Madrid indie rock quartet Hinds made their full length debut on Mom + Pop at the turn of the new year with a fantastic album called Leave Me Alone. But, after seeing them live, it's hard not to interpret the title as being somewhat ironic, because there are few bands around that are as fun to be in the same room with as Hinds. With the Sunset Tavern packed to the gills, bathed in red and blue light and amps cranked to eleven, Hinds delivered their LP in ways that most freshman bands only dream of doing. This is the band's second time here, the first being a stop at the Vera Project last fall with only an EP at their disposal. But if Hinds continue on the trajectory we're currently seeing them on, there is absolutely no stopping them from being one of the scene's best live acts around. With help from Burger signees Cotillon and Seattle's best rising act around Chastity Belt, Hinds made their second Seattle stop a wonder to hopefully inspire many, many more.Cotillon haven't wasted much time since their debut LP dropped on Burger records early last year. Seattle saw them once before tonight opening up for Polaris at the Crocodile (still can't believe that happened). In between then and now, the band has only gained more traction, showing off their indie rock chops across the country for a variety of audiences. Tonight's placement alongside Hinds and Chastity Belt seems fitting, as the band harbors much of the raw energy of the former with the west coast finesse of the latter. Cotillon opened up the evening in great style and even got some vocal praise from Chastity Belt's Julia Shapiro afterwards - can't beat that.
Every new opportunity I get to see Chastity Belt, a quiet truth is reaffirmed in my mind: they are it. There's no doubt in my mind that Chastity Belt holds the title spot, not only as the most representative band of the Capitol Hill DIY punk scene, but also as its strongest and most rewarding listen. With last year's Time To Go Home, their first for Hardly Art records, the band made a jump for the stratosphere, taking the grooving whimsy of their 2013 debut No Regerts and carefully forming it into a layered, fulfilling narrative. The perspective offered by Julia Shapiro and Lydia Lund is not one to be taken lightly, though they themselves still find plenty of time to have fun with it on stage. Chastity Belt ripped through an excellent set of material new and old, all well received (both their oldest song "Seattle Party" and their latest lead title-track "Time To Go Home" got plenty of crowd sing-along). After playing through new song "Metal (5am)", shouts erupt from the crowd. "Let's hear it for the drummer!" The band cracks up on stage, and Julia goes to the mic with a wry smile. "Yeah", she panders, "tip one back for Gretch". That's all there is to it, really.
The crowd knew Hinds was going to be a party before the show even started. Here are a couple dead giveaways: 1. Carlotta Cosiales jumping onstage and handing the guys from Cotillon replacement Rainiers halfway through their set in a middle of a song, 2. Ana Garcia Perrote running the merch throughout the evening beforehand and chatting it up with least three dozen different fans individually, and 3. Cosiales checking her mic by dropping the entire first verse of Rihanna's "BBHMM" a cappella. They make rock and roll music that sings as well as it screams. They write songs about boys and booze and Davy Crockett. Hinds are where it's at, and the best part of it all is, they know it without question. As soon as the women of Hinds step on stage, they are on fire with energy. They are here to have as much of a good time as you are, and that being common knowledge, we are all going to get along just fine.
Hinds are flawless on stage, not a technical brilliance way, but in terms of absolutely perfect delivery. The back and forth frontwoman volley between Cosiales and Perrote is unmatched. The groove set forth by Ade Martin on bass Amber Grimbergen on drums is unstoppable. And the four work together and interlock across the stage and communicate incredible affection for each other in the most life affirming ways. Truly, Leave Me Alone is an album not as much about aloneness, but about solidarity. In between songs like "Garden" and "Warts", there is heartbreak, sure, but there's unbelievable confidence that comes on the backside of that heartbreak, where choices are made, and decisions are owned, and the story belongs to none other than the one living it. This is the narrative that Hinds spells out on their album, and it's a joy that it translates so impeccably well to the raucous party on stage. When the night finally ended, almost everyone walked out of the Sunset without a smile and a new faith in the greater good. For the rest us, we walked out with those totally awesome shark t-shirts. Win win. Viva Hinds.
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