Show Review & Photos: The Hives @ Showbox at the Market

The Hives @ Showbox at the Market, September 7th
Show Review & Photos by Dagmar

The Hives

How do I describe the way a quintet of Swedes known as The Hives whipped Showbox at the Market into a wicked frenzy? They did it with lots of stage action, but they also did it with rhythm and blues, they did it with rabid guitars and lyrics, and they did it with The Hives’ true style – while dressed in black and white tuxes with top hats. They were a jaw-dropping, elegant sight.

The Hives

It mattered to The Hives whether the audience was enjoying themselves. Some bands may care just as much, but few would involve an audience the way The Hives did. From the opening “Come On!” to the closing “Tick Tick Boom,” the band urged the audience to scream and cheer, and then in turn applauded the audience (and have the audience give itself some deserved applause as well). Singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s stage banter was cheeky and charming – before “I Want More” he said he was not a typical vampire: “I don’t drink blood. I drink applause.” He also mentioned the band’s upcoming twentieth anniversary, commenting, “We’re so young and fresh you wonder how we keep our perfect complexions? Rock and roll!” When Almqvist asked the crowd to sit down, they did what he asked. If he told them to cheer, they cheered. He reminded us all, “You’re still on my time.”

My expectations of this show were high. The Hives are one of my favorite bands, and it had been approximately nine years since I had seen them (I had to miss the show between that one and this one due to illness). I had waited quite a long time to see them again. I complained every so often, wondering when The Hives would return. All those expectations were exceeded. You see the word consummate thrown around often, but this band is just that, a consummate band. Almqvist’s vocals were vigorous – he maintained that strength even while capering and leaping about the stage. As bassist Dr. Matt Destruction and guitarist Vigilante Carlstroem restrainedly held down the songs, guitarist Nicholaus Arson mowed down the audience with his vivid eyes and guitar playing.

The Hives

The entire song selection for their set worked, including ”Take Back the Toys,” “Tick Tick Boom,” “1000 Answers,” “Try It Again,” “Walk Idiot Walk,” “Hate to Say I Told You So” and “Patrolling Days.” While watching drummer Chris Dangerous, I swear at one point during “Patrolling Days” he was doing at least two things on that drum with each foot and each arm. Is that possible? It seemed as if he could just create extra force in the most usual places. When Almqvist made the introductions of band members, he referred to Dangerous as half-man/half-animal. Makes sense. Also, while taking photos it was a sweet moment for me to have Almqvist high kick right above my head. He’s such a professional at this I didn’t even worry there’d be contact.

There was also a very cool performance of Hives track, “My Time Is Coming.” You might think such a title might be a slower song, but no, they did not relent with the fast-paced and delicious fury. It was a superb, uplifting blues piece, one that should paid to any Hives critics, or those who, as Almqvist put it, “say I’m a pretentious, spoiled little brat.” They also brought Rob Lind of The Sonics for “Go Right Ahead” and a cover of “Have Love, Will Travel.” It was a sweet, and excellent moment to see The Hives play with one of their music heroes. At one point band did their famous Freeze, which built anticipation.

The Hives

The Hives have such a huge catalog of songs they could easily play at a live show, so fans could argue a lot about what they did not hear. I wasn’t disappointed in what they chose to play, and I didn’t hear any one else in the audience making the typical gripes about why didn’t they play this or that song. I just wish I could see The Hives more often, and it was an honor for me to be able to take a few photos of the band right before they hit the stage, and to photograph part of their show.

A Hives show is something special and important. Their fans know this. In true Hives fashion, Almqvist, on behalf of the band, thanked the audience “from the bottom of our tiny, evil Swedish hearts.” You’re welcome, but, thank you Hives!

The Hives

More Photos of The Hives @ Showbox at the Market


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