Ah, Sweden. The list of things you've so generously given us is plentiful: ABBA, Alexander Skarsgard, IKEA, and of course, The Hives.
Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, if you want to witness a spectacle that will delight your senses and blow your mind, you absolutely have to put The Hives show on your must see list. Seriously, if you go to the grave without having done so, there is a high probability that you'll be stopped at the gates by St. Peter and thrust back into this world to right that wrong.
You won't believe your eyes as feats of great daring and pure kinetic energy take place while your ringleader and master of ceremonies, Pelle Almqvist, conducts the musical circus where you have become a full participant. Whether he's jumping off a stack of amps straight into the loving arms of the audience, asking you to sing part of the song, telling a crazy story about jet lag, or insisting everyone sit on the floor of the 9:30 Club to insure maximum theatrical impact when they spring up into the air during "Tick Tick Boom," you do as he says because non-compliance is not an option when The Hives are running the show.
They looked fantastic (top hats and tails everyone!) and sounded even better, living up to and bettereing the reputation that preceeded them. They seamlessly ran through the old favorites and the newer material while reminding us that five years between Hives albums is like running out of water in a bleak desert wasteland, a terrible hardship. This is something to see, a visual interactive stage performance set to the blistering soundtrack of The Hives' pounding music. Just a few minutes into the set, Pelle asked for and got an enthusiastic show of hands to give him an idea of how many people were attending their first Hives show (Hives Virgins, he called us) and then the band spent the next two hours delighting in deflowering us all. We never wanted it to end.
Let us all hope that these gentlemen stay on tour for a long long time because I know I haven't had anywhere near my fill. Bravo!
(It should be noted that for the first time ever I temporarily forgot that I was working and became fully immersed in the The Hives' frenetic funfest, resulting in photos that were not quite as cool, crisp, and plentiful as I usually manage. That's rock 'n' roll, people.)
Catch 'Em While You Can06.22.12 Terminal 5, New York, NY
06.23.12 House of Blues, Boston, MA
06.25.12 Metropolis, Montreal, QC
06.26.12 Sound Academy, Toronto, ON
06.27.12 Clutch Cargo's, Pontiac, MI
06.29.12 Summerfest Rock Stage, Milwaukee, WI
06.30.12 The Vic Theatre, Chicago, IL