For a normal, everyday, average Joe, Sundays are for winding down from the weekend and preparing for yet another weekly grind at the office. Unless your name is Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, in which case, Sundays are reserved for something else entirely. I mean, when one refers to himself as “Howlin’” something or another, he MUST be a really special kind of person.
Last night (03.10.13) at the House of Blues in Cleveland, OH, The Hives brought their well known and amazingly entertaining stage show to town in between dates opening for P!nk on her nationwide tour.
Dressed in their traditional black and white outfits (tuxedos and top hats this time around), the Swedish rockers hit the stage just after 9:30 for an amazing, sure to be talked about performance. One by one the members strutted onto the stage: Chris Dangerous (drums), Dr. Matt Destruction (bass), Vigilante Carlstroem (guitar, vocals), Nicholaus Arson (guitar, vocals) until finally, the man, the myth, the legend, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist took the stage, grinning from ear to ear, and ready to unleash the fury of rock that makes the man bleed…And away they went!
The Hives kicked things off with “Come On!” from their 2012 release, ‘Lex Hives.’ When I say “kicked,” I mean… LITERALLY, kicked. Scissor kicks, air kicks and just general kicking. From the very beginning there was no doubt what the show was about this evening: rock and roll. And, if you don’t believe me, just listen to the man himself:
“I hear Cleveland is the birthplace of rock and roll,” Howlin’ Pelle said to the crowd. “Which is funny, ‘cause I wasn’t born here!”
As the crowd roared in approval, the band kicked it into high gear (although I lost track of how many extra gears this band actually has). They seemingly just kept going faster, then harder and louder…It rocked!
The Hives first truly burst onto the music scene in the early 2000’s during the garage rock revival along with bands such as The White Stripes and The Strokes, when the band released a stellar sophomore album, ‘Veni Vidi Vicious.’ “Main Offender,” one of the top tracks from that record, warmed up the already hot and sweaty crowd and kicked it up even further with one of their greatest hits, “Walk Idiot Walk” off of ‘Tyrannosaurus Hives.’
“Hate to Say I Told You So” was smartly placed in between new tracks off ‘Lex Hives,’ “I Want More” and the set ending “Patrolling Days” just teased the crowd as the band threw picks and drum sticks to the crowd while they walked off stage for a well needed breather.
Almqvist works the stage like Mick Jagger or Freddie Mercury when strutting his stuff. He plays to the crowd and pisses people off with his stage banter (which is as good as it gets). And, rightfully so, given the ability of the tall and thin Swede with a golden set of pipes.
A three song encore covered the span of the band’s career from their 1997 album, ‘Barely Legal’ to the latest ‘Lex Hives’ and their most popular release, ‘The Black and White Album.’ “Go Right Ahead” kicked off the encore, followed by “A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T.” The crowd cheered with approval. The flamboyant lead singer then led the crowd to a sit down, yes, a sit down; as he and his sweaty bandmates slowed things down to get into the mood for the last song of the evening. As he talked the crowd into actually sitting on the floor, Howlin’ Pelle then did what he described as “Cleveland’s first ever sit down crowd surf.” As he directed the crowd to shove him in the right direction. The band then crescendo-ed into the beginning of arguably the biggest hit in The Hives’ catalog, “Tick Tick Boom.”
90 minutes after waltzing onstage as well dressed lads in black and white tuxedos; The Hives left the stage sweaty, tired, and not as well dressed; leaving the crowd wanting more.