Photos by Joyce Lee
On Friday night, Madrid’s Hinds traveled to Greenpoint to play at Warsaw, an old Polish community center. It was a meta-mashing of European sensibilities, invoking the austere, soviet-inflected climate of Warsaw and the sunny, laid-back atmosphere of Madrid. This was typical New York merging of time and place, and everyone inside was happy to indulge in the ghosts of the past — it was Halloween weekend, after all. There were ninja turtles, witches, and wigs of all kinds.
Cold Fronts opened for Hinds in the spacious hall, a place fit for Sunday banquets. Their brand of music is unabashedly fun and content with the past. The lyrics are about youthful yearning and thwarted hopes, and all the songs are full-tilt, pop punk — instruments racing, guitar riffs layering, and frontman Craig Almquist straining his jumpy, earnest-guy style. Cold Fronts got the crowd in the right mood, and when Hinds appeared a little after 10, the place was buzzing.
It’s sometimes hard to hear what Hinds is singing, but that doesn’t matter. Their songs are lush and simple and woozily enjoyable. Listening to Hinds is like getting drunk on a beach, the sun and liquor coaxing you into bliss. Unlike most performances, you don’t feel the urge to pull out your phone and capture what’s going on, check-up on your other lives, or see what’s happening later. Instead, you just want to melt into the music and stay there.
If you do happen to read their lyrics afterwards, though, you’ll find absurd, funny imagery, a louche tone, and strikingly raw appeals for connection. Here’s a sample from “Chili Town,” — “I am flirting with this guy/ Just to pretend I’m fine/ Saliva mixed with lies my laugh is oversized/ Forever yours, right?”
Ade Martin’s basslines are simple and playful in the best possible way. Ana Perrote’s and Carlotta Cosial’s guitars are crunchy and jaunty, lending the band its grungy, party ambience. And Amber Grimbergen backs up the band with energetic drum beats. Ana’s bright and bouncing voice usually opens songs. Then Carlotta’s voice slices through the air, a semi-siren that softens and relaxes into just the right register. Their voices build, slipping and giving way to one another, rising into yells, filling different spaces and pairing beautifully.
On stage, the band is fun, friendly, and gracious. They were fully present and thrilled to be playing their biggest NYC show. They called on the crowd to mosh, and the crowd moshed. They called on the crowd to dance more, and the whole room started to move. They called on people to crowd surf, and at least a dozen bodies flailed in the air. They called on people to rock out on the stage, and the final moments of the set were one huge dance party. This kumbaya spirit is a hallmark of Hinds, a band known for it’s eager interaction with the crowd.
The group ran through their debut album, Leave Me Alone, with crisp renditions of fan favorites “Bamboo,” “Garden,” and “Chili Town” and lamented that they only had one album to play. We could have listened to five, 10, or 20 albums, spent the entire weekend dancing to intoxicating Madrid, but we were thrilled to at least get a little dose of Hinds before darting out into the night to be ghouls and goblins.