“I know what you’re thinking, ‘This is not necessary! They don’t have to be this good! It’s embarrassing for everybody else! I wish The Hives were slightly less good…’” So singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist of The Hives remarked at one point to the enthusiastic crowd that could only try to keep with the band’s energy. Kicking off their tour at Brooklyn Steel on Monday, October 30th, behind this year’s first album in over a decade, The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons (QRO review), it was a suitably wild night for one of the wildest bands out there today.
All the hallmarks of The Hives were in force, with their own black-and-white suits that got sweat-drenched early on (drummer Chris Dangerous had to remove his coat very early), and ninja-clad roadies. Indeed, there was a ‘Hives-O-Ween’ costume contest to dress up like Hives versions of others, from Elvis to Wayne & Garth. Almqvist had countless great lines, from noting that “What does Brooklyn know about steel anyway?” (QRO venue review), giving the crowd a moment to take photos “And then smash your phones!”, and getting the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to guitarist Vigilante Carlstroem. “Reintroducing the band that needs no introduction!”
That ‘joy of rock’ equally comes through on their songs. The night was naturally dominated by Randy (even came out to funeral music, for the least funeral of a band ever), from opener “Bogus Operandi” to the “last song” (actually just before the encore break) “Countdown To Shutdown”), lifting the likes of those, “Stick Up”, or “Trapdoor Solution” to new heights. There were also the old classics like “Hate to Say I Told You So” (“You have been loving this song for 20 years – it keeps getting better & better!”) and the encore of “Come On!” and “Tick Tick Boom”. There was even time for both sides of non-album single “I’m Alive”/“Good Samaritan”.
Unabashedly a revival of garage rock, there is a real way that The Hives tap right into it, not just the sound but the young celebration of the likes of Elvis or Little Richard – the latter described in an obituary as the sound of when school lets out on a Friday. If you were running out for all the wild you could find, that’d be The Hives.