Live Roundup: Dehd, Hinds, Anika, Spellling (May 24-28)

Dehd @ Bowery Ballroom 5.24.2022

Chicago indie rock powerhouses Dehd never disappoint live, always delivering bombastic high-energy sets to match their brightly-toned power ballads. The trio played at Bowery Ballroom on May 24th to an enthusiastic live audience, who wasted no time moshing and shoulder shuffling around the room as the band played through their beloved hits and new material. Frontwoman Emily Kempf’s unrestrained howls and guitarist Jason Balla’s nimble fancy footwork was a joy to behold, while drummer Eric McGrady played it straight, delivering precise percussive hits that bounced off the walls of the venue.

Hinds @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 5.26.2022

Beloved Spanish indie rock quartet Hinds played at Music Hall of Williamsburg last Thursday, and their unparalleled energy and fun-loving spirit was contagious. It was so refreshing to have a break from serious crowds with their arms folded and dour-faced post punk boys, and instead watch a group of women joyfully play their hearts out while the diverse crowd passionately belted the words to every song. The most poignant moment of the night was when frontwoman Carlotta Cosials plucked a young woman from the audience and handed them her Gibson SG for the next song, a heartwarming olive branch that shattered the invisible fourth wall between performer and audience. What followed was a fiery declaration from Cosials encouraging “every young girl to pick up a guitar!” As the show came to an end, the crowd started chanting “¡Viva Hinds!,” growing louder and louder until the band inevitably returned to deliver two more numbers. It was one of the most enthusiastic demands for an encore I’d heard in a while, and the most high-spirited rock show I’d been to in years.

Anika @ Knockdown Center 5.28.2022

As part of the Sacred Bones 15th anniversary showcase at the Knockdown Center in Queens, German singer-songwriter Anika gave a spellbinding performance that grabbed the audience by the throat and refused to let up. Bolstered by a three-piece backing band of all women, various tools were utilized to replicate her unique studio sound in a live setting including slide guitars, cosmic synths, and a variety of different percussive instruments, from foam mallets to wire brushes. When the lights came up at the end of her set, I felt myself being violently jolted back to earth, like I had been held in a trance by a hypnotherapist for the past hour.

Spelling @ Knockdown Center 5.28.2022

Spellling was the inimitable highlight of the Sacred Bones 15th anniversary showcase with her lush, dreamy compositions and captivating Kate Bush-esque vocals. She utilized every square inch of that stage with elaborate choreography, swaying gently from side to side and gracefully waving her arms like an enchantress in a fairy tale casting a spell on the audience while drawing celestial sounds out of her mini KORG synthesizer. The only thing I would have changed about her set was making it at least an hour longer.

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