Hinder - Manchester / Live Review
Hinder are a US based band that were introduced to me just a few years ago, despite them originating in 2001. At that time, I was so taken with the band that I immediately went out and purchased their back catalogue up until that point, encompassing four releases. All of these were done with singer Austin Winkler. Fast forward to 2015 and there is a new Hinder album released, this time with a different singer, Marshal Dutton. This album marks a significant departure in terms of the signature Hinder sound. The songs illustrate a diversity of styles and actually add new elements to the band’s makeup. Some fans appear to have become dissatisfied by this. However, they might not have recognised Marshal’s involvement with Hinder goes back several years and that he has contributed to the songwriting on all their previous releases since 2009! Hinder had recently embarked on a UK tour to promote their new album and I was eagerly anticipating their show in Manchester which would allow me to see the band perform live for the first time.
Opening band Rival State were a name that were slightly familiar to me but I wasn't too familiar with any of their music. Sometimes that’s a good thing, in that way no pre-judgements are made... Style-wise, a complete change of direction from the commercial-friendly sound of Hinder. Grittier and hard edged for the most part, although other tracks had elements which were more in line with indie-fused rock. Generally their set transferred well with the audience and a favourable response was generated, though I felt that that they were slightly short-changed by the sound at the venue. Charismatic frontman and tight musicians - Rival State piqued my interest sufficiently and I would welcome the chance to witness them deliver a full headlining set at another time.
Following an extended instrumental intro (which falsely led the audience on a couple of occasions) they finally kicked off with opening number 'Use Me'. This immediately showcased the main question that pre-show I had been asking myself. Namely, how would the 'old' songs that fans were very familiar with sound with a different vocalist? Short answer - with the same band behind him, they were not going to really come over as as a completely different sound. A different style of singer, but the songs retained that familiar element and fans lapped up every note and chorus. Three songs into the set and three different albums had been dipped into. It would have been understandable, perhaps, that the band would focus primarily on their new (debut) release and just meagrely touch into the others. However, fans were extremely pleased that this didn’t prove to be the case. I was also delighted that on my debut live Hinder show, it allowed me and many others in the packed audience to have a total sing along party. First new song and latest single 'Hit The Ground' didn’t feature until the fifth song in.
No let-up from the audience reaction who greeted the track from 'When the smoke clears' as enthusiastically as the older material. Some mic issues were had, but with a quick tech repair it was back on course with anthem after classic excellently delivered to a hugely receptive and passionate audience. Having never witnessed Austin’s vocals and stagecraft, I had nothing to compare Marshal to. Instead, I prefer to judge it on its own relative merits. True, he appeared to be struggling (slightly) on a few of the older songs. (He had indicated in a pre-show interview that some of them were harder to perform as they were in a different vocal range). A minor criticism aside, he was a dynamic and very charismatic frontman.
Choosing to play a Stone Temple Pilots cover 'Wicked Garden' was a surprise move. However, it did result in many bemused faces around me. Clearly, the majority of the audience failed to recognise the tune. Perhaps playing another Hinder song may have been a better move…? 'Wasted Life' was introduced as the next single, letting a fan film the song and stating that the subsequent video would solely feature on tour footage. Back to more familiar material, and singling out some ladies in the audience for individual attention several times. Slightly cheesy but hey, with a rock show it’s all about entertainment. Hinder delivered that in abundance. My 'song of the night' was pure perfection, delivered passionately and with as much emotion as when I had first heard it all those years ago. I'm talking of course about 'Lips of an Angel' - absolute gem of a song! Love it! Hinder continued to work into the majority of their back catalogue with All American Nightmare’s title track, and 'Better than Me' from Extreme Behaviour. Judging from the audience feedback and the huge venue sing-alongs which permeated the set, I would reasonably guess that Hinder were hitting the audience as impressively as it all hit.
In conclusion, Hinder far surpassed even my high expectations. A fine set list, balance of hits/anthems with a few newies. Great venue, sold out to a crazy audience. Exactly what a Friday night should be all about!
Reviewer: Mark Dean