It’s been five years since I last visited San Francisco, a place that once was the center of counter-culture and still has some of it left. For a city that is now known for housing certain tech companies, I had not seen any trace of it.
The Chapel in the Mission District shined in gothic-style exterior, exposed brick and archways hovering above me as I made my way to the floor. Hinds released their debut album Leave Me Alone a little over a year ago, yet their reception has been growing. It was a cold Friday night and their second sold-out show in SF with Twin Peaks just before they continued on the road for Coachella. The DJ played fillers between the sets as pockets of attendees hit the bars and open spaces on the floor. Before long it was shoulder-to-shoulder, and the lights dimmed as the ladies walked on stage.
Hinds dove right into “Fat Calmed Kiddos”. The crowd danced and sang along,
“You’re on my mind / I see you waving goodbye / but, please don’t leave me / at least during the night.”
The ladies continued with “Warts”, “Walking Home” and “Chili Town” off Leave Me Alone. They thanked everyone for the sold-out shows and gave us a preview of one of their new tracks from an upcoming project. Although they weren’t sure what to call it, they were still eager to play.
Afterwards came my favorite track off of Leave Me Alone- “Easy”- one of the slower songs on the album, filled with anecdotes of heartbreak and the different ways we try to recover. I downed my whiskey and sang along,
” I sold every feeling you gave me / now I’m all on my own / does it show you were right?”
The show wasn’t quite over just yet. To lend some tour love to their mates Twin Peaks, they covered one of their older songs “Making Breakfast” from their album Wild Onion. It’s no secret in interviews and social media these bands are best friends, but it’s even better when they cover each other’s songs live!
Without much warning, except for a catchy guitar riff, “Garden”- a single that helped launch their album- was up. Everyone was smiling, jumping, and rocking the fuck out. The band continued with “Castigadas”, my third favorite single off of the album and most danceable track. To finish the show, the girls did another cover of “Davey Crockett” by their long time friends/split EP holders The Parrots. Small pits were starting up and Carlotta stage dove with her guitar, still playing like a rock god.
Hinds said their final goodbyes as the crowd chanted for more but to no answer. The show continued on with Twin Peaks doing what they did best. It’s been great having the opportunity to travel and see how different cities welcome a band, and San Francisco is by far one of my favorites. Everyone seemed so keen on giving their full love and attention. I can see now why both nights sold out so quickly in such short time.
After a couple of more whiskey sours, I felt it was time to head back. The ride was quiet and peaceful. We drove through the Mission District to my room with a bag full of tacos that I of course had to get before making it back (shout out to Taqueria Cancun). Traveling, being lost in a city, and seeing one of your favorite bands is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.
A note from the Author: Just last year, I saw Hinds open for The Garden within two months of releasing Leave Me Alone in L.A. They still walk out to “You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles) by Hot Chocolate” without it being ironic, and that’s what sets them apart. These young women are going out on a stage as best friends and not band mates. Their constant smiles and head nods at each other show a more cohesive unit and makes the music sound much better live. Their performances get better over time, and I can’t even imagine what their new album is going to be like live.