Monday 7th January @ Metro Theatre
The Hives are renown for having ‘the best live show in the world’. Now thats a pretty big claim. Fuck it, that’s downright egotistical and obviously wrong. How can some punks in matching suits have the best live show in the world? Have they ever heard of The Flaming Lips? Those motherfuckers have giant, laser hands. It’s impossible to beat shit like that, especially when all you’re bringing to the table is a top hat and Swedish bravado. I had to check out The Hives live show, so that I could personally call bullshit.
I was fucking wrong. But more on that later. Dune Rats, the wild, and slightly red tinged, eyed duo hit the stage to warm up the crowd. More like Bong Rats, amirite? No. No that was shit. Whatever. Between throwing repulsive banter at the crowd, accusing audience members of being stoned, and fucking with their temporary bass player Brett, they played songs. Recent Triple J hits like ‘Fuck It‘, ‘Pogo’ and set closer ‘Rat Bags’ actually had the crowd moving, an accomplishment for any opener. There was also the ultimate amateur cover version of the ultimate amateur anthem ‘Blister in the Sun’ by The Violent Femmes, that was so feel-good, little specks of sunshine filtered through the roof. Dune Rats are bound for the top of the fucking garage/surf/punk ladder, and they’re taking their bongs with them.
After a short wait, some doom piano keys pounded down, and blackness shrouded the room. Although the gothic masterful music haltered for a bit too long, the intensity built to fever pitch, as first the drummer, then the rest of the band, and finally frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almvqist walked onto stage. Fuck me, they are a triumphant band. They immediately blast into a few hits, starting with ‘Come On’ and featuring ‘Try it Again’ and ‘No Pun Intended’, and made it exasperatingly unachievable to leave the moshpit. Sweat poured down every crevice of every attendee, and we are only five minutes into the show. Well played Hives, well played.
Like the set piece on the back wall, a picture of Pelle with a manic/rapist face holding puppet strings in his hand like some kind of ambivalent, masochistic God, Pelle holds the audience in the palm of his hand, manipulating at will. He showed his prowess for frontman and puppet master well throughout the night, forcing the crowd to sit on the ground before the captivating peak of set closer ‘Tick Tick Boom’, thrashing the sweat mosh into a whirlwind of exhausted delight during must-mosh tickets such as ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ and ‘Main Offender’ and spouting off cliched but original (if that makes sense) lines such as ‘We are, in fact, the greatest band in the world’ and ‘There’s a heatwave tomorrow. The Hives are in town. Co-incedence? I think not!’ I mean whats not to love, when a slightly short, top-hatted man yells that kind of shit into your face?
The set was a much loved one by Hives fans and new punters. It had just the right amount of rare material (Bigger Hole to Fill, Die Alright!!!), live favourites (Walk Idiot Walk, Won’t Be Long) and new stuff (Go Right Ahead, I Want More). These guys have been in the live scene, 20 years to be precise, long enough to know exactly what people want, and exactly how to deliver it. Yes, The Hives are definitely a band to tear heads off to see live. If you can’t see them live, then do the next best thing and buy a record. Their too fucking good not to listen to on a daily basis.