You know how it was 43 degrees in Sydney on Tuesday, January 8? Apparently it was all the fault of The Hives. Singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist claimed responsibility for the heatwave, explaining that the NSW government had limited their set to only one hour for fear that Sydney would burn. I thought usually heat caused hives, not the other way around.
What more is there to say about The Hives’ live show? They’re touted as being one of the best live bands ever, and I can’t disagree. I like The Hives on tape but their live performance is on a completely different level. I was both in awe and collectively in love with the entire band from the minute they appeared on stage in tails and top hats. Apparently they only had themselves to blame for the heat, which had them all stripping off after a couple of tracks and completely drenched in sweat by the end of the concert. No complaints here.
The Hives certainly work hard for the loyalty of their audience, and came equipped with plenty of spare guitar picks and drumsticks to kiss and throw into the adoring crowd. Guitarist Nicholaus Arson prowls the stage and drummer Chris Dangerous performs drumsticrobatics, while Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s outrageous onstage banter, extreme microphone handling and adopted Southern character are consumingly entertaining. The band also comes complete with two ninjas, who play backing instruments in between roadie duties.
The Hives aren’t all just about onstage antics though, their characteristic show is supported by a solid musical performance. The Hives’ songs are great to see in person as their fuzzy guitars and wall of sound style crosses over perfectly into a live musical onslaught. The band are masters at engaging the audience, at one stage inciting everyone in the Metro to crouch down to the ground (well, apart from one unfortunate soul who made a poor life choice, stayed standing, and paid for it by being hit in the head with a shoe).
The Hives are definitely a band I’d see again. And again. And probably several times after that as well. As Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist said, “the bad news is this is our last song… the good news is, it rules.”