The Hives w/ photos of Eagles of Death Metal – [Live]

Friday, 03 October 2008

I had been told to expect a great live show before I went to see The Hives last night at the Warfield in San Francisco—but no amount of warning could have prepared me for the musical onslaught that I experienced when I got there. There is no doubt that I have never seen a band with as much sheer energy blasting from the stage. It was as if someone had flipped the volume control into overdrive and pushed the fast forward button at the same time.

In the only calm moment of the show, the band quickly took the stage with their trademark black and white matching outfits and commenced the rock. They opened full bore with "Hey Little World" off their new album The Black and White Album, blasting straight through to "Main Offender" from their first US album Veni Vidi Vicious. This set the bar high for a show that went from highlight to highlight.

The singer, Pelle Almqvist spent his time from the beginning running around the stage, strutting, and high kicking. Many of his moves clearly hearkened back to those classic front men Mick Jagger and Roger Daltrey. There is no doubt Mr. Almqvist is a great showman and was certainly a focal point for the show. His frenetic moves matched the insane pace of the music perfectly. Almqvist also lived up to his reputation as playing up his stage persona as a kind of egotist. Early on, he proclaimed himself "gold," in reference to the substance the city of San Francisco was founded upon. Later he baldly stated that the "first rule of the Hives is that the Hives apologize for nothing" shortly after Nicholaus Arson, the lead guitar player, missed a cue.

This is not to say that Mr. Arson, the lead guitar player and Pelle Almqvist's brother, didn't do his share of posing. Throughout the show, he jumped up on the speakers, thrashed around, and shook his ass at the crowd in true rock n' roll style. The other band members were less showy, focusing more on the music. Almqvist mentioned that the rhythm guitar player, Vigilante Carlstroem, had actually been hospitalized the previous night in L.A. One can only imagine after watching this band perform that he had suffered from exhaustion. Nevertheless, he recovered enough to play the full show with aplomb.

Though the band repeatedly mentioned throughout the show that they were ill and exhausted from touring, you could hardly tell judging from the pace of the music. Indeed, if last night's show was The Hives when they are worn down, I can't imagine them at the beginning of the tour.

I can't say enough about how this show was just an awesome steamroller of energy from beginning to end. The band did not let up. There was no rest. All of the songs they played, from "Try it Again" to "Abra Cadaver" to "Won't Be Long" were fast tempo and full of in your face power. Two highlights were "Diabolic Scheme" which began with a howl from Almqvist which can only be described as a diabolic scream… and "You Dress Up for Armageddon" which featured the band doing a freeze frame move which seemed to last an eternity. That moment of silence and stillness was an ironic counterpoint to crazy noise and activity that both preceded and followed it.

The main show ended with "Return the Favour" which was at a fever pitch. When the band came back to the stage for their four song encore, I could scarcely imagine how they had an ounce of energy left to play. Yet, they must have tapped some sort of reserve, because they laced into "Bigger Hole to Fill," "Declare Guerre Nucleaire," and "Hate to Say, I Told You So" without missing a beat. They finished the show with the powerful opening song from "Black and White," "Tick Tick Boom."

I have to say, most bands would give their right arm to have a song that rips as hard as "Tick Tick Boom." Certainly there are very few that could play that song as an encore with the intensity and energy that The Hives pulled out at the very end of a hard rocking show and the middle of a very long tour. It was a perfect encapsulation of The Hives—a full frontal assault on your senses right up until the last note of the show.

The Hives:
Eagles of Death Metal:

The Hives – “Tick Tick Boom” – [mp3]

Related Articles:
Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On – Album Review

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