By Sam Peckett
Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield
Hinds’ ramshackle and rough around the edge sound is made for live shows. Releasing I Don’t Run earlier this year, the band discarded any notion of a difficult second album by building on the summer-tinged riffs and fuzzy vocals of debut Leave Me Alone to critical acclaim. Touring nearly constantly since the album’s release, Hinds found themselves playing Manchester for the second time in seven months – this time at Manchester Academy 3. The venue’s close-quarters feel played to the band’s strengths, allowing them to feed off the fervent energy the crowd offered up.
Support came from indie six-piece Sports Team. As they took to the Academy stage, you’d be forgiven for thinking the London-based band’s performance would contain a tinge of disappointment. The venue, only open for half an hour when they strutted onto the stage, was still dishearteningly empty.
Yet this posed no issue. Frontman Alex Rice confidently strolled out shortly after his bandmates set an atmospheric mood through whirling guitars. Channelling a mixture of Mick Jagger and Ian Curtis, he confidently and flamboyantly commanded the stage before slipping into a series of jittering dance moves reminiscent of the late Joy Division singer.
As the band played tight and note-perfect solos between verses and choruses, Rice regularly sang away from his mic, his vocals imperceptible to the crowd. It created a captivating and frenzied performance which was heightened by Rice’s contrast to his nearly static bandmate Ben Mac, who spent the entirety of the show half-heartedly prodding his keyboard and playing his tambourine while chewing gum. Their polarity was a staged device, but an effective one.
Single Kutcher was a highpoint as Rice fell to his knees, bathed in white light while pockets of dedicated fans in the now much larger crowd sang every word. It was smiles all around as the band left the stage. “Can’t wait for Hinds,” said Rice, applauding a crowd surely full of new admirers.
Despite Hinds only being two albums in, their set had the feel of a band playing a back to back hits. Opening with I Don’t Run highlight Soberland, co-lead vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote’s contrasting vocal style was imitated in their guitar playing. Cosials’ raspier vocals were mimicked by her sharp guitar tone, while Perrote utilised chorus-laden guitar lines and her softer voice. The result was both frantic and satisfying, as guitar lines and vocals weave between one another, highlighting the qualities of both.
That back and forth is intrinsic to the band. As Cosials and Perrote trade lines while backed by the solid groove of bassist Ade Martin and drummer Amber Grimbergen, the overlapping vocals resulted in fans with their arms draped over each other, groups of friends taking it in turns to sing each vocalist’s lyrics. The comradery between fans and band is something to be admired.
As the band performed single Chili Town, they elongated the short pause before the lyrics began, catching a member of the crowd off guard. ‘I am touching without hands’ blurted out the audience member, eliciting laughs from both the band and the crowd. That inherent playfulness of a Hinds show is both unique and infectious. As the song continued, the drumbeat changed post-breakdown to something different than on the record, adding a sun-kissed groove to the relaxed, lo-fi track.
It took just three songs for Cosials to be in the crowd, climbing the barrier to sing debut album earworm San Diego. “That one was for you guys” said Martin as latest release British Mind was lapped up by fans in between a selection singles and popular deep cuts. The feel in the room was closer to that of a house party and by the time Leave Me Alone’s soothing opener Garden was played, the crowd were dancing and jumping along to every word.
The tempo was slowed for I Don’t Run track Linda. It’s a change of pace, featuring tender lyrics about rejection to a gentle guitar riff. Despite Hinds’ happy-go-lucky persona, many songs detail sad situations to upbeat melodies and Linda epitomises this. It’s exactly the kind of song which has led to comments of a newfound maturity on their second album.
“Hinds are a rock and roll band. But this next song is about being cheated on. That’s not a very rock and roll thing to happen, but it does happen,” declared Cosials before launching into Tester. The chat with the crowd between songs feels just as important as the songs themselves, with Cosials losing track of what she was saying before laughing: “I’ve just given up smoking, I feel like I’m going in loops!”
A cover of The Clash’s Spanish Bombs closed their set, before they returned for an encore of Castigadas En El Granero and I Don’t Run lead single New For You. As the set came to a finish, it was perfectly fitting that Hinds danced off the stage to Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. The undeniable feel good factor that follows the band was present in Manchester by the bucketload.