The beginning of the latest leg on Hinder’s When The Smoke Clears tour got off to a very rough start. The band’s tour bus was in a major accident back in November on their way to a show and the entire tour was postponed and rescheduled. The re-routed dates kicked off in January and we were on-hand as the band pulled into Wilmington, North Carolina to perform to a packed house at Ziggy’s By The Sea.
The band took to the stage in front of a rowdy crowd that was more that eager to see these guys again. The opening chords of “Use Me” began to roar throughout the venue and the crowd erupted with a massive roar of approval. There were songs from all five of the band’s studio albums included in the setlist including “Intoxicated” and “Hit the Ground” from their latest album When The Smoke Clears. The band sounded incredibly tight and seemed to be genuinely having fun on the stage. To think that they almost threw in the towel not too long ago is hard to believe because these guys are so freaking talented. Thank goodness they were able to refocus and find purpose again because not having them up there and rocking that stage would have been such a waste.
The hits kept coming with “What Ya’ Gonna Do,” “”Better Than Me,” and “2 Sides of Me.” There was even a cover of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Wicked Garden” that the band dedicated to the late Scott Weiland. Throughout the night, lead singer Marshal Dutton was constantly interacting with the audience. He was leaning out and shaking hands, reaching the mic out and getting the audience to sing with him and even taking the cellphone from a few lucky people and recording the band up close from the stage. After a long, sweaty set of songs, the band left the stage and teased the audience, but then returned to deliver “Lips of an Angel” and “Get Stoned.” It was a fun and energetic performance by the band and a total escape from the troubles of the real world for the time that they commanded that stage. I also want to make note of the great light show being used by the band and something that you don’t always see in a smaller venue.
It’s always tricky when a band changes lead singers, even more so after experiencing success and having hit songs under their musical belts. If the new singer sounds a lot like the previous singer, then they’re copying them. If they sound too different, then fans scream that it’s “just not the same.” Fans can be extremely possessive of their lead singers and aren’t as open to a change in that spot as they would be a drummer or bass player (no disrespect to all of you talented drummers and bassists out there). With that being said, Marshal Dutton and Austin Winkler are two different vocalists with different voices and styles and I’m ok with that and the majority of the crowd that night was ok with it as well. A band shouldn’t be forced to stop because of a loss of a singer, nor should they change their name if the new singer is different. If I’m being completely honest here, I will admit that I missed that grit from Austin’s voice in a song or two, but I love the addition of Marshal to the band on many levels. I just hope that everyone will give him an honest chance because he’ll win you over in no time and this is coming from someone who has seen the band numerous times since 2005.
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Check out our live photos below from the 1/6/16 Hinder show at Ziggy’s By The Sea in Wilmington, North Carolina, along with a few from the VIP Meet & Greet that happens on the band’s tour bus. VIP packages are available at the band’s website and on their Facebook page. Click on the image for a larger view!