METROnome: Hinds is hot, but The Gooch Palms are hotter

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(Emily Liu/DD)
Kat Friend from The Gooch Palms performing at Valley Bar on Thursday, Oct. 20. (Emily Liu/DD)

For their first ever Phoenix performance, Hinds heated up Valley Bar on last Thursday for a well-played performance that never quite boiled past the band’s safe zone. French Girls and The Gooch Palms opened up for the band.

Vocalist-guitarist Ana Perrote opened up the show with a performance that hinted that the night could only get better. With extended, balanced instrumentals that put Perrote on the kazoo between perfect vocal sets, the beginning of the set was one to remember. This was particularly exemplified as vocalist-guitarist Carlotta Cosials’ high vocals smoothly blended with Perrote’s. It was one of the best choices to start the show: slightly sultry tones with multiple elements, but not enough to overshadow the band’s hit songs.

A performance of “San Diego” was one of the highlights of the night, with Hinds executing a song with power and togetherness. The band enlivened the song with the performance, clearly enlivening the crowd along with it.

With “Garden,” a softer side of the band was shown to contrast. However, the performance was no less exceptional, as Hinds’ sound was at its prime, with clear vocals and well-practiced melodies that continued to have the industrial charm of garage rock.

Hinds ended the set with a performance with Cosials, Perrote and bassist Ade Martin bringing movement to the stage by interacting with one another, creating more exciting imagery to match the flawlessly played songs.

The part of the show where Hinds finally let loose a true performer’s spirit was at the encore, which started with strong instrumentals. Then, surf pop-inspired guitar melded with the power of the vocalists’ voices in a finish that left me awed, while wondering where that special energy was hidden for much of the show.

The best part of Hinds’ set, the sound aside, was the audience interaction. The friendly atmosphere the band brought allowed audience members to freely yell random Spanish phrases — “salut” during a break or “la musica” when only two songs were left. There was no barrier that glorified the performers. Hinds was the first band I’ve ever seen to complement Arizona’s drastically hot weather.

But despite the promises of a big party that Cosials gave, the night was much more tame than expected. The 21+ crowd likely grew rowdy from the alcohol, rather than the band’s ability to control the mood. Transitions were obvious and unsure, though they improved further into the show. The women of Hinds played it safe, allowing people to move to the beat, but not completely get wild with the tunes, as the band’s reputation as leading garage rock stars may suggest.

Luckily, the home-style vibe that Hinds brought allowed the show to take on a different angle that mostly canceled out its downfalls. The band’s newness in the international music scene was brilliantly used to its advantage, as Hinds emitted the image of one of few approachable bands that have unmatchable talent.

In comparison, preceding band The Gooch Palms was like lightning, relentlessly bursting with energy in a storm of music. With a tangible stage presence, good tunes and loads of humor, the punk band was the full package. Even if their stage antics took cheesy turns at times, it was astonishing how one guitarist and one drummer could come together for a phenomenal live show.

Clad in matching jackets, The Gooch Palms started their set with “Living Room Bop,” a song made for getting audience members out of their stiff shells and into the habit of movement. Vocalist-guitarist Leroy McQueen was pitch-perfect in the highest notes for “You,” a ballad in which slow tunes could not bar the duo from showing off their entertaining character.

“Hunter Street Mall” would bring the Australian band’s best performance, with a mix of McQueen and drummer-vocalist Kat Friend’s duets, interaction with each other and interaction with the audience, whereas “Ask Me Why” showed off the best transitions between the singers. But before these songs were sung was a perfect definition of The Gooch Palms’ eccentric live performance: McQueen began “Sleep Disorder” with a few lines of “I Believe I Can Fly,” while Friend ended it by biting the mic. The wonderfully gritty, unprecedented move would force a Valley Bar employee to wipe the mic clean for a much less spontaneous performance by Hinds.

The Gooch Palms’ set was the party-style garage punk set that Hinds planned for, but only halfway fulfilled. Despite its enjoyable set, Hinds failed to bring an especially memorable show and completely stand out as the headliner. Now, we have until Hinds’ next Phoenix show to wonder if the band can maximize its live performance abilities, or if its great reputation will always leave too-high expectations.

Correction: October 26, 2016

An earlier version of this story included an incorrect photo caption stating it depicted a member of Hinds. It has been updated to correctly show it depicts a member of The Gooch Palms.

Contact the columnist at Emily.Liu@asu.edu.