The Hives @ The Electric Factory.
They took the stage wearing coattails and top hats. In the back of my mind there was apprehension that maybe my friends were right upon mentioning the show. They said things like, “The Hives? Aren’t they that gimmick band from the early aughts that wear matching outfits?”
By the time the first song kicked in, any worry that The Hives are nothing but a gimmick was erased. They rocked with a swagger that could be a lesson for any other rock bands. There was no too cool for school nonsense. No disaffected, oh-too-deep posturing. Just a great rock ‘n’ roll band that wanted to entertain an audience.
The band tore through songs from across their catalog but played a good portion of their newest album, Lex Hives. These songs were noticeably new as the performances were not quite as tight as their older material, but still enjoyable.
The simultaneously brightest and most trying part of the show was lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist. He is a frontman par excellence during the songs – dancing, marching, jumping off the drums and throwing his microphone about the stage. The between song banter, however, grew tiresome as the night wore on. Perhaps this was most evident when he made the audience sit on the floor before he would allow the show to continue and mocked the audience members who refused.
I missed the first opening band Flesh Lights from Austin, Texas. If the second opener, Fidlar, was any indication of the opening acts’ talent, I didn’t miss much. Fidlar was a fairly sloppy pop punk band from California who had juvenile lyrics that were not clever at all. The sole bright spot of their set was a cover of Fear’s hardcore classic “I Don’t Care About You,” which features a South Street reference.
If you weren’t at this show you missed out. The Hives are lumped in with a slew of bands of varying quality from the turn of the century garage rock revival. This classification is not at all fair. Though their songs are often very reminiscent of the bands they reference (most obviously The Stooges), The Hives’ live performance is top notch.