ONLINE VERSION Rock band Hinder brings partying music to Val Air Ballroom

Ted Dubrawski of California-based rock band Acidic plays at Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines on Sunday, June 16. The band opened for Hinder on their “Freakshow” tour.

Maggie Mcginity

On Sunday, June 16, 2013, the doors to Hinder’s 7 p.m. concert at the Val Air Ballroom opened at 6 p.m. to a long line of fans. Hinder, the  Oklahoma City rock outfit known for their hit singles “Better Than Me” and “Get Stoned,” rose to Top 40 prominence in 2006 with their breakthrough single “Lips of an Angel,” off their triple-platinum debut album “Extreme Behavior.” 

Tickets for this concert ran $21 in advance, $24 the day of the show. Tickets for a reserved box seating area were also available at $70 per ticket.

While waiting for admittance into the West Des Moines concert venue, fans in the front half of the line were greeted by Mike Gossard, lead singer and guitarist of Acidic, the first of Hinder’s two openers. Gossard met people standing in line, shook hands, and passed out small flyers for Acidic’s new album “Copper Man,” signing the flyers with a permanent marker as he went. 

Once the doors opened, concert-goers went through a security checkpoint and showed tickets to gain admission to the main space of the Val Air Ballroom. Originally opened in 1939, this small venue with a large, lower dance floor holds 2,700. Raised merchandise and seating areas border the retro layout of this dance hall turned concert venue. Multiple drink stands require wristbands for the purchase of the beer some concert-goers later spilled on the floor.

The concert was sponsored by Lazer 103.3, the Des Moines based rock radio station. Recorded music often played on their station came through the speakers while patrons waited for the first opener, Acidic, to hit the stage.

The live music began a bit later than expected when Acidic opened the concert around 7:15 p.m. This alternative rock band from Southern California bantered with the audience, played original songs about getting busted for selling marijuana and strippers respectively, and covered The Beatles’ classic “Come Together.”

Members of Acidic were really into the Val Air audience, literally climbing down into the audience multiple times during their performance. Lead singer Gossard sang “Come Together” while roaming through the crowd and near the reserved area.

After Acidic wrapped up, many members of the audience rushed outside for a smoke break before the next opener, Devour the Day, took the stage. 

Devour the Day appeared on a dark stage, a way they started many of their songs. This hard rock band from Memphis emerged in 2012 from the ashes of alternative metal band Egypt Central.

Members of Devour the Day were very active on stage, moving around a lot. They performed “Blackout,” a song challenging the audience to connect with people offline, and their single “Good Man.” They also alerted security to a few rowdy crowd members near the front of the audience, which resulted in two security guards removing an uncooperative woman who appeared very intoxicated.

After Devour the Day left the stage, there was a long wait for Hinder. About halfway through this, DJ Samantha Knight from Lazer 103.3 came onto the stage to introduce Hinder. She gave a shoutout to all the fathers in the crowd, as this concert fell on Father’s Day. 

Hinder finally appeared on a dark stage, and when their music began, so did their light show. Hinder’s live performance was accompanied by very expensive looking lights. Many a bright beam of colored light swung out from the stage, around Hinder, and straight into the audience.

Singer Austin Winkler and drummer Cody Hanson had a more intimate moment with the audience when they performed “Get Me Away From You.” They sat alone on-stage on stools; Winkler sang and Hanson played acoustic guitar. Though they weren’t aware of it, the audience was getting a glimpse of Hinder’s songwriting process. 

“What usually happens is Cody and I get together with an acoustic guitar and that’s kinda how the whole thing starts, every record, every song that’s been on the record,” said Winkler in an interview before the concert. “We just kinda get together and write about what’s going on in our lives.”

Hinder performed many songs off of their new album, “Welcome to the Freakshow.” In addition to supporting the release of this album, this tour also is allowing the members of Hinder to do one of their favorite things: connecting with their fans.

“We like to tour and we like to meet our fans and hear how our music has affected them in their lives, how they can relate to our songs,” shared Hanson in an interview before the concert. “That’s a pretty big deal to us.”

On June 16, Hinder’s crowd of fans at the Val Air ranged in age from older elementary school students to senior citizens, and even included whole families. What these widely varied audience members had in common was an enthusiasm for the party-loving music Hinder brought to the Val Air. The crowd danced and cheered as Hinder moved through their set list, a mix of new songs and older hits.

One of the crowd favorites was Hinder’s live performance of “Lips of An Angel.” Members of the audiences swayed and waved cell phones while singing along to this popular rock ballad.

When Hinder wrapped up their set, they left the stage. However, they soon returned for an encore, egged on by applause and cheering from the crowd. They finally ended their concert with hit “Get Stoned,” which Winkler introduced to the audience as a song “about marijuana and hate sex.”

Hinder will continue this current tour for many months, performing throughout the United States until early October 2013. They plan to keep supporting “Welcome to the Freakshow,” which is only six months old, for quite some time. After that, Hinder is unsure of which path they will take.

“We’re kicking around several different ideas. We have a lot of things up in the air right now,” said Hanson. “Definitely some exciting things coming … nothing we can really let out of the bag.