I have several theories as to why Hinds and Twin Peaks chose to do a co-headlining tour with a two-night residency at the Chapel. The most plausible is that the two bands really like each other. After all, the poster advertising the indie-rock extravaganza features a photograph of the acts hamming it up and throwing horns in the grassy area of one festival or another, clearly enjoying the feeling of being a few tall boys deep.
To both bands’ credit, however, the friendship between Hinds and Twin Peaks scans as actually authentic. How else to explain how the copious photos featuring them cozying up to one another that are plastered all over both bands’ social media accounts? (The photograph of Hinds co-frontwoman Ana Perrote and bassist Ade Martin getting competitive alongside Twin Peaks guitarist Cadien Lake James during a game of ping pong ranks high among the highlights of this indie-rock siblinghood.)
But there’s more to this joint venture than how much Hinds and Twin Peaks love each other. These are two bands enjoying notable success on the indie circuit and selling reasonably well to people who like both acts. As fond of one another as Hinds and Twin Peaks may be, this tour is a smartly calculated business venture that capitalizes on the two outfits’ shared fan base and winking camaraderie in order to give fans a double dose of what they want. All the better if they can sell out shows in the process.
And the shows are indeed selling out, both nights at the Chapel included. As co-headliners, the two bands strike a careful balance between Twin Peaks’ rowdiness and Hinds’ swaying sincerity. It’s not an implausible combination, but it’s one that bears examination. Twin Peaks are three studio albums deep into their career and looking toward their fourth. We’re still waiting on Hinds’ follow-up to their 2016 debut album Leave Me Alone.
This divide was noticeable during the bands’ opening night at the Chapel. Twin Peaks stuck to the tried and true crowd favorites, like set opener “Butterfly” and “Walk to the One You Love” from last year’s Down In Heaven, and “Making Breakfast,” “Telephone,” and “Strawberry Smoothie” from 2014’s Wild Onion — which, just for the record, all sound as fantastic in 2017 as they did three years ago.
This many tours into their career, Twin Peaks know their audience well, and they know that their audience is expecting a performance that is equal parts tight and raunchy. The former is largely taken care of thanks to multiple years on the road and festival circuit. As for the latter, vocalist and guitarist Clay Frankel (rocking a white Alden Vox teardrop guitar rendered iconic in the mid-’60s by none other than Brian Jones) ditches his shirt before the halfway mark, revealing a goofy banana tattoo in the process.
There’s a fair bit of banter as well. Twin Peaks’ brand depends on its five members being perceived as a bunch of chill dudes from Chicago who play music and drink beer, and their set at the Chapel only reinforced those perceptions. In addition to a charming homemade banner featuring a UFO and both Hinds’ and Twin Peaks’ names, tall boys of PBR serve as stage décor. Stage divers were frequent and encouraged – “Don’t let her fall,” instructed bassist Jack Dolan when one young woman took a turn at being carried by her concert comrades – and an amicable mosh pit kicked into gear with each song.
Twin Peaks are, among other things, supremely entertaining live, and they set the bar high for Hinds whether or not they meant to. By the time the all-femme quartet walked onstage to “You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles)” by British funk group Hot Chocolate, the crowd was warmed up to a boiling point.
Hinds did reasonably well taking advantage of the rowdy crowd. The foursome’s occasionally shaky new material was received well, and the standards – namely “Chili Town,” “Garden,” and “Davy Crockett” during the encore – were particular crowd favorites. With their easy, friendly manner and simple but rock-solid pop-rock songwriting, it’s just so gosh darn easy to love Hinds. Fifteen months removed from releasing Leave Me Alone, co-frontwomen Carlotta Cosials and Amber Grimbergen have honed much of that album into bouncy, get-the-people-moving live songs.
And Twin Peaks were into it. Several members joined Hinds during the final song, Dolan with a blue bong in tow.
If social media numbers are to be believed, Hinds is the better known of the two headliners by no less than 30,000 Facebook likes. But Thursday night at the Chapel, that nonsense seemed totally irrelevant. Here were two bands that love each other dearly playing the hits for an audience who loved them both.
In the end, there were far worse ways to spend a night than watching the four women of Hinds and the five dudes of Twin Peaks enjoy the living hell out of each other and their music onstage. The enthusiasm wasn’t just infectious. It was a rock ‘n’ roll pandemic.