Seeing a band before they get big and famous and well-known is the ultimate social currency in music circles. One of my friends saw Mac DeMarco in a University of Pennsylvania frat house a few years back and will not let me forget it. So those of us who attended Hinds’ show at Union Transfer June 13 should be readying our “I was there” lines when these four chicas from Madrid break out once and for all.
Hinds alone was enough to get me to head over to Union Transfer but the two openers, Sun Club and Joy Again, made me run on over there on the toute suite. Joy Again is a six-piece from Philadelphia. They only have two songs on Bandcamp but boy are they a great couple of tracks. “Looking Out for You” and “How You Feel” have been two of my favorite songs of this year and it was great to hear them live. With some great basslines, a half-assed Weezer cover and a guy who plays nothing but the tambourine, Joy Again are definitely a band to keep an eye on.
During Joy Again’s set, a few people next to me noticed that the girls from Hinds were just casually chilling in the crowd. It was super neat. When’s the last time the headliner watched the opener from the crowd? Never, that’s the last time. Once Sun Club took the stage, the four Hinds ladies were front and center cheering on their friends from Baltimore, Maryland. It’s hard to describe the type of music Sun Club plays. There’s snazzy guitar lines, synthy sounds, distorted vocals and a whole lot of drums. And while I don’t think I understood a single word anyone in the band sang, it’s hard to not be awestruck by a band giving their all up there on stage. Songs like “Language Juice” and “Tropicoller Lease” get even more kinetic and visceral live and it’s incredible to see.
Finally it was time for the main event: Hinds. The venue wasn’t very crowded but everyone headed to the front as soon as the lights dropped at the girls from Madrid when they took the stage. The group consists of Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote on guitars and vocals, Ade Martin on bass and Amber Grimbergen on drums. The chemistry between the band is tremendous. They’re all smiling and having a good time while rocking out to tracks like “San Diego” and “Fat Calmed Kiddos.” Their debut album “Leave Me Alone” is one of the best records of 2016 and hearing tracks from it live was an extraordinary experience. For me it wasn’t hard to single out my favorite song of the night, “Easy.” Featuring an awesome guitar line from Perrote, the song got everyone movin’ and groovin’. Hinds’ brand of lo-fi-ish garage rock is really accessible and the shared vocal duties by Cosials and Perrote give the band a really great and unique sound that is unmatched on the music scene today.
Hinds played a shortened version of “Garden” that they planned to play on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” the following night, June 14. They’ve been selling out shows all over the world and after making their late night debut they might be able to establish themselves in the U.S. once and for all. The encore was short but sweet. There was the serene instrumental “Solar Gap” followed by a song I didn’t recognize. Plenty of better fans in the crowd than I recognized it and took the opportunity to hop on stage with the band to dance and sing along. Soon the guys from Sun Club hopped on stage too and we had a real dance party on our hands. It was a great way to end a night of great performances.