Sunday, September 30, 2007
Live: The Hives
Tonight I saw The Hives at the Metro in downtown Chicago. It was my first concert since arriving at Northwestern, so it was pretty exciting. The Metro is 2 blocks north of Wrigley Field, so I got my first glimpse of the infamous sign on the stadium, and snapped an obligatory picture of it.
After making the crowd wait for about 15-20 minutes past the time their set was supposed to start, the bloodred lights dimmed and out walked The Hives to thunderous applause. The Metro isn't that big of a club...so it was stupendously loud for the entire performance.
The Hives don't look like your average garage rock revival-era band. Essentially the only two bands still around from that early 00s period are The Hives and The White Stripes, what with The Vines and The Strokes having somewhat spun out (The Strokes clearly have the better potential for getting back on track though...). Singer/Guitarist duo Pelle and Nicholaus Almqvist go batshit crazy on stage and it got the crowd really pumped up, and they all dress is matching black suits with an "H" crest on the breast.
"Howlin" Pelle Almqvist reminds me a lot of a young Mick Jagger. He struts, he rocks out, he climbs stages, he is supremely confidant in himself and his band, and he is a fantastic live singer. At one point during the night he quipped that if everyone there told a friend who told a friend who bought their album in a few weeks, they'd be back playing Wrigley Field this time next year. I wondered at one point during the set if he was going to start singing "Start Me Up" because he was flailing around onstage just the way Jagger used to in the videos of the Stones' huge stadium tours.
The set was filled with old and new material, my favorites "Diabolic Scheme" and "Walk Idiot Walk" getting played in the middle of the set. Songs from the new album sound like a baby step in terms of sonic development, but when you have a winning formula I guess you don't really need to mess with it. They have razor-sharp guitars, a great vocalist, and enough bravado to eventually fill stadiums. They have a hope of making the world forget that ABBA ever came out of Sweden. Here's the first single off The Black and White Album, which comes out in November. It's called "Tick Tick Boom" and they closed their set with it. I think it's fantastic, and they do a great job imitating a ticking time bomb. Here's hoping that the popularity of The Hives is about to explode as well.
The Hives - Tick Tick Boom