I am less than a week into my fascination with The Hives
and I hereby make this bold proclamation:
The Hives are the BEST live touring band on the planet today.
After their spectacular opening set at The Palace of Auburn Hills last week on The Truth About Love Tour with Pink, I feel like I've successfully jumped aboard a moving high speed Bullet Train and am ready to follow these guys anywhere. On Sunday night March 10th, an off-night for the Pink tour, The Hives headlined a night in Cleveland at the intimate House of Blues and were allowed a full 90 minute set to truly show off their skills.
The result: a truly raucous and bombastic display of Rock N' Roll beauty. With the "puppet-master" backdrop and minimal black and white lighting, the Swedish group ripped into the opening number beckoning the crowd to 'Come On' and never looked back. Dressed in full Top Hats and Tuxedo Tails, they looked like an expensive wedding band but played like Iggy and The Stooges!
The dynamic two-guitar attack off Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem powered the band through ripping versions of 'I Want More' and 'Go Right Ahead', of course. Part of what makes a live band great is a crack rhythm section and with Dr. Matt Destruction on bass and Chris Dangerous on drums, The Hives never let up.
(And no, I'm NOT making these names up)
And then there's the front man...
Howlin' Pelle Almqvist.
After seeing this guy in action twice in one week, he's vaulted from an unknown commodity into my TOP TEN Front Men of All Time List in record time.
He masterfully captivates a crowd like Mick Jagger yet moves with the onstage abandon of Iggy Pop. Toss in his Peter Wolf-type command of the in-between-song-banter and you get a true gem of a front man. Here's an example of the addictive wit and lovably-pompous arrogance spewing through the microphone last night tinged with a slight Swedish accent:
"So People, I've heard that Cleveland Rocks!
(insert crowd noise)
Well that's good, because I ROCK TOO!
I've also been told that Cleveland is the birthplace of Rock N' Roll!
(insert more crowd noise)
But that can't be right...
Because I WAS NOT BORN HERE...
And I AM ROCK AND ROLL!"
What was the highlight of the show, you ask???
My personal favorite was the part right between when it started and when it ended.
Check out the set list:
(courtesy of the cool girl that let me take a picture of it!)
Also because I rule(!) and so do The Hives(!), I was invited to meet the band after the show. A casual and enjoyable encounter, to be sure. The bass player, Matt, told me that Pink had come to one of their shows in France and personally asked them to join her tour, summing up the experience so far by saying
"She is just...so...so...so...COOL."
Thank you The Hives!
Pink is right.
Go see The Hives.
They really are THAT GOOD.