It’s three days since I was last in exactly the same place, and four since I conked my head on, of all places, the floor. On my way in the bouncer also knocks his head, on the less ridiculous place of the brick arch he is standing under at the entrance to Gorilla. I briefly share with him my empathy.

But let that not be a pitiful opening note to the eve. As with my last review, The Orielles, I’m conscious it may be difficult to string together a cohesive set of thoughts, here about Madrid all-female garage rock band Hinds. In a not so exciting twist of fate, I’ll be heading to their hometown for the first time in just under a month. They leap onstage and jig bringing the energy that I am sadly deficient in. My evening had already significantly improved since moving away from a bin, now it’s inching up that bit further.

I feel this would be deeply problematic as an opening comment to make were I exerting the male gaze, but they are proving immediately to be very hot. For me this mainly means they give off the vibe of being rightly empowered women with big stage presence. They head things off with two uptempo tracks, ‘The Club’ and ‘Chili Town’. Guitarist and vocalist Carlotta Cosials tells us that Manchester is always a treat and continues to be so. They tentatively introduce a song from the Cars 3 soundtrack, ‘A Rodar’, with one of them querying “I don’t know if this is embarrassing or not”. Granted, it might not be the same accolade as having your music featured in some other Pixar films, though my guess is Randy Newman has a bit of a monopoly in that remit. ‘Echoing My Name’ and ‘Soberland’ have groove, the latter with some successful high-pitched, slightly nasal (but effective) singing from Cosials, who has the coyish vamp of 90s riot grrrl complete with spaghetti straps. Her voice combined with fellow guitarist and singer Ana Perrote’s morphs into a growl, and the song ends on a silvery twang.

Perrote asks when these two songs are finished whether we like the new record – I Don’t Run, released at the start of this month. Next is, by their terms, an old song. “Once you have two albums,” we’re told, “you can call it a classic”. It has a gentle short opening but throbs into a drum smashing bounce forward, returning after another short verse section. Confessionally – and perhaps this is a bad tactic – I’ve not tuned into them for a while, and I’m suddenly reminded of long past stretches of listening to them. I remember hearing them on the back of fellow Burger Records Madrid Spaniard pals The Parrots, not so long after they’d changed their name from Deers and when I was still convinced I could skate without bruising like a peach. Coincidentally, I hit my head around that time, too.

They move onto ‘Castigadas en el Granero’, with strangely hooked together lyrics that are at once metaphoric and surreal (“all I see is a big cow/…now I’m eating all your corn”, “I would kill your dogs”), present and prompting (“it’s cloudy sticky”, “why can’t you pass that smoking roll?”), a weird mix-up of rules (staying inside, not committing theft) and simple, straight up desires like going to the mall. The three girls up front do some coordinated movements before moving into a Tony Hawk-worthy romp that brings forth jumping front and centre. I’d join them with haste if I didn’t have a floppy musculoskeletal setup and pincushion tendencies. I can however join in with the clap in the breakdown, however much I may be leaning boringly on a wall – access needs must.

Cosials asks us what the past tense of sweat is, considers ‘sweated’, and suggests that this might be the “perfect time” for a slower song, ‘Linda’. I think about their output being mostly in English and whether people’s gravitation towards their American style slack-rock is helped by this. The song starts with quieter tones from Perrote, picked up by similar softness from Cosials. This is a great band to mark our weird transition through spring, hinting at a summer to come soon even whilst outside the venue drips have been steady for most of the April day. The thin red strips of lighting at the back of the stage could well be the hot wires in a toaster or a hairdryer, telling us that a 25 degree peak tomorrow is not just a wild claim from someone in the office this afternoon. There’s even a nod to California from our drummer Amber Grimbergen’s 2Pac t-shirt. On that note, the small outdoors is suggested by the following slowish jam ‘Garden’. The soundcheck has been well executed this evening, something I suppose you don’t normally comment on unless it’s notably not good, but after a less good vocal mix in the same venue last Saturday it’s more apparent to me now.


The song ends with a long snarl from Cosials and claps aplenty, and a few bass notes to round it off. “Manchester, you’re like the best crowd in the world”, Cosials tells us, apparently because we like the full variety of songs on offer, fast and slow alike. Perrote cusses that it’s “so fucking hot in here”, confirming my suspicions that they are weather-changers, and after which the air con graciously kicks in. There’s some girl-trio oohs at the beginning of ‘Tester’, speeding on into the repeated line “we are just having fun”. The song grinds to focus on Ade Martin on bass, before the guitars come back and it zooms off again with chant and some guitar solo. I can’t ascertain here whether we’ve moved into another song without a clear divide, which seems plausible. When there’s a definitive end there’s some “eeees” from Perrote and I glance to the side to see a man who could be David Tenant. The thought arises that he could be a closet Hinds fan, who seems to know most of the words to the next song.

Upfront, a crowdsurfing audience member descends as overhead claps resurface. Perrote takes off her guitar so I’m hoping she’ll replace it with the excellent green one I’ve seen in various Hinds pictures and videos. With vigour they preface a cover, ‘Davy Crockett (Gabba Hey)’ by fellow female foursome Thee Headcoatees, with a loud call and response between the singers teasing one other (“who was the best Boy Scout ever?”). They plunge in adding signature shouts to the doo-wop, Troggs feel of the song. Perrote herself now crowdsurfs which explains the dismounting of her gear and sadly lessens the likelihood of that gorgeous instrument making an appearance.

They then exit on a boisterous demanding crowd, before Grimbergen returns back first to set the encore beat, looking hip under the red lighting. The main stage lights illuminate the others as they return to play ‘Finally Floating’, with duet vocals followed by the chorus of “I need to stay awake tonight”. It ponders predictively on the sleepworld (“I know what the dream’s gonna be about”) but is bright and alive like the rest of the set. Cosials swings the guitar up over her head, which the others bow down to, with background applause underway. Perrote excuses the encore: “Manchester, this is the first ever time we did this – we have two more songs”. They follow up earnestly and gratefully: “we don’t know what to say because everything sounds fake but we mean it, we love you and thank you for coming down”. ‘New For You’ creates a dreamscape of reinvention, with lines “because I wanna be somebody new” and later “imagine walking on the sun in Arizona”. Once more I remember our impending warmth. As if to add to this, the centrepoint of the stage is Perrote in a bright orange tank top with a red guitar. They finish on ‘San Diego’, and on the line “take me to the beach, alright”, I see a man in a beanie hat, which is surely a crime for anyone in here of warm-blood. It all crumbles down into a lovely halt the way all good garage rock songs that sound like a car rolling along do.

Hinds are a live act of displacement. A number of their songs work along similar trajectories, moving at steady rumbling paces with good vocal balances, all with the effect of putting us outside our venue and by the sea or sand or somewhere else sun-filled. Perhaps that’s a lazy comment to make of a band who come from the sunny climes of Spain, which their videos often inadvertently flaunt. But they shine particularly on stage by tailoring their charisma almost perfectly, giving to the crowd repeatedly and responding visibly to each other as well as their fans, with the transporting, consistent sense of having a great time under warm skies.

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Hannah Ross

Hummer and strummer with Kurt Vile hair. Likes neo-soul, reverb, and most things put out by Beggars. Will review for money and/or free tickets + exciting new music.