Oftentimes when you go to see live music, the ambience either detracts from or adds to the music you’re listening to. On March 10, the U-Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C., became the perfect marriage of place and sound. With the venue reeking of stale beer, urine, and a palpable scent of testosterone, Hinds, an all-lady quartet from Spain, stepped on stage to perform the most fun garage rock songs I’ve ever heard. An undulating mob of frat boys occupied the front of the stage, while a good mix of ladies and gents milled in the back of the room unconsciously swaying to the teeny-bop voice of lead singer Carlotta Cosials. It felt like a scene in “Animal House,” except instead of the men having all the fun, the women were in on it, too.
The girls put on a brief but raucous show, playing songs from their debut LP “Leave Me Alone,” which was released in January 2016. I feel justified in calling the bandmates “girls” as they are 1) really cute in their short shorts and high ponytails, and 2) young enough to be—if not my daughters—at least my nieces. Best songs of the night and of the record include “Garden,” “San Diego,” “Trippy Gum,” and “Castigadas en el Granero.” As we watched from afar, I imagined myself back in my room as a teenager listening to the band Le Tigre, and I could feel the smile spreading across my face. Hinds’ sing-songy choruses and simple instrumentals pair well with the band’s slyly sexy lyrics. They seem like women who took a lot of men’s virginity and made them cry…and then wrote poppy songs about the experience.
As the night drew to a close and the haze of pot smoke condensed into a literal cloud, Hinds played their most beloved cover song, “Davey Crockett,” by Thee Headcoatees, cementing my theory that Hinds is really a reincarnation of the Ramones in denim skirts. Two overweight and overly intoxicated college boys jumped on stage and screamed the words into the band’s microphones. But, like the professionals they are becoming, Hinds played on and stole back their spotlight, singing “Gabba Gabba Hey!” into the night.