“Washington, DC!” The phrase called out at least over a dozen times by
Howlin' Pelle Almqvist as The Hives kicked off their US
tour at the 9:30 Club in the district last night. The show came the
night of the release of Tyrannosaurus Hives, the new long player
by Sweden’s monochromatically groomed quintet. The group entered onto
one of the best stage setups I’ve seen at a club show – a crisp red
neon sign emblazoned with “The Hives” in cursive glowed as the band hit
the stage. All the members came out in their customary black and white,
this time white suits and ties with black shirts. Chris
Dangerous sat atop a semi circle drum riser complete with white
trim that lit up. Take that, Top of the Pops.
The young crowd, most confessing to being Hives live show virgins when
asked by Pelle, filled the club with noise and admiration from the get
go, pogoing to new tracks as well as the songs that made the Swedish
import world famous, "Die, All Right!," "Main Offender," "Hate to Say I
Told You So," and "Supply and Demand" sounded great in an hour-long set
mixed evenly with tracks from the new album.
Mr. Almqvist is hands-down one of the best frontmen around today, as
his quick wit keeps his banter from getting played out. Far from idiot
talk, he had the audience obeying his every word, which was a sight to
behold as he allows you to laugh with him, not at him, when the shtick
gets laid on thick. “Washington, we came here on our own free will, you
can not keep us for yourselves Washington, there are kids in San Diego
and Austin that need to see the Hives.”
Sahara Hotnights opened the show with a blistering set featuring
the new single "Hot Night Crash," which sounded great. My personal
highlight came when Maria Andersson, frontwoman for the
Hotnights, came up to see her man Pelle from where I was watching the
show (up in the club’s “Crows Nest”). Yes, she really is that HOT.
Alas, the night of Scandinavian rock & roll had come to end, be warned,
The Hives have returned to re-take America.