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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Local band The Hails returns to Gainesville

As part of its Blood Runs Cold tour, the band performed at the place its journey all began

<p>Gainesville alternative band The Hails perform at High Dive Oct. 8. </p>

Gainesville alternative band The Hails perform at High Dive Oct. 8.

Alongside flashing multicolored lights, fog and heavy instrumentals at High Dive added to the crowd’s euphoria Oct. 8. Packed like a can of sardines and unable to contain their excitement, the fervent fan response for The Hails’ headlining return to Gainesville was huge.  

As one of Gainesville’s premier live music venues, many local acts call High Dive home. The Hails, which formed just a few years ago, is no exception.

The band returned to its Gainesville roots as part of its first tour since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This Blood Runs Cold tour, which features Miami band The Polar Boys, spans five different cities across Florida and ends Oct. 14. 

“It’s always great to come back to where we started at the high dive,” The Hails wrote in an  Instagram post. 

However, returning to Gainesville feels quite unusual for the band. Robbie Kingsley, the lead vocalist, said their friends were their fans when they started performing in 2017. Now, as these friends graduated and moved away, there’s a different fan base to perform for.

“It's funny how we go from, ‘The fans of Gainesville are our friends,’ and now it's a younger generation where … most likely, they're someone that we have no idea who they are,” Kingsley said. 

Although the city has changed since they were last here, Kingsley said High Dive remains the same as when they first performed there four years ago. 

When it started off, The Hails were singing covers at High Dive and performing at different fraternities and house shows. But since graduating, things have significantly changed as the band members have relocated to different cities.

“It's been weird because we're actually not together all the time. And obviously, the pandemic has made that completely worse, but we kind of figured out how to use technology to our benefit,” Kingsley said. “We get on Zoom, and we're able to produce together in the weirdest way, but it works.” 

The band, which has amassed more than 215,000 monthly Spotify listeners, has released three singles in anticipation of its upcoming EP. While it hasn’t yet confirmed a release date, the band said this project embodies an overarching theme that’s detailed in the singles’ artwork. 

“I think with the project there are themes of love and hope and glamour, but it all becoming twisted and broken,” Kingsley said. 

Franco Solari, a guitarist and vocalist for the band, said even the creation of this EP has been consistent with the theme of the project, which he said revolves around the breakdown expectations for them as a band. 

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One of these unanticipated choices was the first single from the upcoming EP, a double release of the songs “Fake a Frown” and “Till I See You Again” –– the latter written in 1975 by guitarist Dylan McCue’s uncle. 

“Till I See You Again,” which was sent over to The Hails’ producer before it was presented to Kingsley, was potentially going to be given to another band.

“I had very low expectations,” Kingsley said. “Then he sent me the song, and I was blown away. I was like, ‘This is amazing.’” 

After initially hearing the song, which Kingsley described as a merge of different musical styles, he said he knew he had to jump on the song and sing it.

“I did the weirdest bootleg recording of vocals,” Kingsley said about the band adding their own flair to “Till I See You Again.”

The recording involved hanging up various towels throughout the room and singing within them. Kingsley said the band decided to release the song as a double single alongside “Fake A Frown.” 

The band released the third single “In the Strangest Way,” Aug. 5. Now, they're back on the road. 

When the Blood Runs Cold tour concludes, The Hails are headed to the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival March 3 through 6, 2022 to perform alongside industry giants like Megan Thee Stallion and Tame Impala. 

“That's another theme of our year is that our plans have completely changed,” Kingsley said. “We’re running on fumes but also switching lanes at the same time.”

Contact Luigi at lbencosme@alligator.org.

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Luigi Bencosme

Luigi is a second-year advertising major at UF and a staff writer for the Avenue. In his free time, he likes to read up and investigate the most obscure fun facts that would interest no one else. He is also the podcast producer for Rowdy Magazine.


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