LIVE: HINDS @ Manchester Academy
They’re the Spanish senoritas spear heading the revolution of rock music; HINDS are head and shoulders above the rest, bringing an element of playfulness to a music scene that is fast sinking into gloominess. When thrown with this moniker that they’re “the happiest band in the world”, the humble four-piece proclaim their adoration for their fans, who spur on their positive attitude. It’s low-fi indie with a nod to the 60s girl-group revolution and there’s no signs of their spirits being dampened any time soon.
You say there’s ‘no rest for the wicked’? With a 26-date UK and EU tour ahead of them, we’ll take that as the modern-day slang definition of the word. Joining HINDS on tour for the long haul are Cambridge graduates, now London based Sports Team with their unapologetically British sound that reverberates choruses that pack a punch, accompanied by a live performance that’s fast becoming folklore.
As a six-piece, they fill the stage with hardly any space left over, the audience set for a spectacle of a show. Composed whilst they attended the Russell Group University, there’s is a high octane set, concocted with the need to present something new to the student groups they were involved in. It’s fitting then that Manchester Academy was cast as the setting for the performance; on Manchester’s busy Oxford Road, it’s ‘student central’, fully equipped with a plethora of cheap pints and DIY music venues in amongst halls and lecture theatres.
Matching their environment in a chameleon like manner, Sports Team set about in their comradery with witty charisma; sure of themselves in an early Stone Roses style approach but with a charming edge. They’re a band that have risen quickly through the ranks, which transpires through their reception – the audience are clearly eager to catch the band in the limelight.
Their recent hit ‘Kutcher’ uses Hollywood protege Ashton Kutcher as a metaphor for entangled relationships, whilst ‘Margate’ tip-toes the lines of “millennial praise”, saluting a heady great British Summer where you lose yourself to youth. Whilst the majority of Sports Team remain relatively stationary – besides the odd jovial nod and quip to one another – lead singer Alex Rice catapults himself across the stage, limbs thrust about, his voice and movements boldly running alongside one another.
There’s a stab in the dark when in he asks an audience member where they’re from and with the answer ‘Halifax’ he wears a Gallagher-esque mask and jokes that The Orielles (from Halifax) are “doing alright but the drummer has room for improvement”. If you didn’t know their circles you’d perhaps mark this as arrogant, but in a flippant, aforementioned Oasis brothers manner. In fact, the two bands are allies; fond fans of one another’s work.
So often nowadays female bands are slotted into ‘girl group’ as a genre but of course it isn’t, it’s by default just a gender. With HINDS it’s no different, they’re unique, they’re unashamedly garage rock, they’re your friends, they’re on your wavelength, they’ll have a can with you, they’ll blister in the Summer sun, they’ll laugh at themselves. They’re “HINDS as f**k”. Originally a duo named Deers in 2014, before a legal dispute and a re-grouping brought them to be the HINDS quartet, it’s been a triumphant climb. Featuring two albums which have both met critical acclaim, they’ve toured the world multiple times now, perfecting the art of season-long tours year in and year out.
Joyous and positive in their attitude, the room at Manchester Academy lifts. Though no spirits were dampened, it’s as though HINDS take you to a vivid new level – all worries are dispelled and you’re in the moment. We’re taken on a trip through both albums, with a splash of whats to come with recent release ‘British Mind’ that pays testament to the time they’ve spent over here, speaking of the British love for the sun and the glory days of the British Summer.
Laying into their previous records, it’s difficult to spot a track that isn’t completely lip-synced by the audience. From verses pointing the finger at a deceptively messy breakup in ‘Easy’ to tales of feeling lost after a one-night-stand in ‘The Club’, if you listen there’s a juxtaposition between the lyrics and their positive attitude. It’s one of strength though; an earnest testimony to what situations we all at some point face but pass through the other side with an enlightened outlook.
‘Tester’, off the second album, ‘I Don’t Run’ is introduced with the announcement that guitarist Ana Perrote is engaged and lead singer Carlotta has quit smoking, mentioning that they’re happy but that this particular song is about a time when you’re unanimously unhappy. “This is about being cheated on” they mention and as the song goes on there are knowing looks about the audience and movement erupts more than it had to any other off their set list, merrily moving along to “Should I’ve known before you were also banging her?”
Before the eruption of the encore, the night is summarised by a perfectly matched cover from HINDS in the form of The Clash‘s ‘Spanish Bombs’. Unique and lighthearted but with a professional edge, HINDS and their support have found their audience but manage to lift them with verses from a quintessentially British band. “Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito” drifts through the room, easily picked up by attendees and traced equally as much as the lyrics of the feature act. If HINDS keep at this pace, there’s no sign of them stopping and why would they, when their devote fan-base clings to their every word.