Hinds – Koko, London (18th February 2016) – LIVE REVIEW

This Hinds article was written by Ian Bourne, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Adam Skirving.

Hard-working, hard-partying Hinds are on a huge tour to promote debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’. Soon heading to mainland Europe, the band will cross the US and Asia-Pacific before coming back for the Reading and Leeds festivals. Many gigs have sold out, including this one at Camden Town’s Koko. Most of the crowd are young and enthusiastic – matching the four smiling Madrileñas on stage. By the end of the 15-song set, young women are shouting “I love you” to the band. This is girl power, but this time it’s really spicy, fuelled by visceral and powerful garage rock.

The sound quality at Koko is almost too good for a group who prefer their music lo-fi. But there’s no hiding how efficient they have become after playing around 150 concerts in the past 18 months. Slick and tight, Hinds are brimming with self-confidence. They come on stage to a backing tape of ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate and leave by inviting 1,400 fans to their afterparty at the Lexington, up the road in Islington.

Slow, echoing guitars duel as ‘Warning With The Curling’ opens the set, booming into life when the drums then bass come in, before the fabulous Ana Perrote lets rip on a kazoo and the track grinds on hypnotically. The crowd is immediately hooked, even though the song’s an old one that didn’t make the album. “This is the biggest venue we’ve ever filled,” Hinds announce before playing ‘Trippy Gum’ – all slow, fast, stop, start, with at-times almost acoustic guitar and an infectious “ooh-ooh” chorus that revels in a punkoid motorbike beat sound (think Revillos). Amber Grimbergen drums with the minimalist simplicity of Moe Tucker from the Velvet Underground, and that’s a huge compliment.

Joint lead guitarist/singers Ana Perrote and Carlotta Cosials interchange vocals and guitars on ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’, then sing over each other to create a sound that harks back to the great US tradition of girl bands like the Shangri-Las but gives it a deviant off-kilter surf-rock twist, in the same way that The Ramones took the ‘60s Phil Spector girl group sound of The Crystals and The Ronettes and mutated it to serve their punk intentions. ‘Warts’ is beautiful, the crowd singing along with the twanging guitar hooks and the “parabarabarabá” ending.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215657085″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

“The last song was not in the album, as it was an old song,” Carlotta says after ‘Between Cans’, which the band always scribble on their setlists as ‘Baby’ (the “baby” refrain gets a guaranteed call-and-response reaction from the audience). “The next song is in the album,” she continues, introducing ‘Walking Home’, which they confusingly refer to as ‘You Never’ on their setlists. These tend to be written on scraps of cardboard or wrapping paper – just one of Hinds charming quirks. ‘Walking Home/You Never’ is warped California surf, with sweet melodies, extreme high and low registers, and Carlotta and Ana’s vocals competing playfully.

A wonderfully discordant yet tuneful cover of ‘When It Comes To You’ by Vancouver garage band Dead Ghosts improves on the original. The night moves towards its climax with ‘Chili Town’, a waltzing aberrant love song: “Saliva mixed with lies.” ‘Easy’ is tight and sinewy, with the bass from Ade Martin in perfect synergy with those tremolo guitars, which end on a screeching pedal effect. ‘Bamboo’ is a masterpiece, starting with rich bass and slicing into buzzing, chiming guitars and alternating vocals. After a chant of “wababibabiraba” it ends with a bold chord, like something from an Elvis show in Vegas. The pogoing and moshing speed up for a fast and frantic ‘San Diego’ ahead of ‘Garden’, which sounds massive tonight as the opening buzz-sawing riff explodes and splinters deliciously before building into a swaying churning body-surfing anthem: “Cause I can take you dancing.” It ends, just as ‘Castigadas en el Granero’ starts, with Ade’s thrumming bass. ‘Barn’, as it’s also known, takes the dancing up front to new levels of mosh through raw power and big beats.

Hinds are confident enough to encore with delicate instrumental ‘Solar Gap’, but end with crowd favourite ‘Davey Crockett’, inciting full-blooded cries of “Gabba Gabba Hey” from the crowd. Hinds built their reputation on joyous, raucous short sets culminating in stage invasions. At Koko, they bring their own stage invasion on from backstage – security won’t let the crowd anywhere near. Carlotta was barred from Koko when she lived in London aged 15, as she had no ID. Hinds have come a long way since then. “Tonight was a really big deal for us. A lot of friends from Madrid came to see us,” they say. It’s also a big deal for London, where Hinds have made a lot of new friends.