking away from this show, it was hard not to feel more alive.

Forever Young: Hinds
Pros
  • Vibrant energy
  • Great charisma among band members
Cons
  • Poor vocal mix
  • Set could've been longer
8.5Overall Score

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