A Live Experience with Hinds and Gabriella Cohen @ The Northcote Social Club

jamesSpanish indie lo-fi Rockers Hinds return to Australia for their second headline tour armed with their debut album of gritty slacker pop gems and overloaded youthful energy of love and good times.  With equal measure of good times, there is support from Gabriella Cohen and her band, with first up locals, Loose Tooth.   A night that was a lesson in the importance of simple music for simple pleasures.

Loose Tooth opened up the party with their sweet guitar pop-infused songs, a band that is going from strength to strength in their live shows and tonight with early arrivals, it’s a testament to that.  If there was a school of The Velvet Underground, all tonight’s band would be top of the class.

Gabriella Cohen is a unique character, a talented song writer and an entertaining performer, someone who is completely comfortable with standing centre stage with candid talk and sometimes hilarious banter with her audience, refreshing to see, especially for a local artist.   Rambling on stage with big smiles and a shimmering blouse, Cohen thanks the audience with an accent that has us stumped, something of a Southern American drool, but still very Australian, an accent that transcends into her music, a style that borders Australiana with American blues and folk.

Armed with her “backing” band of chums, with two of the members looking very Amish this evening, collectively they power through a very satisfying set of catchy songs, penned with clever lyrics and well-rounded slacker type bluesy tempos.  Most of the songs are taken from her debut album Full Closure And No Detail, an album that was recorded with fellow talent, Kate Dillon in the Autumn of 2015.  You can tell a lot by the way someone strings a guitar (well maybe not) but with Cohen’s strings remaining uncut and sprouting from the guitar head in chaotic and unplanned fashion, this pretty much sums up the approach to each of their songs.  This is music that comes across slack but really it is impeccably and masterfully written.  With some of the girls from HINDS in the audience Gabriella dedicated their closing song to the band, with HINDS ripping a loud cheer in appreciation of a band that was perfectly suited as support this evening.

With the sounds of Hot Chocolates, “You Sexy Thing” playing through the PA, the young crazy girls from Madrid, dance their way on to the stage, with so much cheekiness in their step and smiles, the sold out crowd get a good sense of what was in stall, you just need to watch one of their videos to know what HINDS are all about, this translates on the stage, as this is who these four besties are.  Just 4 youngsters having a bloody good time.

Their music isn’t designed to offer a wow factor of musical artistry or deep thought, it is designed to play loud, with a drink in one hand and a half-drawn cigarette in the other. Each of their songs pushes the 3 to 4-minute mark with the hallmarks of The Velvet Underground, The Pastels and The Wedding Present.  Lead singer/guitarist Carlotta Cosials leads her friends through a cracking set of sugar coated lo-fi pop of 2 chords and catchy arpeggios, her chitchat with the crowd in her second language is so endearing, its hard to not love what the band stand for.  Resorting to speaking Spanish to one another, it makes for such a refreshing change , watching a non-English speaking band play at the Northcote.

With one album to their name there is not a whole lot of expectation tonight, and every song from  Leave Me Alone is sung by some of the young fans in the crowd, most of them young lads who jump in unison shoulder to shoulder, somewhat like a call to flirt with a chance to pick-up.  “Garden”, “Warts”  ”San Deigo” and “Chill Town” peak the crowd’s enthusiasm and as the girls head to the end of their set, a mild mosh frenzy takes shape and the band smile in excitement.

After a short 45 minutes, the band raise a final cheeky smile and rush off stage, with a glint in their eye, that of course they will be back and within less than a minute, with too much excitement in their hearts, Carlotta and Ana Garcia Perrote announce in the cutest accent, “We have TWO more songs!!!!”. On closing their set, the band huddle together centre stage like a pact to share a secret and offer one last slacker tune that peaks the mosh party and with a final thank you and an offer to meet the girls by the merchandise stand, the party is over, with many young hearts filled with cheap alcohol and hand rolled cigarettes.